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Pilates Practitioner 101, Take 2

Updated on September 6, 2016
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe has been practicing Pilates at her local gym for 2.5 years, and even at home during the winter season.

Pilates plank poll

During Pilates, do you have trouble doing the planks?

See results

The Open Leg Balance Exercise with the magic circle is a great way to practice balancing

Going for Seconds

Last week, I completed my second Basic Pilates class at the gym. This time around, the class had gotten smaller than the week before. I've gotten better with my breathing control and with the exercises, while I continued to struggle with, which was okay and still to be expected. I believe I'm getting better with some, like with the Hundred, along with a couple others. It does gets better with practice and with time. Last weekend, I watched a routine On Demand and followed along for 40 minutes--until one of my cats interrupted me and wanted me to rub his tummy. But he did kept me company with my workout routine. Until I get a yoga and/or Pilates mat, I've been using an old beach towel for my home practice in between class sessions. I survived another class and came out with no sore ankles, since I stretched before class started. That sure helped to go a long way. So far, my back is getting a bit better every day. But then, I was ready to try Standing Pilates, the next day, which was another story in itself...

Doing the Burpees exercise last fall, I couldn't do for Standing Pilates aka Cross Fit, 2 years ago. Try it out for yourself.

Standing Pilates Room Only--Not For Me

Well, I wanted to try something new and different between the two classes between the mat and standing behind your mat. And my first thoughts were that was it was too intimidating and advanced. I did give it a go and did manage to do most of the stuff. But this reminded me with Pilates Plus (with the barbells) with the equipment they used for the exercises. Dumb Bells from 1 pound to 10 pounds, a weighted bar for 4 or 6 pounds, and a regular resistance band. I was a little bit concerned with the weights for sure, when I'm helping my back to heal. I picked up the lightest ones I could find and got done to business.

For sure, it was a packed class with a few males in the mix. I grinned and bared it. Some of the moves wasn't something I've done in the Basic Pilates class like Burpees, and Dumbbell Swings, and Air Lunges. Done to fast-paced rock music, this felt more like a cardio routine than a Pilates routine for me. The instructor used a deck of cards to pick out how many reps we do per exercise. For example, if she placed down a King of Hearts, it would be 30 burpees. This just sounded so difficult and advanced to me. I corresponded with my friend about this. And she told me it was advanced. I should join it when I'm ready and stick with basic Pilates for now, which sounded good to me. I ended up with a sore neck and back after class, when I used two 4 pound dumb bells and one 2 pounds dumb bell, and a 4 pound weighed bar. (I wished there was something lighter like 2 pounds.) I had no problems with the resistance band, either.

So far now, I'm going to pass on Standing Pilates and revisit it, when I'm ready and stronger in spring 2015, along with doing Hydro-Pilates in the morning. If practice does make perfect for Pilates, I'll be ready for it in 4-5 months. If any of you have done Standing Pilates, where are you thoughts about it?

Doing the Hundred is a classic Pilates exercise, which has many variations and levels to it

Standing Pilates poll

If you were me last fall, would you skip Standing Pilates (Pilates/Core Fit)?

See results

Home Practice

This weekend, I decided to do some home practice to get ready for tomorrow's class. This was what I should've done, last weekend. But I guess you can say, better late than never. This would help me get a leg up to help me along with each class. I went to and printed out their 30-day beginner Pilates Routine. I also signed up for their 7-day Essential Pilates e-course, too. I've gotten better with the breathing and done well with the fundamentals. As for the beginner exercise, I need to practice them more. I'll get them in time with more practice and patience. A little bit of extra help does go along the way. On a computer spreadsheet, I keep track of what I've done in a computerized journal.

The Pilates for Beginners Kit is a great way to get started with the right equipment to do it at home

Geared up

If you're a beginner Pilates practitioner like myself, you would need a Pilates mat or a Pilates Kit for Beginners. If you do yoga as well, you can bring your own yoga gear and wear sweats or your yoga outfit, too. A Pilates kit is composed of a sculpting ball and a BodyBand Resistance band with a DVD. Of course, you can always buy those items separately, since the kit is a bit costly, and can be found online or any department store that sells it.

I won't be getting my Pilates kit or gear for awhile, and will use what I have for now. Do you prefer a kit or separate items?


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Audrey! It is a challenge and work up a sweat, head to toe, with Pilates.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Congrats! What a challenge--great to do the core work though!