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Pilates Practitioner 101

Updated on October 28, 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.

Diving into New Territory

Last year, my neurologist recommended to me to do some low-impact exercises to help out with my back pain with my post-therapy follow-up visit. He suggested to try water aerobics, swimming, yoga and Pilates. But that’s when my mother had gotten sicker and money was tight to join the gym. Fast forward a year later, I’m diving into new territory to try Pilates for the first time out this week. This week, I’ve tried Pilates for the first time. Since it was a brand new experience for me, I’m giving you my take on it every week. So please bare with me.

What is Pilates?

German-born Joseph Pilates developed Pilates, a physical fitness system, in the early 20th century. He called his method “contrology”, when we control our breaths by breathing. Did you know, as of 2005, 11 million people practiced Pilates regularly and there was 14,000 instructors here in the USA?

Before I went to my first Pilates class at my local gym, Monday afternoon, I learned all about Pilates. I’ve heard that it was harder than yoga and decided to give it a go and to breathe. One reason I decides to try Pilates, besides it was low-impact, that it can help back pain and posture with flexibility. It also built strength, developed control and endurance in our whole body. It also improved balance and coordination with an emphasis on alignment and breathing.That sounded like the perfect deal for me.

During Pilates class, you'll be learning how to do the classic One Hundred exercise by controlling your breaths too

Pilates 101 anyone?

Will you become a Pilates Practitioner this year?

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Taking a Splash at my local gym

I’ve looked at my fall/winter gym schedule and the different types of classes for beginners. There was just Pilates Mat and Standing Pilates Core. There’s a slight difference between the two. For Pilates Mat, you work on the mat, whereas for Standing Pilates, you do them standing up. Both classes were rated with three stars at the gym for the athletic level.

For the more advanced levels in the future, there’s Pilates Plus, where you use weights in the routine. The Pilates Reformer class for private studio lessons is a bit too much money for me, or to buy my own studio.

Doing the 100 is a classic Pilates exercise for beginners and all other Pilates levels with different variations

Pilate routine poll?

What kind of Pilates routine do you like?

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My first plunge into Pilates

Although I’ve come unprepared for my first class, I wore my sweats, until I get my yoga outfit and equipment. I’ve met my instructor for the first time. It was a good thing my gym let you lend you the stuff, until I can bring my own. My class was pretty average of fifteen people with only one male. The prop of the day was the resistance ring, which reminded me of a steering wheel.

I kicked off my sneakers and left my socks on my feet. Set to rock music, we started out with basic stretches. I followed along with my instructor and my other class mates with the various of stretches and poses. It was intense, fast, and upbeat. I really did work out a sweat. The many poses were did was the hundred, the leg circle, rolling like a ball, swimming, the half roll down and many others. I knew I wasn’t expecting to do most of them. A fellow Facebook friend of mine, Leah, told me this spring, and who was a Pilates/Yoga instructor, do what you can and don’t expect to do all of them the first time out. Easy for her to say! Well, I did try my best and had fun doing it.

The resistance ring had many purposes I've found out in my first Pilates class. I had no problem with it. I had it in front of me and then squeezed it, while breathing. I also titled it like a steering wheel, placed it between my legs and over them, then on top of my knees. Later on, it went behind my back for a full stretch.
What I couldn’t do was the bridge and a couple of others towards the end. I don't remember their names. Inside my head, I had a sound effect going off, whenever I couldn’t do it for both sides. I wasn’t expected to do them all. I’m glad I wasn’t the only beginner Pilates Practitioner in my class. After that hour was up, my ankle was so sore, since I didn’t stretch before class. That was some workout. My back did feel better, except for my ankle and feet. I was so exhausted that afternoon, but I slept well that night.

I wanted to try Standing Pilates Core on Tuesday night. But I decided to pass, until I recovered. I'll be trying that next week. Will I go back for a second shot? Of course! And this time, I won't forget to stretch before class. I'll keep you posted as I get better with this class next week with both Pilates classes updates.

Give your workout a boost with the magic ring, whether you're laying down or sitting up at home or at class

The Pilates Resistance ring is perfect for toning your core muscles and feeling great in Pilates

All About the Pilates ring

The Pilates magic circle is actually a ring about 13 inches in diameter, made from flexible metal or rubber, with small pads on either side. Whenever we call it the Pilates ring, exercise ring, fitness ring or circle, magic circle is the preferred name. Joseph Pilates has the distinction of creating the magic ring, when he made the first ring on a key.

The magic circle provides gentle to moderate resistance in an exercise, give the body feedback as where it's at in space and which muscles are being used.The flexible metal is the most common for magic circles. If you're strong and want a muscular challenge, don't go for the rubber or "lite" versions. If you want mild resistance and more orientated body placement, a lighter ring would be perfect for you.

Magic circles are very popular in Pilates workouts, since they're very versatile, portable, and offer a great workout for little money. You can get one that can fit your fitness needs at the right price. They're perfect for travel, don't weigh may and lay flat, and add little volume. Choice the rubber or lite versions for traveling. Want to use one that would stand up for a lot of use and a lot of resistance? Try a regular metal one that's used in studios. Find one with pads on the inside and the outside of the ring, which it's the newer trend, since they add a lot of versatility of the magic circles.

Practice Makes Perfect

Until then, I’ll be practicing those more at homes until Next Monday night. I’ll be doing them via ON Demand and them via websites on how to do the exercises. I believe that’s the right thing to do in between time. That’s what my friend Leah told me to do as well. In my next post, I’ll highlight what kinds of Pilates gear you need for beginners.

If you’re a beginner Pilates Practitioner like me and have any tips, please feel free to drop me a comment and say hi.

Divider attribution

All dividers used in this hub are used with permission granted on hub, Creating Dividers to Use On Your Hubs from hubber, HomesteadBound.

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    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Audrey. Thanks for sharing and commenting! You too!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Very cool hub! Sharing! And Happy Saturday!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure, Audrey. Enjoy your walk! Thanks for the vote and share. xx

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Thanks for this hub Kristen. Enjoyed it. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going for my walk! Up and sharing.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Chitrangada for the kind words. Pilates is perfect to be flexible and help with back pain. Walking helps, too

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice informative hub about Pilates!

      I have heard about this though your hub made things more clear. Usually I do brisk walking and some yogic exercises for flexibility.

      Your description makes me feel I should try Pilates too.

      Thanks for sharing this motivating hub, voted up!