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Pilates Practitioner 101, Three Times a Charm

Updated on September 7, 2016
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe has been practicing Pilates at her local gym for 3.5 years, and even at home during the winter season.

An exercise ring can give you a versatile workout from the Hundred to the Sidekick series on the mat

Practice Does Make Perfect

Since yesterday's Pilates class was canceled, due to a late fall schedule time change by 15 minutes perhaps, here's what happened in last week's class. Though the class size was a bit smaller than usual, we returned back to the good old resistance ring aka magic circle. With my home practice, I'm getting better with the breathing and with the exercises. Some of them I haven't mastered yet. But I'm getting there, slowly but surely. For all of the beginners like me in Pilates, don't give up as well. It does take time and practice... at home and in class or in the studio. Besides breathing, I've getting close of nailing the fundamental exercises, like the head nods and the knee folds, the warm-up exercises of the supported roll back, and the routine exercises like the hundred for starters. I haven't had any sore body parts as well, since I've stretched before class and relaxed myself.

Doing the 100 with the Pilates ring can build more strength in your muscles, even when they're in your hands

Modification and variation

If variety is the spice of life, than varying your workout routine can give you an extra boost, whether at home or in class/studio. If you have the Pilates beginners kit at home, you can alternate the mat routine with the resistance band and/or exercise ball. If you also have the magic circle, you can do that, too. If your classes use the magic circle or any other equipment, that would take the place to your home practice routines. When I get mine somewhere down the road, that's what I'm going to do. Start with one variation with the exercises and work my way up of doing it, once a week.

As for modification, if you can't do the full exercises like where I'm at now, I loved it how we get an option of doing one than the other, until we get there in class. The same applies for doing it at home as well. Until we master it, we can move on to the regular version and then challenge ourselves to take it further to another level. Start up slow and work our way up to a harder intense version.

A notebook is a great way to track down your progress in your home and studio/gym practice for Pilates. Write down your thoughts by making notes in this handy

Track down your progress

Just like in yoga, when you have a yoga journal, you can do the same thing for Pilates as well. This is a good way to track down your progress on the exercises you've excelled at and what you need to work on. You can do it in a notebook or on your laptop or tablet. Depending if you do it by shorthand or long hand, you can do it in a spreadsheet for your daily progression. Be creative and innovative. Use stickers and emoticons for those exercises and how you're feeling. A sad face for something you're stuck and having trouble with, and a smiley face for those who've mastered and challenged yourself with. Use folders and plenty of paper as well. This will take you a few minutes of time to track it down, when you've completed your workout for the day. You should also reward yourself with a treat, too.

Pilates ring poll

Do you like using the Pilates ring for your workouts?

See results

Yoga mat poll?

What do you use as a mat for Pilates at home and at studio?

See results

A Pilates mat comes in different styles and forms to fit all of your Pilates needs for home and at the gym

Having your own yoga mat will give you extra support in Pilates on top of a Pilates mat

Helpful Pointers

Here's some helpful tips for you to take in closing. If you have any health concerns, like with your back, inform your instructor before class. This is what I've forgotten to do, when I first started. If you can't do a move, you can sit it out and resume when ready. That's a helpful tip for us to do it at home practice, too. This is a helpful way to prevent further accidents or incidents in class.

If you don't have a Pilates mat to do it a home, you can use your yoga mat, if you have one. If not, do what I've done for now. Use a towel in the meantime--an old beach towel or bath towel will do and serve its purpose. The same will work, if you do yoga, too.

If you have to miss a class for any reason, like illness, weather, or have to be out-of-town, you can always make up for it with home practice. Take your Pilates on the road with your Pilates/Yoga gear. There's an app you can do it for your smartphone or Android that will help you fit it in. Watch videos on Youtube, read books, magazines or online articles on your phone, tablet, or computer. On Demand videos does help out as well. By the time you're ready to resume class, you'll be back in top form.

One last thing: Remember I mentioned last time about Standing Pilates was too hard. A fellow Pilates classmate last week told me, it might be Cross Fit, and to let someone know about it. Until I hear back from the gym with more information, I'm still passing on it. If I find out anything, I'll let you know.


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