How to start Pilates

Cynthia Young

Should you start Pilates?

Absolutely yes.  Pilates benefits everybody.  Whatever your age, life stage, fitness or injury level.  Pilates meets your body where it is today and builds stability, flexibility, strength and stamina.  I think it is the ultimate future proofing workout while giving you immediate results.  Whether you are a beginner to Pilates or exercise, returning to exercise or an athlete you will feel the benefits.

How long until I feel the benefits of Pilates?

You'll feel the benefits of Pilates during your first session.  You will be more aware of your body, how it moves, how you breathe and will feel stretched and strengthened.   As the weeks progress you will feel the improvements in your movement, flexibility, body awareness, posture, stability and strength.


At some point, every client I have ever worked with has said "I wish I had started Pilates sooner" or the other one is "everyone should be doing Pilates".


Can I teach myself Pilates?

Not really.  You can start and practice Pilates at home but you will at least need a book or the guidance of an on demand or live online Pilates class to practice Pilates in a way that will change your body.


In the first instance I would recommend attending a group class or private sessions a few times at least.

As a result of how we use or rather don't use our bodies, plus any injuries we've had, we will have developed poor movement habits which may cause us pain or discomfort.  A teacher can see and help you identify any misalignments, weaknesses, imbalances and any movement mechanics which can be corrected.  As well as provide you with modifications or variations of exercises which may be more appropriate for your body now.

And just so you know, Pilates teachers need teachers.  Pilates teaches spend thousands of hours and pounds learning their craft and never stop.  Most Pilates teachers will be able to tell you about the training they have just been on, have their eye on or the classes they are taking.

Should I be doing Mat or Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates has become a hot topic.  Joseph Pilates did invent many more pieces of equipment which I'll go over in another post.

In the ideal world I would say you should do both every week.  The Reformer (and any other Pilates studio equipment) will build strength, stamina, flexibility and stability fast.  Which will improve your experience of practicing Pilates on the Mat where you have no assistance or resistance to help manage your body.  But work, life and family can make committing getting to two classes a week difficult.


So if you're trying to decide whether to start a Mat or a Reformer class.  I would say go with the class that you will be able to get to consistently.  The class that works for you time, commute and price wise.


You could do a combination of online and IRL classes as there are now so many online opportunities to practice Pilates, like my website which you can click to here, or one of the 1000s of classes on YouTube.

This short video shows two exercises to help illustrate the difference between exercises on the Reformer and the Mat.  It also addresses the myth that the Reformer is more advanced than the Mat Work.


So find a class in a studio, leisure centre, church hall, online that works for you and START PILATES!

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.