Welcome to this Pilates for Beginners tutorial! I’m so excited to have you here, as this is one of my favorite topics. If there is anything I want you to know before we get started it’s this – you CAN do Pilates! I promise! You have already taken the first step by being here.
We have all been beginners at SOMETHING.
Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? Spoke in public? Told someone you loved them? Took your baby home from the hospital (seriously, I couldn’t even believe they were letting me do that!)? For most of us, we research and learn what we can ahead of time, get advice from other people, prepare as best we can. Then all we can do is take the plunge and get started!
I love teaching people Pilates, and I especially love teaching Pilates for Beginners! As a physical therapist and fitness instructor, Pilates is one of my favorite tools to help people FEEL their bodies, BELIEVE in their bodies, and ultimately LOVE their bodies. I believe Pilates makes you better at everything else you do. For example, if I can help someone realign their hips and balance the strength in their core, they can ultimately run faster, stand taller, work harder and dance longer. Mission accomplished.
I also love to see the look on someone’s face when they finally “feel” something for the first time. Or when they can finally move without pain. Or they can do a squat when they never in a million years thought they could. Or they realize that yes, they do have abdominal muscles! While I wish I could be there in person to see this, cheering you from this blog and my videos are the next best thing :).
Most people who see me for the first time for Pilates tell me that they have been thinking about doing it for years. Or their doctor or friends have been recommending it to them “forever”. For some reason (I think money and this VERY incorrect idea that it’s for “elite” folks), there is a barrier to entry to Pilates, and I would like to break that down! Pilates is for anyone and everyone, and it can absolutely be incorporated into any other exercise program you have, or it can be a starting point if you are just getting into fitness for the first time. I have taught Pilates to 8 year olds and I’ve taught Pilates to 88 year olds. I have taught Olympic athletes and I’ve taught overweight and obese folks who just want to make it up the stairs without pain. Pilates really can be for anyone! You might do it once and decide it’s not for you, or you might fall in love with it and wonder how you ever lived without it. All I ask is that you TRY it! If you have an injury, have scoliosis, are recovering from having a baby. If you want to strengthen your core and run or ski or cycle more efficiently. If you want to prevent injury in your sport or you want to help your teenagers who are into gymnastics or swimming or football. If you want to improve your posture and just feel stronger and healthier in your own body, this post and video are for you.
I believe there are three types of “beginners”, and this Pilates for Beginners video can benefit all of them:
1) True beginners. This means you’ve never done Pilates (or you’ve done it once on your friend’s floor when she made you try it). You can be an expert in ten other areas and a professional athlete, but you’ve never actually tried Pilates.
2) Repeat beginners. These are folks who have been introduced to Pilates – and maybe even did it regularly – but had to stop for some reason. You had an injury, had a baby, took a sabbatical, just needed a break. You are now getting back into it and want a “refresher” or want instruction you never received previously. This video is a great step for getting back into it.
3) Expert beginners. I have been doing Pilates for 14 years. I’m a PT, I’m a fitness junkie and I love trying new classes and teaching other people. You would think I would be able to find my lower abdominals and contract the correct muscles when I need to, but a few years ago I found myself cheating! I was doing the exercises because I could make them look right, but I wasn’t always THINKING about what I was doing. I love teaching beginners because it helps me remember the foundation principles so I do them correctly myself. Many of us who have been immersed in any activity for a long time can become complacent and lose the real purpose of why we are doing what we are doing. It’s always good to become a “beginner” again and make sure you really are getting the most out of what you are doing.
I am a talker, but I also am a mover. While I could talk “at” you about the movement and breathing and benefits of Pilates, it’s much more fun and effective if you can just feel it for yourself! The video below is meant to be a primer on some of the basic principles of Pilates and some of the common entry-level exercises. I talk for the first few minutes about the benefits, and then we get right into a workout. While you might be tempted to fast forward, please take a minute to really listen to the intro and follow along with the exercises! You’ll be doing yourself a favor. After that, if you want to mute me, by all means go ahead 🙂
I give some modifications for injuries throughout the workout. As always, listen to your body and stop if you have pain. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Be on the lookout for my Pilates for Beginners Part 2 coming soon! It will be the perfect follow up to take you to the next level.
Please leave me any thoughts or questions in the comments below – I love to hear from you! If you’d like to get more healthy living tips and bonus workouts and recipes, please contact me and be added to our newsletter list!