Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method of exercise in the 1920s. Its primary focus was on stabilising the spine, while increasing muscle strength, stamina and flexibility. It has become a popular form of exercise over the last two decades, and men and women enjoy Pilates classes both at fitness centres and in their own homes. Pilates focuses heavily on correct breathing and exercise technique; once you have mastered these, you will be well-equipped to do Pilates at home.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Pilates mat
- Pilates DVD
- Exercise band
- Exercise ball
Have everything ready and in place. Find or create a suitable space for your exercise mat and for you to move your legs and arms with ease. Buy a Pilates mat from a sports equipment store. Choose the thickness according to the surface you will be working on; for a hard floor, buy a thicker mat, for a carpeted floor, buy a thinner mat. Buy an exercise band and an exercise ball.
There is a school of thought that suggests the easiest way to start learning Pilates at home is first to do one or two classes at a gym. If you can do this, it is a helpful way to start learning. If not, get a DVD or video that will teach you the basics of Pilates. You can buy this or rent it from your local library. Check carefully that it is one for beginners, as it is vital to start off by learning the basics. Read what information you can before you starting working out, so you are fully prepared.
Set aside an hour three times a week to start learning Pilates at home. Avoid any interruptions, so switch your cell phone off and put your answering machine on. Do not answer the door. Focus on Pilates as though you were in a class at the gym. Get yourself organised in your workout space, put your mat down on the floor and put the DVD on.
Follow the guidelines of the Pilates DVD and continue working out at the beginner level until you have mastered the basics. When you feel ready, exchange the beginner DVD for an intermediate one, and then move on to the advanced level. Stick at the level you are comfortable to work at, but always push yourself slightly out of your comfort zone so that you are increasing your strength and fitness all the time.
Tips and warnings
- Remember to warm up properly at the beginning of your Pilates session.
- Stretch and cool down fully at the end of your session.
- Have a bottle of water near you to keep you hydrated through your workout.
- Develop a routine of doing Pilates at a fixed time and on fixed days.
- If you feel any pain while doing Pilates, stop the exercise and seek advice from a fitness expert.
- Do not push yourself too quickly to learn advanced moves.
- Work at your own pace.
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