5 Surefire Ways to Get Best Results from Pilates
More than a straightforward workout, Pilates is about achieving mind-and-body harmony, freedom of movement, and a zest for life. It’s an activity not just for the athletically inclined but, dare we say, everyone looking for a path to health, happiness, and new horizons.
At Pilates Plus Singapore, it’s not just a matter of taking classes, it’s embarking on a journey to health and joyfulness, with our certified trainers as your guide. To help you get its full benefits, here are five of our pro tips to help get you started, sustain the practice, and discover a passion for Pilates.
(1) Be consistent with your movements
At the gym, we can be forgiven for not doing our sit-ups or leg raises uniformly as long as we can push ourselves to complete the prescribed number of repetitions. Admit it, sometimes your last reps aren’t as well executed as your first few. Some don’t even get to those last reps at all!
But if you want to get the maximum benefit of Pilates then you must perform the workouts in their entirety and go through the motions with as much consistency and fluidity as you can muster. It’s all about taking control over your “rest” and “effort” of every exercise.
At the effort stage, we physically and mentally prepare for the exertion, breathing in as our muscles contract. The part where we exhale, rest, and get set for the next repetition is the return phase. The key is to be consistent with the execution of both the effort and rest phases of the workouts.
By doing so, you get the maximum benefit of each movement, giving your body the support it needs to come to rest in a safe and correct way. It’s not enough to get up then lay back down on the mat quickly, you have to do it the right way by engaging the targeted muscles, to do it safely.
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(2) Maintain the proper form at all times
In Pilates, each exercise is part of a set that naturally progresses to the next, so it’s important to be in the right form from start to finish. Mindfulness comes into play when you make every movement count—training both body and mind to function optimally.
Always engage the specific muscle group that the exercise is targeting. Think of it as both a physical and mental exercise to help you master Pilates naturally over time. If you want to improve your strength and stamina, try holding the last rep on each exercise as long as you can.
When you’re standing, pull your shoulders back and let your hands rest against the side of the hips, not the thighs as this causes you to slump. This way, you’re also developing the right posture and elongating your spine—making you look taller and leaner.
Be mindful of how you tuck your ribcage—we call this the rib cage placement principle—to prevent overexertion. When you exhale, feel your ribcage slide down the torso by engaging the abs. It won’t just strengthen the muscles down there but help burn some fat along the way.
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(3) Have 1-on-1 sessions with your instructor
In group classes, exercises are intended to meet the students’ collective goals. The instructor will be making safe and effective choices for everyone, of course, but not all bodies are alike. With more students to guide, the teacher can’t always pinpoint your specific challenges.
If you’re feeling stuck or don’t think you’re improving, and often struggling with some of the exercises in group class then a private session is a good option. It’s also better to take one-on-one classes when you’re recovering from injury or feeling some discomfort when executing the movements.
Once a week or once a month is fine, depending on your body and budget. It’s money well spent ensuring you’re doing the right movements and getting the right results. You’ll have the instructor’s undivided attention in fine-tuning your Pilates training to your comfort level and personal goals.
You can still attend group classes—and enjoy the company of other students—but private sessions can speed up your journey to body-mind harmony. Group classes may be more affordable but occasional private sessions (for starters) can do wonders!
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(4) Try both Pilates Mat and equipment training
Remember that Pilates is a whole-body workout with a system of movements, breathing, and mental conditioning. If you want to maximise the results of Pilates then it’s best to do both matwork (floor) exercises and workouts on the Reformer and other Pilates equipment.
After all, that’s exactly what founder Joseph Pilates had in mind when he created the movements. Traditional or classical Pilates suggests doing an hour of combined mat and Reformer exercises to get an efficient whole-body workout.
If you’re wondering, basic Pilates Mat is made up of approximately 22 exercises that can be done in half an hour, or less if you’re past the beginner stage and are moving at a good pace. Besides, it’s an entirely different experience working out on the Reformer, with its springs and tension cables!
You can sign-up for Pilates Plus’ online classes and do Pilates Mat at home or when you’re on travel. But it helps if you could make a trip to the studio, at least once a week, for some Reformer action! Then the trainer can also check up on your progress with the entire program.
The Ultimate Guide to Pilates Reformer. READ NOW!
(5) Practice Pilates regularly, and sustain it
Like most fitness programs, Pilates workouts should be done at least thrice a week to get good results. But unlike other exercise fitness programs at the gym, Pilates follows a sequence—each flowing to the next in natural, purposeful succession.
In classical Pilates, the sequential flow of exercises is done on a mat using one’s bodyweight. It’s imperative that the movements are executed in the exact sequence, and in the designated number of repetitions (usually no more than six reps), before moving on to the next exercise.
Mr. Pilates’ original 34-sequence method is meant to progressively warm up the body, challenge it with exertion, and then cool it down. The intent to complete the sequences is as important as the exercises. This “conjuring of intent” is an internal process, where mental fitness is also achieved.
You might get a good enough workout with a 3-times-a-week schedule. But if you really want to build strength, flexibility, and endurance, make that your minimum, not your ideal goal. In fact, founder Joseph Pilates suggested in his book, Return to Life, to do Pilates Mat at least four times a week.
What’s the philosophy behind Pilates? READ HERE!
With more than 10 years of experience, Pilates Plus Singapore can help you understand how your body works, why your movements affect your mindset.
SIGN UP NOW for our fun, affordable, and flexibly scheduled TRIAL CLASSES, and let our instructors show you what exactly Pilates can do to help you perform daily tasks with renewed energy and positivity.