Your Easy Pilates Guide for Beginners in Singapore
Starting out a new routine, or even planning for one, can have you swimming with questions. And, it’s only right that you do, because we want to get our money’s worth. But more than that, we would want to achieve the improvement we desire. So, to help you out with that problem, we made an easy-to-digest Pilates guide for beginners like you.
To get a good grasp of what you are signing up for, here are some of the basics that you need to know about Pilates.
Pilates is not just for athletic activities, but daily activities too.
The main benefit that you can get out of Pilates is core strength, which is often associated with athletic performance. But did you know that core strength is not just for sports, but a key factor to your overall fitness too? It helps maintain good body mechanics which prevents the common backache. Developing good stability that stems from your middle will make you less prone to injuries – whether if it means picking things up, bending over, or even when carrying something heavy.
It builds the powerhouse, by zeroing on certain muscle groups.
Pilates is a group of methodical exercises that teach you to use your entire body but is specifically focused on the unique muscle called the transverse abdominus. If you try coughing, that muscle you feel contracting when you did is your transverse abdominus. Like a weight belt, this muscle is responsible for holding you in tight, keeps your belly flat, and your core stable. While it is central to core strength your transverse abdominus is just part of the core group of muscles that occupies the lower back, hips, glutes, trunk and stomach, called the powerhouse group of muscles.
Pilates is a mind-body exercise with the main goal of training your core muscles to be like a big tree trunk. Even as the limbs (branches) are moving around, the trunk remains stable and strong. In addition to that, proper breathing and control will also help you fully experience the essence of Pilates.
What you are missing out when you don’t build your core muscles
When you strengthen your core muscles you avoid common problems like:
Lower back pain
If the muscles that surround your spine are weak, other surrounding structures like your discs and vertebrae will not be properly supported. Your lower back is supposed to have a forward curve to it, however, weak core muscles will make it impossible for you to maintain or even make this position. It eventually results in chronic pain – something a lot of us may be experiencing. Unless you have other serious back conditions, any lower back pain is likely the result of a weak core.
Your abdominal muscles and the ones at your lower back are the musculatures responsible for holding your spine and pelvis in place. If these muscles are weak, you find that you will have some trouble in maintaining stability. This means that you may not be able to sit or stand erectly for long periods of time. This explains why some individuals have a slouched or slumped posture.
As mentioned earlier, your core muscles play an important role in stabilizing your body. Therefore, your ability to balance becomes impaired if you have a weak core.
To check your balance, try standing on one foot with your eyes closed. Try this by testing one leg then another. If you are unable to hold this position for at least 10 seconds, it means that your balance is shaky at best – and that could stem from an underdeveloped core. Good balance is particularly helpful especially as we age because this prevents common geriatric accidents such as falls.
Any muscular weakness in any part of your body can also be a sign of an inadequate core. As a source of the essential stability for almost all your movements, weakness in your arms and legs can be a manifestation of core weakness.
Difficulty in holding a plank
Planking may not be the most enjoyable exercise out there, but you can’t omit the fact that it provides several benefits especially when it comes to developing core strength. If you can’t last for at least 50 seconds before your hips finally give out, it is a telling sign that your core is probably weak.
Mind-Body Benefits of Pilates
One thing that you won’t experience with Pilates is getting lost in routine. It is the kind of workout that brings both mind and body together. It requires you to be mindful of your breath, your balance and your movement. Regularly doing this exercise helps your whole body to become calmer and focused. In addition to improving your posture, strength, and flexibility, Pilates also emphasizes the mind-body connection to improve your overall mental state.
This type of Pilates exercise is done on the floor using an exercise or yoga mat. It can be done to stretch and strengthen your body, primarily the core muscles. Its methods are quite similar to disciplines like classic calisthenics, yoga, and dance. Mat exercises are performed without any equipment. The set of exercises in a mat Pilates class may vary for every instructor, but expect that it will progressively become more complex over time. Eventually, your instructor may introduce basic Pilates equipment such as the resistance band, weighted balls, or the Pilates ring.
The classes done by Joseph Pilates often begins with a warm-up with exercises such as the hundred, leg circles, roll-ups, and the five-part “ab series.” You may see several DIY Pilates videos online on these, but the best way to get be able to achieve the right positions and body mechanics would be to get it from an actual class.
A mat class is actually the appropriate Pilates exercises for beginners. Singapore instructors also make it a point that you are able to nail the basics before even introducing you to more complex moves.
Moving on to Reformer Pilates exercises can be intimidating or confusing at first. Straps, springs and sliding carriages may not be a welcome sight for beginners, but it is actually a potential bestfriend. You would love it if you know that it can take your exercise to heights you never knew was possible. It is a form of postural, strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance training which can be designed to address a specific area or the entire body.
To ensure your safety especially if you are a beginner it is important that your trainer guides you through the following:
- Safety instructions
- How to do perform the exercise properly and how it should progress
- Breathing cues
- What muscles you are working on
- Length of time to perform the exercise
- The spring combinations
- Any new measures added to make the exercise more challenging
One element that doesn’t change from mat to reformer Pilates classes is the importance of proper breathing. In this exercise, you will be taught to inhale through your nose, deep between the rib cage and down to the depth of your belly. You treat your rib care like it is an accordion which you expand by filling the front, back, and sides with air. Instead of just knowing the exercise, Pilates requires the proper instruction on how to breathe the right way. Not doing so impairs the efficient circulation of oxygen around your body.
Wear the right outfit
While oversized shirts or sweats are comfortable clothes when you aim to burn pounds, Pilates is best done in fitted or gently-fitted clothing. This allows you and your instructor to see if you are doing the moves properly. It is important that your curves are seen so that proper correction can be done.
Pay attention to the basics
If this is not the first exercise routine you tried, it is important that you master the basics before advancing to more engaging exercises. So, no matter how adept you are at other fitness programs, you should humble yourself to tackle the basics.
Find a good instructor
The experience and certification of Pilates instructors in Singapore may vary immensely. What is important is that you choose someone who is certified to teach Pilates. Certification may be obtained through a school or a reputable training facility. Training should be coupled with a number of hours of apprenticeship.
There is no better way to find the right instructor or facility than to ask them directly. Visit Pilates Plus studio today and let’s discuss what we can offer our first-timers. If you want to know more about the basics of Pilates classes in Singapore today, we are more than welcome to walk you through it!