Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Pilates Beginners

Posted on Jul 27, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Pilates Beginners

If you are up for some good stretching through Pilates, you might have a handful of questions, especially if this is your first time. So we answered some of the common questions we often get to help you get a good start.

How is Pilates different from any other forms of exercise?

The main difference between Pilates and other forms of exercise is balance.The principles behind Pilates ensures a balance between strength and flexibility. While it may seem to be closely similar to Yoga, Pilates uses mat work and different exercise equipments.

Pilates does not purport to be better than other exercises, rather it compliments all forms of exercise. It focuses on the minor muscle groups which are often forgotten in other types of movement.

How do I start as a beginner?

It is advisable for beginners to take a few private sessions with one of our instructors for them to plan out a personalised training course for you. After that, you may continue with private sessions or move to group classes. Beginner pilates is best initiated through trial sessions. This allows you to test the waters before signing up for a class.

What do I wear?

It is important to wear comfortable form-fitting clothes so that you can move freely. It also allows the instructor to see your movements better and your clothes won’t get caught in the springs and other equipment. The sessions are done on barefoot.

What are the principles behind Pilates?

There are five principles that govern Pilates. These are:

  • Concentration.

    This is considered to be the most important principle in Pilates. It requires full attention to the exercise and do it with full commitment. You must be mentally present so that you are aware of every aspect of your body’s movement, muscle flexes, alignment, and sensations. Doing so will help you obtain maximum value from each movement.

  • Centering.

    This principle is important for you to be able to use your body evenly. It represents the act of drawing your own physical and mental focus during each exercise right at the core or center (also called “the powerhouse”) of your body.

  • Control.

    This is an integral part in Pilates which is even the reason why it is also described as ‘contrology.’ It is based on the premise that controlling your muscles and movements allows you to move your body in a way that is safe and beneficial to the body. Beyond the physical aspect, control is also about the mind and how you use it to be more aware of your body.

  • Precision.

    This is an essential aspect in Pilates because each movement requires that you make each movement as precise as possible. Joseph Pilates designed this exercise program with proper alignment, limb placement, and positioning at the core of it.

  • Fluidity.

    While Pilates may place emphasis on form, but it is also important that movements are not robotic. The movements should flow seamlessly from one form to the next.

  • Breath.

    Breathing the right way can have a positive impact on Pilates. In fact, it is the lifeblood of the process. This encourages oxygen-rich blood to be available to the entire body for it to function efficiently during each movement. Deep, steady breaths allow you to maintain precision and concentration.

Is Pilates a good way to lose weight?

Pilates can be an important adjunct to any weight loss program due to its resistive nature. Since Pilates is not a cardio workout where shedding the pounds take on a more aggressive approach, but you can add it to a proper cardio program and diet regimen.

When is someone too old for Pilates?

The good thing about Pilates is that one can never be ‘too old’ to join. More than just an exercise, this can be a habit that will benefit you throughout your life. Pilates is a routine that can be modified to suit all ages, different fitness level, and strength. It is a low-impact exercise making it a safe method when building strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Which is better, Pilates mat or equipment classes?

Both Pilates mat and equipment exercises are beneficial practices. We cannot say that one is better than the other because they both have their own contribution in achieving the overall goal of Pilates.

What is good about Pilates mat exercises is that you can do it anywhere. Meanwhile, equipment classes offer you hundreds of options for exercises many of which are adapted from mat repertoire. Each piece of equipment (e.g. Reformer, Chair, Cadillac) can help engage muscles in different ways.

What can I expect from a Pilates session?

Enrolling in our program entails that you undergo a thorough assessment to know your medical history, current health, fitness and objectives. If this is your first time, you will be guided through specific movement patterns and muscle activation. We will also introduce joint mobilisations, stretching and strengthening. Each Pilates session, whether these are private or group classes, can last up to 60 minutes.

Is pilates good for me if I have a bad back?

Pilates is excellent for lower back issues. There are studies which concluded that Pilates provided greater improvement for pain relief and functional ability. It engages the deep core muscles of the body, as well as those that surround and support the spine. Core Pilates eases neck and shoulder tension, improve posture, and reduce back pain. Another study also stated that “Pilates exercise offers equivalent improvements to massage therapy and other forms of exercise”.

Is Pilates safe for pregnant women?

It is important that you discuss with your doctor before you start any new exercise programme. Pilates can help strengthen your tummy, back, and pelvic floor muscles without straining other joints, making it a safe exercise to do when you are pregnant.

With pregnancy, it is advised that you work one-on-one with an instructor who can help develop a program that is appropriate for you. A private session will also allow you to get the personal attention you need. With private training, the instructors can help develop a routine with exercise modifications for class and home programs.

How can beginners get the most benefit out of pilates?

It pays to be consistent, especially in the beginning, when you are still training your body to get used to the exercise. If you want to see the results, don’t just try it once. Make an effort to give it a couple of shots and do it in succession. The key to achieving the benefits you seek is in the consistency.

What kind of results can I expect?

  • Increased core strength
  • Improved posture
  • Better balance and coordination
  • Overall body awareness
  • Greater flexibility
  • Increased stamina
  • Injury prevention
  • Improved athletic performance

How often should I go for Pilates classes?

You can do Pilates from once a week to once a day. However, twice a week is common and what is suggested for most clients. If you want a more clear estimate, it helps that you discuss this with your instructor. A personalised program can be drafted to suit your fitness goals and schedule.


If you have more questions, call Pilates Plus today. Allow us to help you in achieving your health and body goals!