A Simple Guide to Pilates for Beginners


Pilates is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by German national Joseph Pilates. He referred to this system as Contrology and placed heavy emphasis on the relationship between mind and body when controlling your body muscles. His main intention was to help injured athletes and dancers recover from injury. However, nowadays Pilates is practiced by thousands of people worldwide especially in America, Europe and parts of Asia. Pilates on all levels focus on core strength, spine alignment and breathing to improve muscles strength, posture as well as increase flexibility. This workout involves a series of repetitive movements, stretching, breathing and muscle contractions to promote strengthening of the entire body.

Principles of Pilates

  1. Centering 

According to Joseph Pilates, all our body movements originate from the center of our body. Anatomically, the body center – also known as the core – connects several muscles groups within the abdominal area. Pilates puts more emphasis on the core because with a properly developed core, you become less vulnerable to injuries such as lower back pain as well as fatigue.

  1. Control  

Control is a very important aspect of Pilates. Without control, exercise movements and motion can result in injuries. However, when the same exercises are performed with control, chances of getting an injury is exceedingly slim.

  1. Precision

In pilates, executing one rep of an exercise with precision is far more effective than many reps without. As described in Pilates Anatomy by Rael Isacowitz and Karen Clippinger “Precision can be associated with the activation of isolated muscles and at the same time with the integration of the required muscles to create movement. Precision can make the difference between accessing a muscle or not and between achieving the goal or not.”

  1. Concentration

Joseph Pilates believed very strongly in strengthening the connection between the mind and the body, encouraging a heightened sense of body awareness. Precision and Control is only achieved with concentration of the mind over the body He believed that this connection is the key to helping you organize your thoughts and cues, maintaining correct alignment and stabilization throughout the execution of the exercise.

  1. Breathing  

Pilates focuses on thorough, complete and purposeful breathing, with inhalation through the nose and exhalation through the mouth. Specific and conscious breathing is very beneficial because it assists in movement by channeling oxygen to the muscles being used.

Different types of Pilates

  1. Classical Pilates 

Classical Pilates aims to preserve the original teaching of Joseph Pilates. It mainly focuses on exercise that were traditionally prescribed by the founder. It is more prescriptive when compared to other types, and exercises are usually performed in unvarying order.

  1. Contemporary Pilates

Also known as modern Pilates, contemporary Pilates, it is based original work of Joseph Pilates. However just as its name suggest, there are various adjustments that have been made in order for it to blend with modern lifestyles. It actually incorporates research and contemporary knowledge into its teaching. It has made Pilates safer, more applicable and effective. 

  1. Clinical Pilates 

Clinical Pilates involves the use of mat work, studio equipment work or small props. The clinical Pilates is different from traditional Pilates because it is conducted by a Rehabilitative Pilates trained instructor. It a strongly focus on current research and it sometimes include training using real time ultrasound to assess transverse abdominal and pelvic floor muscle activation.

Benefits of Pilates

  • It helps to change your body without bulking you up.
  • It lengthens your muscles thus making you feel better and even feel taller
  • Specific movements of Pilates helps you to relax and also offer some mind benefits.
  • It helps to tighten your core thus giving you better posture killer abs as well as strengthen your back thus preventing injuries.
  • Pilates helps to repair muscles through the gentle fluid movement that it provides.
  • It enhances lymph systems function thus helping to reduce toxin and waste build up
  • It help to give you toned muscles without making you bulk.
  • It makes you more flexible by strengthening your muscles.

Suitable candidate for Pilates

Pilates are series of exercises that are very simple to perform and are suitable for people of all ages and fitness from people with certain medical conditions, pregnant ladies to elite athletes. The exercise can comfortably be done by people who are doing it for the first time as well as seasoned exercise junkies who want to challenge their fitness. However, before jumping into a Pilates class, you might want to first consult your doctor for recommendation if you have a long term medical condition. Pregnant women should also consult their doctor.

If you’d like to learn more, head to over www.breathepilates.com.sg or email us at info@breathepilates.com.sg to schedule your first session with us!

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