What You Should Know Before Doing Pilates For The First Time

If you're looking for a new, low-impact fitness class to try out, and you have already done yoga, swimming, and weight training, look no further than Pilates. "Pilates is a full-body exercise method that will help you do everything better," Sonja Herbert, a Pilates instructor and founder of Black Girl Pilates, told Self. "It strengthens and stabilizes your core body, which is your foundation, so that you can move efficiently while improving your posture, flexibility, and mobility," she continued. 

Before you get started, there are a few things that you should be aware of, namely this is a full-body workout. "Although Pilates is specifically defined as exercise for the core or abdominal muscles, it is important that clients know that the core includes the entire trunk, which is the abdominals, the hips, the inner and outer thighs, and the back," Herbert explained. Which means, expect to experience some significant soreness after your first foray into a class.

There are two different types of Pilates

There are two different styles of Pilates — reformer Pilates, which is carried out on an apparatus, and mat Pilates, which is carried out on a mat. "In general, a traditional Pilates mat class will work your legs, stomach, lower and upper back muscles," Vanessa Gospel, Pilates Instructor at Fitness First, told HuffPost. "Reformer Pilates [on the other hand] is a great form of strength, postural, flexibility, balance and endurance training and can be designed to target one specific area, or as a whole body muscular exercise," added Kirsty McLean, personal trainer and founder of Body Clarity.

And lastly, what you wear to a Pilate class is pretty important; figure forming clothing is best. "This way, the instructor can see your movements better and your clothes don't get caught in springs or other equipment," says Carrie Samper, national Pilates training manager at Equinox. It's best to opt for a tank top or fitted shirt, and leggings. "There are many exercises in Pilates where you are lying down and your legs are moving above you...so you don't want the shorts to ride up," she added. As for footwear, it's recommended you check with the studio to see if they prefer socks or bare feet.