Then here are a few things you need to know before you book to take up Pilates Classes at Pilates Dynamics. (It may just become your new favourite workout)!!!!

If your fitness routine has been feeling a little stale or you feel like a change, taking up a Pilates class might be a good way to make any fitness routine feel fresh again. A Pilates class is a good way to expand your fitness horizon, whether you take up a Pilates Mat class or a Pilates Reformer class. 

Pilates is extremely versatile, meaning that it can be adjusted to for any age and fitness level. If in-studio or in-person gym exercise is not something you feel comfortable doing right now, there are plenty of live streaming virtual (online) Pilates classes at Pilates Dynamics. 

Regardless of which option you choose to attend classes, trying Pilates can be a workout game changer, no matter your fitness background.

“Pilates will meet anybody’s needs to improve their movement and at the same time make it extremely challenging”, says Andriesa Verloop, Director of Pilates Dynamics Training & Education Centre in Randburg, Johannesburg. “There are so many variations and modifications of the same exercise, that it always stays fresh.”

Want to know what Pilates is all about? 

Here are a few tips that a Pilates beginner needs to know to enjoy their first class. 

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. A typical Pilates workout tends to be around 50 minutes to an hour long, says Andriesa Verloop, Director of Pilates Dynamics Training & Education Centre in Randburg, Johannesburg. 

The great thing about Pilates is that you can do it with or without equipment. However, the movement needs to be slow, precise, and controlled, with breathing patterns that supports muscle function. 

Pilates does not only target the core, Pilates is a full body workout. Pilates is not restricted to specific body parts. When we refer to the core or abdominal muscles, it is important that clients know that the core includes the entire trunk, which is made up of the abdominals, back, hips, inner and outer thighs.  As Pilates instructors we will also add in moves to engage areas like your arms, glutes, and lower legs. You can therefore expect a workout that works your entire body. 

What are the benefits of Pilates?

Andriesa Verloop says that “Pilates is a full-body exercise method that will help you do everything better,”. Andriesa further goes on to say that Pilates strengthens and stabilizes your core, which after all is the foundation, from which you can move efficiently while improving your posture, flexibility, and mobility.”

If you are looking for functional movement, the kind that helps you move better on a day-to-day basis with everyday tasks, Pilates can train you in that. A 2018 study of 90 people published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that participants who practiced Pilates for one hour three times a week for eight weeks improved their scores on a functional movement screen, which measures things like balance, stability, and mobility, more so than people who did Yoga.

Then of course there are the muscle benefits—especially in the field of endurance. One 2010 study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that people who did one hour of Pilates twice a week for 12 weeks reported significant increases in abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility, and upper-body muscular endurance. The researchers theorize that the scapular and pelvic-lumbar stabilization cues throughout the moves (when you are told to bring your shoulder blades together or down your back and preventing miss-alignment in the lower back and pelvis), combined with the increase in core strength and endurance, can translate to upper-body strength improvements.

In addition, Pilates has also been found to have a beneficial effect on mental health, hence being referred to as a mind-body connection, which is enhances both physical and mental endurance. A 2018 publication of eight Pilates studies found that those who practiced Pilates reported a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as fatigue.

Ready to start a Pilates class? 

Here are a few things to keep in mind for your first class.

1. Pilates can require equipment, but not necessarily. 

At Pilates Dynamics, we offer 2 types of classes:

  1. Pilates Mat & Small Equipment classes. Exercises are done on a Mat – thicker than a Yoga Mat – to provide support. For on-line Pilates classes the Pilates Dynamics Instructor will assess what equipment the class participants have. If you do not have any equipment, the Pilates Instructor will either do a class without any equipment and with the use of your own body weight. Alternatively, the Pilates Instructor will let you know before class to bring a towel, ball (soccer ball), pillow or filled water bottles to act like weights.
    For In-Studio (in-person) Pilates classes, you do not have to bring any equipment, as Pilates Dynamics is a fully equipped Pilates and Yoga studio. We use an array of small equipment like Thera-bands; Rubber bands; Balls; BOSU balance trainers; Balls; Weights; Kettlebells; TRX Suspension trainers; Ballet Barre; and Trampolines to name but a few.
  2. Reformer classes are done on a machine called a reformer, which is a sliding platform complete with stationary foot bar, springs, and pulleys that provide resistance.
  3. Large equipment classes are done on a variety of Pilates Large machines, including the Reformer, Towers, Wunda Chairs, and Barrels, complete with spring tension that provides resistance. 

Reformers, Towers, Cadillacs, Wunda Chairs use spring tension as resistance with the goal of strengthening and isolating the right muscles. Your goal should be to take your time with the exercises, focus on the task at hand, and connect to your breath.

The Reformer and other Large Pilates Equipment experience is maybe the most fun you will have in a Pilates class. These machines give you added resistance and a sliding or lifting surface that challenges your workout. It often feels like you’re flying, levitating, or gliding.”

In most Pilates Large Equipment class settings, you will typically use the Reformer, the Wunda Chair, Barrels, and a smaller version of the Cadillac called the Tower.  Andriesa Verloop advises beginners to take a few private lessons, if possible, to safely learn how to use the equipment before signing up for a group class.

Regardless of what class you choose, make sure to let your instructor know you are a beginner. This way, they can keep an eye on you throughout the class and offer modifications or form adjustments.

2. Many beginner classes will feature the same group of exercises in each class.

There is a repertoire of Pilates exercises that are common in beginner classes. Then as you get familiar with the moves, your Pilates class can build on them, offering progressions to continue to challenge your muscles. For example, the Pilates Hundred exercise can be enhanced with a ball between your ankles or a Pilates Ring, to add more connection to your midline and can challenge your stability. 

3. You can get a good Pilates introduction at home, virtually/on-line.

If you feel more comfortable trying out a new exercise modality in the comfort of your home rather than joining and in-studio or in-person class, you can get started with Pilates live virtual/on-line classes hosted by Pilates Dynamics that only employs professional and well-qualified Pilates Instructors.

Live On-line classes can be very ground-level and authentic will immediate and ongoing feedback from the Pilates Instructor. 

Pilates Dynamics offer an array of Pilates and Yoga online and in-studio classes both in a group or if you feel more comfortable, you can do the class privately or with your wife or husband or family members.

4. You will feel your muscles burn during class, and you might be sore the next day.

While you may not be crushing high-intensity exercises like jumping squats or lifting heavy dumbbells, the bodyweight routines that Pilates classes offer can be very intense. 

Dedicating your entire focus to even the smallest movements means that you will work the muscles that each exercise intends. That means you can be dealing with delayed-onset muscle soreness after your workout.  In addition, you will find soreness in muscles that you did not know you had, as Pilates tends to isolate muscles well.

5. There is a special use of language and terminology involved.

A great teacher will use cues in a way that brings your anatomy and movements to life. The connection of hearing the words, visualizing the exercise, and performing it can be transformative and inspiring—and like learning any new language, there is always lingo.

For Pilates, you need to know that your powerhouse refers to the centre of the body, where all of your power comes from to execute movement. Peel through your spine or articulating your spine, means slow movement from vertebra to vertebra. You will probably also hear some instructional phrases like Cradle your head in your hands,(allowing your neck to be supported by your hands and arms) Tuck your chin towards your chest or Create a little double-chin (to initiate your deep abdominal muscles and take the work out of the head and neck. Another important phrase is Slide your shoulder blades down your back, to take the work out of the shoulders and focus the work towards the abdominals. And to mention another important phrase, is keeping a neutral spine and pelvis, to ensure that the lower back and hips are in the correct position to ensure optimal use of the muscles and to prevent compensation of other muscles.

Do not be concerned though, as you will get used to them with time.

6. The right clothes can make you more comfortable.

It is important to wear more body-hugging clothing options for Pilates classes. This way, the instructor can see your movements better and your clothes don’t get caught in springs or other equipment. 

As for footwear, you can wear socks for your session, and preferably non-slip socks. 

7. Pilates should be a part of a well-rounded workout routine.

Andriesa from Pilates Dynamics suggests that you do not do a class every day as your body needs a day or two to recover from fatiguing resistance exercise like that of Pilates. 

Pilates stretches, strengthens, and aligns your body all at the same time. Pilates also complements every other fitness endeavour, because it prepares your body to move better in every way. Adding it into your fitness routine will help you lift heavier weights, run faster, swim with better form, or even achieve that elusive arm balance in yoga.”

Although you can easily go overboard with Pilates, resist the urge to make it your only exercise. Cross-training (like taking the time to run, swim, or weight training, in addition to Pilates) is important, no matter which exercise modality you consider your main type.

As a runner, the stretch and lengthening from Pilates will help with off-day recovery and injury prevention. For those same reasons, it can be the perfect complement to free-weight training or any other sport.

8. It’s important to guard against injury, especially when you’re just getting started.

Mild or moderate soreness isn’t serious, nor is it something to worry about, but it’s possible that you can injure yourself with Pilates. Overdoing it on Pilates, especially if you are new to Pilates or exercising in general, can over-stress your muscles, particularly if you don’t give them ample recovery time before your next class.

Lower back strain—think, an achy or sharp pain in your lower back, which can radiate down your butt and thighs—can be a common Pilates injury, especially if your form is not correct during the moves. You may also experience rotator cuff tendinopathy, where you may feel pain and reduced mobility in your shoulder joint as you move, which can be a result of repetitive movements. Whatever the injury, if you feel pain or impeded mobility that persists past the day or two of simple delayed-onset muscle soreness, you should pause your Pilates routine and consider seeing your doctor or physical therapist.

Nobody can prevent injury in any kind of exercise, but there are some ways in which you can protect yourself when getting started with Pilates.

At Pilates Dynamics we offer a first private session referred to as an Orientation session during which we teach you the fundamentals of Pilates, take you through some of the basic exercises, and teach you the Pilates breathing pattern as well as how to recruit your muscles correctly and the principle of disassociation (moving a limb without the rest of the body moving). This also offers the ideal opportunity for your well-qualified Pilates Dynamics Instructor to assess your level of fitness and body awareness, before placing you in a group class setting. You may or may not be requested to book a few private classes to ensure that you can migrate to a group class, safely.

Are you ready and more prepared now to book and start your Pilates classes at Pilates Dynamics?

What else does Pilates Dynamics offer?

Pilates Dynamics also offer Internationally Recognized and Certified Pilates Instructor Teacher Training courses and programs. So, you can rest assured that you are in good hands!!

 Courses are offered live online (virtually) AND in-studio (in-person) and come complete with a video library of all the exercises taught in the manual, access to pre-recorded Pilates classes, and access to tests. All courses and workshops have been allocated CPD (Continuing Professional Development) points.