Pilates is a functional practice that interconnects body mechanics with breath and precision to achieve a myriad of benefits. From toning the body to improving flexibility, strength and stamina, taking up pilates is very rewarding. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be extremely fit to start pilates; the pilates workout will inherently take you there with consistency and perseverance, which makes it an accessible practice for everybody, including complete beginners.

You’re probably wondering what exactly pilates is and where to begin. In this guide, we cover what pilates is and what pilates is good for in addition to what its different class types are so you can safely choose between them for your level. We also round up some of the must-have equipment and sportswear you’ll need to do the celebrated exercise. 

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise focused on body strength and conditioning. What has started as a form of injury recovery for dancers is now a workout style taking the world by storm for its variety of benefits. Not only does it help with muscle strength and toning, but it can also increase flexibility, enhance posture and stability and may relieve joint aches and chronic pain thanks to its resistance and core work. What differentiates Pilates from an average workout session is that a lot of elements are at play here; these include performing movements with concentration, centered control and precision.

Types of Pilates Classes

There are several types of Pilates classes ranging from beginner-friendly, on-the-mat pilates to equipment-based pilates and other types. Here’s a list of the most common pilates classes to help you choose one for your level and body goal.

Reformer Pilates

is a pilates class that involves using a reformer machine. It’s a machine that resembles a bed with springs, a sliding carriage and ropes. The reformer exercises are done under the supervision of a certified pilates instructor for everyone’s safety. Reformer pilates classes are focused on core strength and muscle engagement and they in turn help enhance your athletic performance, increase durability, and flexibility and help with injury recovery.

Mat Pilates

Unlike a reformer pilates class, a mat pilates class can be done on the mat without using machines. It can also be done at home without the need to visit a pilates studio which is a perfect place to start for beginners.

Classical Pilates

Combining mat and reformer practices, classical pilates is a form of pilates that is based on a set sequence of movements performed in a particular order. It starts with basic exercises and 

gets progressively challenging. This is the class for you if you want to try a more structured and flowy style of pilates.

Winsor Pilates

Developed by Mari Winsor, this pilates class focuses on breathing coordination with movement by targeting the abdominal muscles. The breathing exercises combined with physical training help increase the oxygen levels in the blood, which speeds the metabolism and ultimately accelerates weight loss. Winsor pilates is the right class for you if you have a few pounds to shed and you also want to gain strength.

What is a Pilates Practice best for?

The best pilates type of class will depend on your goal. All in all, you’ll be reaping benefits that include enhancing your performance, aiding with rehabilitation and recovery from injury, increasing your metabolism, boosting your natural ability to lose fat and relieving bodily tension.

How is Pilates Different from Yoga?

It can be easy to initially confuse yoga with pilates, especially for beginners. While both yoga and pilates work to increase your strength and flexibility, there is an inherent difference in the way each discipline leads to that. Yoga is an ancient practice that first originated in India with poses and meditation at the core of its mind-body-spirit element. On the other hand, pilates works excessively on muscle tone, body alignment, and core work which in turn strengthens the lower back and makes the posture sturdier. To say it best, yoga and pilates complement each other for their numerous health benefits.

Pilates Gear Every Practitioner should have

These pilates essentials are handy whether you’re doing Pilates at home or at an equipped studio.

Pilates Mats

A good pilates mat is denser than a yoga mat, offering plenty of cushioning and support for all the floor work which the practice requires.

Handheld weights

Some pilates classes use weights to enhance the workout’s quality and build lean muscles. Opt for a lightweight option starting at 1kg dumbbells or weight plates and work your way from there.

Pilates Resistance Band

Resistance bands are a no-brainer in pilates sessions. Most pilates resistance bands come in packs ranging from minimum to medium to maximum resistance so that you can explore with the right one for your body. 

What to Wear to Pilates

It’s crucial to wear comfortable fitness clothing for your pilates workout. While yoga clothing could work fine, below we list more options to change things up.

Sports Bra

A medium support sports bra will work best when it comes to pilates workout; you don’t want a bra that’s too tight and restricting or one that’s too light and feels unsupportive during dense sessions.

Sports Unitards & Jumpsuits

An alternative to your regular top and leggings combo, sports unitards are gaining great popularity in the sports fashion world. If you’re looking for a trendy exercise outfit, the sports unitards or playsuit will sculpt your body and let you train in style.

Pilates Grip Socks

Wearing Pilates socks may decrease your chance of getting injured. They’re also great if you’re heading for an outdoor session and prefer not to work out barefoot.

Azadea.com has you covered with all the pilates sportswear and equipment you need to help you perform your best. We hope by now you feel ready and equipped for your next pilates session.