Congratulations on beginning your journey with Pilates! This is an exciting time and while I know that you have so much to learn, I wanted to share something with you. I have discovered that there are seven things that most beginners do wrong when they start Pilates and I want to make sure that you are not making these same mistakes too.
Here are 7 Mistakes that everyone makes when starting with Pilates:
1.) Not Breathing Properly
Almost every Pilates exercise has been designed to coincide and flow with each breath that you take. Therefore, every movement that you make and the order of the exercises that you do, need to be completed, as you are breathing properly. There are many reasons for this, but mostly, it is because the oxygen when you inhale, provides nutrients for your muscles and blood, and every exhale removes all the old air from your body.
It is important that you learn how to breathe while also tightening the muscles in your stomach. I recommend practicing gently lifting your lower abdomen at the same time you are taking a deep breath. I find that this is easier to learn while laying on your back with your knees bent up, as it allows you to feel the air at the side of your ribcage and the ribs towards your back feel the floor.
While breathing is important for Pilates, it is easy to forget to do it when you are learning something new. It happens to everyone, so do not worry if you realize it someday down the road. Just fix it every time you notice that it is happening and move on!
This Pilates workout for beginners download will help you learn how to breathe properly.
2.) Trying Too Much and Pushing Too Hard
I completely get why you are in a rush to get your body into shape, but at this point, you should know that it never works out like you want it to. And it never happens that fast! If you try to do too much, you are going to end up with less muscles for stabilization, and that is the last thing that you need when you are working on your core! I recommend that you do not try as hard, so that the muscles that need to work can, and the ones that are not supposed to, can relax.
An excellent example would be powering through an exercise using as much of your arms as possible, until you simply let your arms relax a little and finally feel the power from your core. That exercise suddenly became easier!
Your core has a job and it is better if you let it do it! After all, it is designed to stabilize your other muscles, while providing a foundation at the same time. You will know if you are using certain muscles the wrong way, because you will feel cramping, knotting, and even tension in those areas of your body. When you notice it, take a step back for a moment and regroup. When you start back up in a couple of minutes, you will find that you are more focused than ever before.
3.) Wanting and Expecting to Get it Right The Very First Time
Very few of us can get something new right the very first time, so please do not expect to be a pro at Pilates immediately! Instead, take your time to learn the exercises, as you forget about some of your old habits and patterns. It is necessary to have an open mind and give this fitness regimen a chance, because you will be amazed at how you will feel after you have been doing it for a while!
4.) Too Much Momentum
Aerobics and cycling and many other types of exercise use momentum to keep you moving forward. However, Pilates is the exact opposite of that and you want to use control with each of your movements instead. You can still do many of these movements quickly, but you need to control each one as you do it. You should never swing, jerk, fling, or do any other sudden movements when doing Pilates. During mat work, you need to imagine your own resistance, which makes this slightly more difficult. However, whenever you utilize the Pilates apparatus, you can let the springs assist you, which makes it easier to move slower and stay in control.
5.) Too Many Distractions
In this day and age, it is so easy to be distracted by what is going on all around us. Whether it is the television, our smartphones, children, spouse, or noise outside, it can all affect how your Pilates session is going. I recommend keeping your distractions to a minimum, whether you are home or at a gym with an instructor. Try to forget about everything else during your workout, so you can have the best session possible. This might mean turning your phone off or writing things down before you start, so you don’t forget them and you are not continuously reminding yourself about them.
6.) Forgetting Where Your Core Is
It is so simple to forget that the core of your body is more than just your abdomen. We all think that our stomach area is solely in charge of keeping us upright each day. However, your core includes those muscles deep inside your abdomen, as well as your back, ribcage, hips, buttocks, pelvic floor, and shoulder blades. Oh, and do not think that you need to have a six-pack up front to have a strong core! There are many people who have a strong core and a flabby stomach! I encourage you to find your true core and then use it to keep your alignment right.
7.) Not Practicing What You Learn Once You Leave
Many people practice Pilates in a studio and then forget everything that they just did once they walk out the doors to go home. I do not want you to do this! Everything that you do during a Pilates session can help you as you go about your everyday life. These exercises can help you as you run, help prevent back pain, and make you better with any other activity that you do.
Download this Pilates workout for beginners, so you can continue what you learned at class when you return home.
The goal of Pilates is to show your body that there is a better way to do things and that is by using your core muscles. Consider how you do everything that you do and then see how you can make small changes to connect to your core and align your body better.
You will be happy when you do, because you will automatically feel better. Just like you do when you leave a Pilates session!