Honestly, it’s not like Pilates had ever gone out of fashion. But lately, it’s as if every Hollywood babe, KPop starlet and fitness influencer has jumped onto the Pilates train.
Upon closer look, it’s actually not hard to understand.
Pilates, with its focus on core strength and building lean muscles, is the weapon of choice for many looking for a lithe, slender physique. It’s also a highly recommended exercise for people with neck, shoulder and lower back pain.
Whether you’re purely inspired by all the sudden hype or you’re looking for a new rehabilitative workout regime, here’s what Pilates beginners need to know before their first class.
Pilates vs Yoga — aren’t they both the same?
Many yogis go into Pilates thinking that it’ll be a similar workout (*cough* this was me). Sure, both use controlled breathing and require mind muscle connection. But yoga is predominately about flexibility, balance and relaxation as you flow through a sequence of poses. Most movements return to a standing position where you ground yourself down onto the floor before pushing away.
Yoga is also focused on deep belly breathing and both inhaling and exhaling through the nose. This has the effect of activating your parasympathetic nervous system which will promote deep mental and muscle relaxation.
Pilates helps build core strength and spinal alignment. The exercises are primarily done lying down and the focus is on using your pelvic floor muscles and transverse abdominis to move through the different movements.
The Pilates breath is drawn in through the nose right into your ribcage before exhaling forcefully through the mouth while tensing your core. It’s a more strenuous workout compared to yoga and you’ll walk out of a session feeling taller and more even.