3 Tips for Your Pilates Practice

3 Tips for Your Pilates Practice

There are many questions you might have for your Pilates practice. And it’s natural to have questions. This blog post will help you understand things a little better for your practice and mindset. And if you still have questions after reading, put them in the comments!

You make it look so easy, why do I make it so hard?

I personally have found myself trying too hard during my Pilates practice. Some exercises and sports have the mentality to go all out, 200% and Pilates is not like that. In fact, when you use less effort it’s easier! There’s a saying from Joseph Pilates himself: one pound of effort for 100 pounds of work. 

Honestly, I hope when you see Pilates you think it looks easy. If it looks hard, you may not try! And if it feels too hard we’ll work together to find a way for it to feel easy. 

There are times when I’m teaching and I ask “which muscles do you feel working?” This is so we can check in to see if you’re feeling your whole body working. Then you know how it should feel during your Pilates practice. Sometimes our stronger muscles take over and the weaker ones aren’t as active. This check-in helps make sure the whole body is active. It can make the exercise feel harder while making you stronger. 

There’s also a mental part of using less effort. When we tell ourselves to work less hard it becomes easier! If you visualize yourself shooting a basketball at a hoop and making it, you are creating a mental image of success. This makes it easier for your body to do the work it needs to do. Instead of being in your thinking side of the brain, you’ve crossed over to the feeling side. 

Images are used during Pilates to make the exercises easier. Instead of thinking how heavy your legs are when in the air, focus on them resting in a swing and it becomes easier!

You can read more about imagery in this blog post. Our brain responds well to images that are positive and ones we’ve chosen. They are strong mental images, especially ones that you’ve experienced in person! You can remember this images for later during your Pilates practice.

Imagery during your Pilates practice

Is Pilates hard? Yes and no. 

When you start Pilates it’s challenging because you’re learning something new. You want to be good at it. At first it feels like learning a new language. Is it so difficult you don’t want to continue? I hope not! 

Pilates is very specific to your body and needs. Together we work on challenging and ACHIEVABLE movements. It’s not one size fits all and that’s where private sessions are VALUABLE. In addition to private sessions, your Pilates practice is also important to continue to feel results.

How often should I practice?

The combination of your whole body working and not fatiguing your muscles means you can do Pilates every day!

Start with practicing one day a week if you’re new to Pilates or adding exercise back to your routine. Add your practice before or after something you do everyday. You’ll be more successful because you are adding on to a preexisting habit.

Then increase your Pilates practice to twice a week, and then 3-4 times a week. The more you practice, the sooner you’ll see results.

If you need help and motivation at home, click here to receive a video of 5 exercises that challenge your whole body.

While you’re practicing at home you might also have the following question:

How many reps for each exercise?

Typically the number of reps per exercise is 5-10. Pilates is different from other workouts where you might do as many reps as possible in a specific amount of time. As you become more advanced, the reps decrease to 3-5 and the tempo picks up for your Pilates practice. 

This is because you’re building strength but not fatiguing the muscles. Strength training focuses on fatiguing the muscle and having a recovery time frame. I’m not saying one is better than the other, we do them for different reasons! 

Keep in mind when counting your reps while practicing, if you can only do 3 or 5, that’s ok! It’s about where your body is at that moment and not yesterday, tomorrow, or previously. 

Also, remember not each rep needs to be perfect! 

The first rep of each exercise is like the mulligan of Pilates. You get another chance!

I understand if you want to do Pilates well and be good at it, I’m right there with you! The first rep of the exercise tends to be wonky and as you do each rep after, they improve. If you find your last rep, not your best one, do another one!

It’s not to be perfect, I want you to feel good about that exercise. 

Pilates works your entire body and the whole time you’re doing it. There isn’t one particular muscle working by itself while doing hundred, teaser, or shoulder bridge. Everything is working in sync like an orchestra symphony. Each instrument has its part and so does each muscle.

Do you have more questions about Pilates? Post them in the comments or email me at move@pilateswithrachel.com.

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