This is one of the first questions that you’ll wonder when you start to take pilates. In order to see and feel results it’s best to do Pilates 2-3 times a week. Pilates is a form of exercise that is a learning process, and there are three main components to learn.
1. Learning to do the movements.
2. Learning the muscles used to do those movements.
3. And breathing.
You usually need to give it about 5-6 sessions in order to understand the basic verbal cues and concepts involved in the exercises. At first you’ll start to feel more stretched out and feel like you’re standing taller. After those initial sessions, you’ll then begin to concentrate on really working into the muscles since the movements aren’t so foreign anymore. One of the last things that will probably start to connect is the specialized breathing. Every movement has a specific breath attached to it and at first, every time your instructor cues an exhale, the chances of you inhaling is pretty probable. It is always the last thing that comes naturally….when all else fails….just breathe. Pilates is like any learned behavior. The more you practice it and the longer you do it, the better you’ll get.
Pilates requires full concentration in order to do it effectively. There are limited reps done in Pilates, which is great. This allows you to be fully focused on your body and muscles for the only 5-12 reps of each exercise, and then you move on to the next. It also allows you to work more muscle groups within the hour. Another plus is that within the hour you’ll be working out all the muscle groups, so nothing is left untouched. The body will be worked and stretched out as a whole.
Keep in mind that the Pilates method has over 500 exercises when used as a total system. Budget is always a factor, I know, but whenever possible you should try to do a mix of mat classes, equipment class and privates. Not participating in mat class because it’s too hard is totally lame. Doing only equipment because it’s fun, new and exciting will eventually cause a plateau, especially if you are only working on the reformer. There is also the cadillac, chair and a barrel to consider. Privates, although costly, can benefit individuals that are struggling in certain areas and would like a deeper insight into certain exercises. The occasional private can be a good treat to jump-start some new muscles that might not get used in a group class situation.
Most likely, you are also practicing other forms of exercise too. I’ve always said that pilates is the best compliment to my running that I can imagine. A lot of the instructors at Studio Be practice Yoga along with their regular Pilates sessions….. whatever you like to do – continue to do that too – you’ll probably do it better! Joseph Pilates meant for this system to enhance your other activities.
So – how many times a week should you practice pilates? The quick answer: 2 – 3. Ultimately, you need to decide how many days you can fit it in and what kind of classes you want to take, knowing the learning curve and benefits. You’ll be surprised how quickly you find that Pilates becomes a way of life for you. It will become the ‘me time’ that you look forward to in your days.
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