Pilates! It’s everywhere these days, and for good reason. This low-impact exercise system promises a stronger core, improved flexibility, and better posture – all while keeping your workouts fun and engaging. But for newbies stepping into their first Pilates class, the world of reformers, breathing cues, and unfamiliar exercises can be a little daunting.

Fear not, aspiring Pilates enthusiasts! Here are the 7 most common mistakes beginners make, along with tips to help you avoid them and get the most out of your Pilates journey:

Mistake #1: Showing Up Unprepared

Your first Pilates class might not involve complicated routines, but a little preparation goes a long way. Here’s what you can do:

  • Wear comfortable clothing. Opt for form-fitting clothes that allow for easy movement, like leggings and a breathable top.
  • Bring a water bottle. Staying hydrated is crucial during any workout.
  • Ask questions. Don’t be shy! If anything is unclear, ask your instructor for clarification.

Mistake #2: Moving Too Fast Through Exercises

Pilates is all about control and precision, not speed. The focus is on engaging the right muscles with each movement. Taking your time allows you to:

  • Master the form. Proper form is essential to maximize benefits and avoid injury.
  • Feel the connection. Slow, controlled movements help you build a mind-body connection, understanding how your muscles work together.
  • Deepen the workout. Slow and controlled exercises can be surprisingly challenging!

Mistake #3: Breathing Without Intention

Breathing is a core principle in Pilates, not an afterthought. Proper breathing techniques help:

  • Oxygenate your muscles. This improves your endurance and performance throughout the workout.
  • Stabilize your core. Breathing engages your core muscles, providing support and stability for your spine.
  • Find your rhythm. Coordinating your breath with your movements helps you flow through exercises more smoothly.

Most Pilates instructors will guide you through specific breathing patterns. Focus on inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.

7 Pilates Mistakes Newbies Make and How to Avoid Them

Mistake #4: Craning Your Head, Especially During Core Work

It’s tempting to strain your neck while trying to see your toes during core exercises. However, this can lead to neck pain. Here’s the key:

  • Maintain a neutral spine. Imagine a long line running from the top of your head down your spine. Keep your neck in line with this imaginary line.
  • Focus on lengthening your spine. Instead of crunching your neck, lengthen your spine by lifting your upper back off the mat while engaging your core.
  • Modify as needed. If keeping your head neutral feels uncomfortable, use a small pillow for support.

Mistake #5: Tensing Your Shoulders

Shoulder tension is a common issue, especially when starting Pilates. Here are some ways to keep your shoulders relaxed:

  • Soften your shoulder blades. Imagine pushing your shoulder blades down and back away from your ears.
  • Focus on core strength. A strong core helps stabilize your upper body, reducing tension in your shoulders.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel any shoulder pain, stop the exercise and consult your instructor.

Mistake #6: Mistaking Abdominal Strength for Abdominal Stability

A strong core isn’t just about washboard abs. Pilates emphasizes core stability, which goes beyond strength. Here’s the difference:

  • Core strength. This refers to the ability of your core muscles to contract forcefully.
  • Core stability. This refers to the ability of your core muscles to maintain proper posture and support your spine during movement.

Pilates exercises not only strengthen your core muscles but also teach them to work together to provide stability.

Mistake #7: Over-Tucking the Pelvis Instead of Lifting

A tucked pelvis is a common Pilates cue, but there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Here’s the key:

  • Think “neutral” not “tucked”. Imagine a slight inward curve in your lower back, not a forced tuck.
  • Engage your core. Engage your core muscles to lift your lower back off the mat, maintaining a neutral spine position.
  • Avoid arching your back. Over-tucking your pelvis can lead to lower back strain.

Ready to Experience the Power of Pilates? Come to Evergreen Clinic!

Pilates offers a multitude of benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels. By avoiding these common mistakes and focusing on proper form, you’ll be well on your way to a stronger, more balanced you.

At Evergreen Clinic, we offer a variety of Pilates classes led by certified instructors who are passionate about helping you achieve your fitness

Read more: 10 Essential Pilates Reformer Exercises for Beginners

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Take the first step towards a stronger, healthier you – sign up for Evergreen Rehab and Wellness Pilates today! You may book a 1:1 or a duet Pilates session at our Coquitlam clinic, Langley Clinic or Brentwood Clinic

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