Class Type: Strength & Flexibility
Duration: 60 mins
Average Calorie Burn: 200-300
Complexity/Difficulty: 6 to 9 out of 10
Class Size: 10-30 (varies depending on type/location)
Areas Worked: Whole Body
Equipment: None. Classes which use equipment such as stability balls etc they are provided – you may want to take your own mat. Wear loose clothing.
Music: Soothing & relaxing
After my last post on posture and spending today as a rest day – I thought it mad sense for my next class overview to be Pilates.
A lot of people ask me what the difference is between Pilates & Yoga as at first glance they can appear very similar.
Both classes have a focus on flexibility, strength, balance, posture and breathing techniques based on controlled movements and stretches but there are some differences:
Being rooted in meditative practices, Yoga has a more spiritual side that is often included within the class such as chanting and aligning your chakras. Pilates does not have this and has a more anatomical approach to body alignment
Pilates classes tend to be around 60 minutes, whereas Yoga class will usually last 75-90 minutes.
Yoga concentrates more towards holding static poses for a number of breaths. Pilates is a little more dynamic in terms of movement.
As a newbie deciding between them – it’s best to give them both a try and see which you like best!
Pilates has a number of variations within it’s scope but the two main variations are either “mat based” or “Reformer”.
Mat based Pilates can either be “pure” – using various body weighted exercises and stretches or equipment such as bands, blocks or a stability ball and class sizes can vary between 10-30 people.
Reformer Pilates is a much smaller class – 5-10 people, due to the larger apparatus used as the exercises are performed on a specialist board that adds additional challenges and resistance to the routine. Finding a “Reformer” class can be harder to find due to the equipment size.
One of the best things about Pilates is that it works well for a wide range of people. Athletes and dancers love it as much as seniors and people at various stages of physical rehabilitation.
If you’re looking to start Pilates it is well worth calling in advance to see what type of class it is and whether any equipment is used so that you can make a decision if it would be the right class for you – depending on your level of experience and comfort in using items such as a stability ball.
Needless to say in ALL classes the instructor will provide variations throughout the routine to cover beginners to advanced levels – so don’t worry too much about it, but if you do have or previously had a recent injury – let the instructor know before the start of the class so they can give you specific advice.
The classes I went to were mat based and used the stability ball a lot!
With a smaller class size the room itself was smaller than the usual sport-hall used for aerobics based classes and ensures that the temperature of the room can be controlled so that it is pleasantly warm.
The class starts by an initial warm-up setting up the body in correct alignment and focus on the “lateral” breathing and core engagement techniques to be used throughout the class.
It then flows through a number or body weighted movements, and stretches before introducing the more challenging exercises with a stability ball such as kneeling behind the ball and then rolling over the top of it onto your hands and then “walking” forward with your hands until the ball is by your feet and then back again to the starting position behind the ball.
Whilst you may not end the class a sweaty mess, you will find it a challenge – I found even just sitting on the ball with my feet off the ground difficult!
Pilates focuses on “6 principles” – Centering, Control, Flow, Breath, Precision and Concentration and so emphasises quality over quantity. As such, instead of doing large number of repetitions by completing each exercise fully with precision, you can gain better results.
The music is quite relaxing (think Ibiza sunsets/enya etc) which helps your mind clear and focus on the movements and breathing.
Overall – I really enjoyed the class and found it both challenging, relaxing and fun at the same time – even the instructor referred to it as “farty pilates” at one point.
I would definitely recommend it to help improve core strength, flexibility and good posture – I know that I for one have noticed an improvement in the way I stand and a number of friends highly recommended it to help with mild back pain/niggles.
For more info/classes visit:
There’s also plenty of Pilates videos/workouts on YouTube: