Balanced pilates workouts should last approximately one hour and you will achieve your goals much quicker if you attend classes and then supplement your practice with at home sessions.
If you are unable to attend classes ensure that you discipline yourself to practice consistently at home. As your pilates workout will not be aerobic at first, it is important to compliment your regular practice with some kind of cardiovascular activity such as brisk walking, running, cycling, or jogging.
A comprehensive pilates workout should consist of both matwork and equipment-based exercises. Each exercise is based on the underlying principles of: relaxation, alignment, breathing, core stabilisation, concentration, co-ordination, flowing movement and stamina.
Every pilates workout should commence with a warm up and stretching routine to prepare the mind and the body for the session.
This physical and mental conditioning regime is based on choreographed fluid movements performed in sequence. To ensure a balanced session, exercises should be performed in the correct order, as laid out by your trainer, video, or manual. Develop your strength and understanding of the preparatory exercises prior to attempting the more difficult ones. The following is a list of a few important goals to keep in mind as you work through your program:
- Your focus should primarily be on correct alignment and posture.
- If you sense that your muscles are tensing up, release the posture, relax, and begin again.
- Take your time, work at your own pace, being mindful not to rush through the exercises. Ensure your movements are precise and controlled.
- Ensure that your entire body is engaged, do not let a single part take over an exercise.
- Check and double check that you are in the correct position. Try to remain relaxed, and lengthened throughout.
- Focus on deep, slow, rhythmical breathing.