Welcome to the world of Pilates! An increasingly popular workout, Pilates has earned its spot in the fitness limelight due to its unique blend of mindful, body-sculpting movements. Whether you’re a fitness novice at the start of your wellness journey or a regular gym-goer aiming to add diversity to your exercise routine, Pilates has something to offer everyone.

Pilates is a form of exercise that seamlessly combines strength, flexibility and body
awareness to improve your overall well-being.

With two primary forms, mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates, you can choose the workout that suits you best suits. Join us as we explore how Pilates can transform your fitness.

What is Pilates all about? 

Devised in the early 20th century by physical trainer Joseph Pilates, this form of exercise encourages full-body wellness through the repetition of controlled, precise movements. A good example is the “hundred”, an endurance exercise involving repeated arm movements while the legs hover in the air.

Joseph Pilates believed that for people to control their bodies, they must have a starting point — their ‘centre’, which he considered to be the area between the lower rib cage and the pubic bone. As a result, ‘centring’ is one of the core principles in Pilates. The middle of the body is the powerhouse that drives all Pilates movements.

Mat Pilates

In this form of Pilates, you do the exercises on a mat, sitting, standing and lying down, sometimes with the use of simple equipment such as a resistance band, blocks and balls. If you take part in a mat Pilates class in an exercise studio, your instructor will guide you through a series of movements designed to enhance posture, balance and muscle strength. These exercises will often incorporate pulsing arm or leg movements synchronised with controlled breathing.

Mat Pilates targets different parts of your body, particularly the core, while also contributing to improved mental wellness by increasing energy levels and reducing stress. 

You can take classes in person or online. However, attending a few in-person classes is beneficial for beginners because your instructor can guide you through each move, demonstrating and adapting.

Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates uses a unique piece of equipment, the Reformer, to offer a dynamic and challenging workout. Equipped with springs, pulleys and straps, the Reformer carriage can be adjusted to vary resistance levels to suit your ability.

The exercises in Reformer Pilates provide an intense, full-body workout, although the core remains the primary focus. Much like mat Pilates, the Reformer variant aids in improving balance, flexibility and strength. It also allows for more variation and progression in workouts. You perform exercises in different positions — lying down, standing or even perched on the shoulder blocks. The resistance from the machine adds an extra layer of intensity to the workout, making it suitable if you want to challenge yourself further.

Who is Pilates for?

Pilates is a versatile workout that can be tailored to fit everyone. Consider how you can fit Pilates into your workout routine::

  • If you’re a beginner, it’s smart to start with mat Pilates before progressing to Reformer Pilates. Once you’re ready to advance, learn how to transition from mat to Reformer Pilates.
  • Pilates is particularly good for individuals recovering from injuries due to its low-impact nature.
  • Expectant mothers and older adults can also benefit from Pilates thanks to its adaptable, low-impact nature.
  • Pilates complements other types of workouts and improves your overall well-being. 
  • If you’re involved in sports like tennis, Pilates can be a valuable addition to your training routine, enhancing your overall performance.

Pilates can give you a change of pace from yoga while following similar basic principles — these are the differences between yoga and Pilates.

Get started with Pilates at David Lloyd Clubs

It’s easy to start Pilates — we provide expert instructors, mats and equipment at our clubs. When preparing for your first class, opt for comfortable, non-restrictive clothing. If you’re prone to sweating during workouts, you may also want to consider bringing grip socks or gloves. Remember, each instructor brings their unique style to the class, so it’s worthwhile trying different sessions to find one that aligns with your preferences.

David Lloyd Clubs offer a variety of mat Pilates classes, as well as Reformer Pilates classes at select clubs. Find your local club to step into the empowering world of Pilates and unlock a healthier, more balanced you.