Everybody’s doing this full-body workout—but what is it, exactly?
Original article from Teen Vogue by Eden Univer (
Add Pilates to your summer bucket list right now and you definitely won’t regret it come fall! The exercise helps you build muscle and improves your coordination, which is pretty essential if you’re planning to try out for a new sports team or just generally want to improve your level of fitness. But the one thing that keeps people out of the studio is the idea of a room full of complicated equipment. They look a little like medieval torture devices, no? Trust us, you’d be surprised at how simple some of the moves can be! And when it comes to trying something new, it gives you a major leg up to have the inside scoop.
Celebrity Pilates instructor Mari Winsor is giving you the lowdown on what to know before your first class. The guru popularized the workout with her studios (favored by the likes of Miley Cyrus and Drew Barrymore) and Gaiam Lower Body Pilates and Beginner Pilates DVDs. You’ll be a pro before you even walk into a class—or at least you’ll feel ready to conquer the cool equipment.
Keep clothing casual.
Even though the workout is a celebrity favorite, there’s no need to dress up for class. “Wear something comfortable that you can easily move in, like sweats, a t-shirt, and socks with little grips on the bottom,” says Winsor.
Don’t be scared off by the set-up.
In many studios you’ll encounter some pretty intense machines, but don’t be intimidated! There’s no expectation for you to be familiar with a single thing. “A fully equipped studio will have reformers, cadilacs, barrels, magic circles, small weights, Wunda chairs, spine corrector, electric chair, baby chair, ladder barrel, and special mats.” Phew! Winsor adds: “And a great instructor is as important as the equipment because they’ll know how to get you the best results. If a qualified teacher only has a mat, that’s enough!”
You’ll get help along the way.
The instructors are there to help, so make sure you let them know it’s your first class so they can show you how it’s done. “There is always a modified version of every exercise on the mat,” Winsor assures. “If an exercise is too difficult, don’t struggle to try and do it. Pilates is a process, and you’re not expected to perform everything perfectly right away. For most people the beginning exercises on the equipment are very doable and rewarding.”
Every class has its own flow.
Each session is interesting because you‘re never doing the same move for long. “A typical first session on equipment with a qualified instructor will consist of a series of exercises designed to help you work from your powerhouse—core muscles, buttocks, and the upper inner thighs. And no one exercise is repeated more than ten times. You’ll feel better and taller after you first session.”
You’re going to work your entire body.
Get ready for a pretty intense workout, but the benefits are definitely worth the effort! Some examples? “Strengthened body, better posture, more coordination, more energy, and better performance in any sport,” Winsor asserts. “And for a teen, Pilates is wonderful because it balances and aligns the body, helping avoid many future injuries and weaknesses that cause physical problems.”
So what are you waiting for? Hit the Wunda chair!