05 Sep What Is The Right Pilates Class For You?
Whether you’re new to Pilates or trying to reassess your practice, this quick refresher will point you in the right direction
From Classical and Contemporary Pilates to Anti Gravity Yoga and Barre, the pickings are plentiful in today’s urban fitness studios. As a beginner, it’s not easy to figure out where to start. As an intermediate or advanced practitioner who has maybe plateaued after doing the same thing for years—how do you reinvigorate your practice?
Heather Thomas Shalabi, founder of Flex Pilates Studio Hong Kong, gives us an easy-to-navigate roadmap. First, she defines each level according to the Pilates standard, stressing that “levels don’t refer to physical fitness, but familiarity with Pilates as a system.”
- Level 1: Little to no familiarity with Pilates equipment. “You may be a rockstar runner,” says Heather,” but I’d still need to put you in the Level 1 class.”
- Level 2: Intermediate to advanced practitioners. Classes involve quick transitions and familiarity with the apparatus; the pace can go fast, so clients need to be able to keep up with adjusting the springs and bar (for example).
- Multi-Level: Designed to suit a range of levels, open to those with basic Pilates knowledge as well as more experienced practitioners. The instructor can modify the workout for each student, ensuring everyone works to his or her ability. This enables more advanced students to get a real workout while allowing beginners to practice safely and correctly.
Now that we’ve covered that, let’s get to choosing the right Pilates class for you!
If you’re: Pregnant
Take: Pre-Natal Pilates Allegro or Pre/Post-Natal Pilates Trio
Pre Natal Pilates classes incorporate both mat work and Allegro exercises. Modifications for each trimester are given, enabling participants to achieve optimum shape for the arrival of their little ones. The class aims to help expectant mothers: (1) Strengthen the lower abdominal region to support the growing baby and thereby alleviate lower back pain; (2) Tone the pelvic floor muscles in preparation for delivery (and aid in recovery), (3) Improve posture (neck, shoulders & mid-back); and (4) Develop an awareness of deep breathing to assist movement.
If you’re looking for: Rehabilitation from an injury
Take: Stretch & Release (Level 1), a new class to be introduced this month
Heather says: “If you’re injured, I would recommend doing an initial assessment at the studio first with a professional instructor. What class you need to take really depends on the injury—some people need more stability, others need more flexibility, while some need to be mobilized. This would dictate what class you need. The basic abs series in “Stretch & Release” would be a safe bet!”
If you’re looking for: Lose weight and BURN FAT
Take: Cardio HIIT Training (Multi-Level) or Allegro Fat Burn (Level 2)
Cardio HIIT Training (Multi-Level) is 50 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT). Circuits of cardio and core exercises will crush your personal best, defining and sculpting your body.
Allegro Fat Burn (Level 2), meanwhile, is non-stop HIIT blast on the Allegro machine, following a timed interval class format. We’ll start with a relentless jump board sequence to increase your heart rate and work up a sweat, followed by sequences designed to work the abs, legs and glutes. Get stronger muscles (including the heart!), joints and improved bone density. (Minimum 15 previous BLT or Ab Blast classes required due to class intensity)
If you’re looking for: Improve posture and address back pain
Take: Classical Pilates Mat Flow (Multi-Level) or Allegro Ab Blast (Multi-Level)
Classical Pilates Mat Flow (Multi-Level) is a total body tone-up, perfect for both beginners and more experienced practitioners in need of a great alignment-reminder. Following the Classical sequence of Mat exercises, this class focuses on the essential principles of Pilates work.
If you’re looking for: Change your physique
Take: : Allegro Ab Blast (Multi-Level) or Bums, Legs & Tums Pilates Allegro (Multi-Level/Level 2)
We know, we know – no matter what you do, it’s SO HARD to get that flat belly and sculpted waistline. Most popular workouts incorporate some abs, but not enough to really alter your physique. These classes are game-changers. You will be pushed to your limits as you whittle in your waist and develop core oblique strength.
These are just five recommendations among so many goals and needs that could be paired with Pilates classes at the studio. For an updated list of classes from Tower Mat Trio Ⅰ / Ⅱ and Zumba® to AntiGravity® Absolute Abs, click the latest class schedule here.
New to Pilates? Do you want to give yourself a new skill set for life? Watch out for Flex Studio’s Introduction to Pilates 6-week Course this autumn (16th Sept-28th Oct), structured for those who really want to understand the fundamentals and get trained in a new teaching system and tool for the body.