We get this question often, how hard is Pilates? Especially from people who’ve never practiced Pilates before. And really, it’s not a yes or no answer. Pilates can be extremely hard, it can also be easy, but in our eyes the most important thing is that you are doing your Pilates exercises in a correct way, in a way that will help prevent injuries and not cause injuries.
We also want you to workout in an effective way, we want you to get the most out of your Pilates class with the time you have. This way you can experience the general benefits for your mind body health.
Whether your goal is to build core strength or to feel more flexible, Pilates exercises are an amazing method to strengthen the body while also benefiting mental health.
However, we both each teach a class in the local Gold Coast Studio, Essence of Living. This was where we did our teacher training. Although we don’t workout there everyday like we used to, (we now prefer online), it will always be part of our Pilates and Yoga journey. PLUS we love teaching our classes once a week.
The most beneficial part of teaching in real life is that we can see students in real time. We can easily see that when we give a direction, many students interpret it differently.
Some do it perfectly in relation to their level of fitness, some are trying but have issues with form and others do it like they’d rather be at home on the couch.
We don’t mind if you’d rather be on the couch but perhaps Yin Yoga is a better option for these times (hehe).
As a Pilates instructor and also Yoga teacher, it’s our job to teach correct form and technique and to inspire motivation.
And we know, we haven’t really answered the question!
All you want to know is, is Pilates difficult?
Is Pilates harder than Yoga?
Can I do Pilates as a complete beginner?
We understand all these questions. But really what we sense with these questions is a level of fear.
Fear of not being able to do the moves.
Perhaps, a fear of the discomfort that comes with hard work?
Pilates is hard, especially when you work towards the correct form.
The longer you do Pilates, it doesn’t really get easier, you get stronger and more flexible so you find yourself progressing to the ‘next level’ and give yourself a whole set of new challenges.
And since we are talking on ‘levels’, it’s important to know that there are levels of regression and progression within each and every Pilates move.
There is always an option to better suit you in our classes, we always show these options. Whether you need to move with the less challenging option or whether you need to move to the harder option.
What makes Pilates so hard?
As we already mentioned Pilates can be easy but oh wow, it can be so hard!
When you focus on getting your form correct, this is when you might think “far out, this Pilates workout is hard!”.
It’s not about how many reps you can do, it’s not about burning calories. Pilates is about the control and stability you create while doing the movements.
The best way to explain it all, is with an example.
Let’s look at the All 4s tabletop set of Pilates movements. There are 2 ways you can do this.
See this picture below. This is Emma (Pilates instructor inside MerryBody), her extended leg is strong and long. The quad, hamstring and core and glutes are engaged here. Then imagine adding a tap and lift of that foot. Ohhh yeah, hello the good kind of burn!
But it’s not just any tap and lift!
It’s not a jolty, throw the leg around tap and lift!
It’s a controlled move, it’s precise, the core is holding strong, the arms and legs are stable. The full body is strong and stable. You see, the difficulty and effective work does not just come with the movement, it comes with the stillness and stability within a Pilates move.
Ohhh, technique really does get us excited (haha).
Common mistakes we see in this move are, floppy extended legs. This means there is way less engagement in the above muscle groups.
We also see flared ribs happening, where people look up and lose their rib to hip connection, this leads to a potential lower back injury and you’ll stop working the core muscles (boo!).
But the funny thing about all this is that this poorly performed All 4s tabletop sequence will probably feel ‘easier’ when compared to the correctly performed sequence. Easy until twangggg, oh there goes your back! Not easy anymore!
What makes Pilates different from other forms of exercise?
To give you an even further understanding of why the technique and form is important with Pilates classes, let’s go back to the very beginning.
Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates, in the early 20th century. From something he created in an internment camp during world war 1 he went on to take it to New York City! You may be familiar with the apparatus, called a reformer, this was created by Joseph Pilates! It’s a fascinating founding story, read more!
But what we want to quickly touch on is the principles that Pilates encompasses, this is what makes Pilates different.
Just like when you’re a runner, your focus might be speed, if you begin to think more about these principles during your Pilates workout you’ll not only become more confident in your practice, you’ll also experience greater benefits.
Pilates really is so much more than just exercise for the body.
It’s a way of movement that creates mind body connection.
It’s an exercise that works for you and your life. Whether you do mat Pilates, use equipment like the magic circle, do it at home, in Pilates studios or prefer to attend a community group class.
Whether you’re doing it to focus on your posture and core stabilizers or maybe you just want a fun full body workout!
If you’re ready to begin or continue your Pilates practice, sign up to one of our FREE Pilates Classes!
Get ready to move your amazing body. With our classes you’ll find yourself moving and using body weight to build both lower body and upper body strength. You’ll increase core strength. You’ll promote better posture and increase your flexibility. You’ll even work on mindset and mindfulness.
And if there is one thing we love to do, it’s to talk about technique and help our members feel empowered during their practice. We are available for all our members, there to help one on one when a particular move doesn’t feel right.
If you have any questions or want to chat more, get in touch! We are here to help.
Emma + Carla