How to Know If You’re Doing Pilates Right

Pilates is a unique balance of strength, stretch, reach, contract and flow.  Pilates exercises are easy to make look “right.” I like to think its because Pilates is designed to make everything you are already doing in life better. So, the moves are not crazy (well ok some look bit crazy) they are natural movements our bodies should be able to do.

  • Author: Lesley Logan
  • January 18, 2018
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how to know if youre doing pilates right thegem blog - Online Pilates Classes

Pilates is a unique balance of strength, stretch, reach, contract and flow.  Pilates exercises are easy to make look “right.” I like to think its because Pilates is designed to make everything you are already doing in life better. So, the moves are not crazy (well ok some look bit crazy) they are natural movements our bodies should be able to do.

Like most workouts and group classes it’s easy to go into the room and do the choreography. But, unlike most workouts when you do Pilates exercises to look correct or to look like the person next to you there is a strong chance you are not feeling it in the right places.

So, if the exercises look right how do you know if you are doing them correctly? What are some ways to ensure you are doing Pilates correctly?

First, let me say that if it feels easy or it doesn’t make sense you are probably missing the concept of the exercise or some muscular connection. That doesn’t mean that if everything you are doing in Pilates is super hard, your muscles are burning and you are sweating that you are doing it right. But, that every exercise is part of a workout and should feel like you are working.

Second, not every exercise is good for everybody. There are 500+ exercises in Pilates. Some will be ideal for you and others will not be. Or, you may need to build your way up to those exercises.

Here are some tips for navigating your way through your own Pilates practice

  1. Connect: If you are on your mat pay attention to what body parts are touching that mat. Without bearing down how can you use the mat to support or assist you with the exercise? As you rolled up did you touch the mat the whole way up or skip a few spots along the way? When you are on the Reformer or any other piece of equipment with springs how can you tell the springs the rate to close? As you move through your exercises are you partnering up with the equipment or fighting it? Pilates is not just about connecting to your muscles but also connecting to the apparatus to support you and challenge you.
  2. Ask Questions: My Youtube channel has loads of “how-to” videos as well as practice tip videos. If you’ve been trying to “get” an exercise and just can’t seem to find it in your body check out my playlists for the mini version on how to do it. Then if you have questions use the comments space to connect with me.
  3. Practice Regularly: my online mat classes here and Pilates Anytime are amazing resources for maintaining your Pilates practice. One way to know if you’re doing Pilates correctly is to keep doing it. If the beginning exercises get tougher then you are on the right track. If they seem to be getting easier you are missing something. Use LLOGAN for 30-day free trial to Pilates Anytime and register here for $5/ week mat classes with me.
  4. Private Session: I get that having regular Private Pilates sessions is not always possible. But, at least one here and there to supplement the online, group or home practice you are doing is essential. To find an instructor near you check out my tips here. Or, contact me for an online Private session via Skype or Facetime.
  5. Trust and Consistency: Pilates is a practice. I repeat, Pilates is a practice. It’s not a Perfect. If you continue to show up regularly for your Pilates it will tell you if you are doing it right.

If you find yourself in a mat class or taking a class online at home and you are wondering if you are doing it right just remember that the person next to you might not be doing it perfectly. And, as I mentioned above it is not about being perfect. Rather, it’s about being connected to your own body, to your equipment. And, something you’ll discover in your Pilates journey is that the feeling in each exercise is quite personal to you. Your fingers and toes might not be doing the choreography perfectly but you can still be doing the exercise right.

Challenge your Pilates practice with me this week! Register for my weekly class and feel the mat beneath your body.

Pilates is a Practice. Remind yourself that whenever you wonder “Am I doing this right?”

xx~LL

By Lesley Logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

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2 comments

  1. I recently started doing mat Pilates with Pilates cards that I got from Amazon. I’m a beginner, and prefer to workouts on my own. Finding this information gave me confirmation that I’m doing it right even though sometimes my hips would move slightly out of the alignment.

    Since Pilates is slow, can you still reap the benefits of it even if your doing at a slow paced manner?

    1. Hey Patricia, when you’re learning Pilates the pace might be slow. But, its important that you don’t move too slow. Those little muscles that we use to do Pilates don’t have as much endurance as our bigger dominant muscles. So, as you can pick up the pace and try to remain in control. I have an intro series and weekly all level classes that can help you see the pace you want to work with on onlinepilatesclasses.com. This is a great question! xx

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SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

CRAB SPECIAL

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

I've had a lot of questions about the Crab on the Mat and I think there are a lot of fears around it. I believe you can Crab sooner than you think! On the Mat, the focus is about the Crab which comes at the end of the order, so let see how everything we do is to prep for it. On the Reformer, there's so much we can strengthen and practice so that you can do the Crab. Let's make a Crab Special!

Mat - Magic Circle. If you don't have one, you can use a ball or theraband or an old pair of leggings

Reformer - no props needed

See ya in class,

xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Magic Circle (ball, theraband or old pair of leggings) and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    An OPC favorite theme is back! This week's class is prop free and all about focusing on your breath. Focus on when you're holding your breath so we can explore why. And as best you can inhale and exhale as you move so that the breath can help you rock, roll, reach and stretch!

    Joseph Pilates was BIG ON BREATHING! I won't make you pull out your breathisizer but I do want you to fill those lungs up!

    See ya in class,

    xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    HIPPY KI-YAY, MAT & REFORMER

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    To find the work, we’ll use a hip band and mix some reformer exercises into the mat workout and some mat exercises into the reformer workout. We’ll work on finding connections to our hips while loosening them up and making them stronger.

    Mat Props: hip band, light weights, and something to prop the hips up.
    Reformer Props: hip band and your typical reformer pieces

    See you in class,

    Rachel

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, hip band, light weights and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, hip band and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

      ANCHORS AWEIGH!

      Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

      Anchors Aweigh is often misspelled as Anchors Away! Did you know this? And did you know this - The expression anchors aweigh means all the anchors are clear of the sea bottom, and the ship begins its voyage. So, I actually thought I was being clever when I changed it to Anchors Aweigh because I want to use the 1 lb weights as a prop. Also, I want to use this theme to bring focus and clarity during each exercise about what's not moving vs. what is moving. And really keeping what’s not supposed to move as still and stable as can be. May be harder than you think to do, so let’s have fun with it! Think of it as a game.

      Mat prop: 1 lb weights (water bottles or soup cans as substitutions ) + pole (dowel/broomstick/swiffer as substitutions)
      Reformer prop: 1 lb weights (water bottles or soup cans as substitutions ) + pole (dowel/broomstick/swiffer as substitutions)

      See you in class,

      Christine

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 lb weights, pole and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, 1 lb weights, pole and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

      LOOK MA, NO HANDS!

      Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

      We’re going to focus on the muscles that help us get up/down to a chair, toilet, in/out of a car, and to the ground without the use of our hands to help.

      As we age, we can lose strength, flexibility, mobility in these leg and core muscles which results in us using our arms and hands to get up and down.

      Let’s keep these bodies as young as we can by practicing getting up and down with only our legs, our center, and our strong back.

      Reformer: No props needed
      Cadillac/Tower: Reformer box
      Mat: Theraband
      Chair: No props needed

      See ya in class,

      xx-LL 💋

      THE BIG 4-6

      ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

      It's Mindi's BDAY month y'all and she is turning the Big 4 6!!! Oh yeah, which means that we are going to be doing either 4 reps of an exercise or 6!!! Alternating between the two means you get to explore what it feels like to have more reps or less reps to play with an exercise.

      Mat class - have your magic circle ready!

      See ya in class,

      xx-LL 💋

      Wish I was a Baller

      Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

      In this class we will use the small ball in a variety of ways to find more connection in each exercise. Finding your upper back, Thass and inner thighs to name a few. We have added a few variations and a little creativity to make this class fun and challenging. Hopefully in the end you will feel like a baller!

      Mindi

      MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, small ball and a mat!

      >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

      REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, small ball, sitting box and a reformer!

      >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.