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Beginner Pilates: A Step-by-Step Guide for Your First Pilates Session

Are you considering trying Pilates? Starting anything new can be scary but we are here to show you step-by-step what you can expect  from your first Pilates session as a beginner. Pilates is a very beginner-friendly workout if you are starting under the supervision of a certified teacher. At our Louisville Pilates studio, we teach the classical Pilates method which is a complete system of movement designed to strengthen your whole body while working stability, stamina, and stretch. This famous strength-training workout uses spring-driven apparatus to strengthen and condition your entire body.

Step-by-Step Guide to Your First Beginner Pilates Lesson to Help Ease Your Mind

1. The Best Type of a Pilates Session for a Beginner

If you are a beginner looking to start your Pilates practice you might be wondering “What type of session should I take?” When searching for “beginner Pilates near Louisville” you will be presented with plenty of choices from private Pilates sessions, to Reformer classes, mat classes and even at-home online programs. Where should you start? 

At our studio we firmly believe that private Pilates is the absolutely best way to start your Pilates practice regardless whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced athlete. Private sessions give you an opportunity to work on your specific health goals and get the most out of your training program. These private sessions are what makes Pilates such an incredible beginner-friendly form of exercise that is both safe and effective. Each lesson will be personalized to give you a strong foundation, help you gain new skills, and work towards your goals. You will get familiar with the essential apparatus setup instructions so that you can further transition into duet or small group Pilates sessions. 

2. Everyone Is a Beginner When They Start Pilates

No matter your fitness level, beginner Pilates is where it all starts. From athletes to fitness newbies, we all start with the foundational beginner system. The beginner system Pilates exercises will become the building blocks for intermediate and advanced exercises.

Once you book your first Pilates lesson, you should receive an intake form and liability waiver through our Wellness Living Software and you are given your own personal account. The in-take form helps your trainer understand your past and current physical activity, pertinent health information, injuries, and your goals. 

When you arrive at the studio, your teacher will go through the in-take form together with you to discuss your goals and how to curate a program specifically designed just for you.

3. Your First Experience with the Pilates Apparatus

The classical Pilates system takes you through a series of beginner Pilates exercises utilizing different types of Pilates apparatus. You can expect  to work your entire body, learn a lot about your body and experience a workout like nothing you have ever tried before. Here is the structure of the beginner Pilates session for all first-time clients at our studio.:

  1. To begin your lesson, your trainer places you on a stable surface either on the classical raised mats or the Cadillac to work strength and stability with the mat exercises
  2. As your teacher gains information through your movements, you will then move over to the reformer and begin to work through the beginner system. 
  3. After you complete exercises on the mat and the reformer, your trainer will take all the information gathered assessing your strengths, asymmetries, and where you need to strengthen to decide where to take you to address these needs. These are your individual needs. Here are a few examples of individual needs part of your session:
    • If you need strength and stability, you might end up on the highchair to find muscles in a hurry. 
    • The small barrel addresses mobility of the powerhouse and spine working through strength. 
  4. To end, we make sure you are standing tall with either an alignment check on the wall or the arm weight series to work with shifting gravity while building strength in the upper body. 

Everything is explained thoroughly in your lesson: when to change the spring setting, the choreography, how many repetitions, and how you get on and off the apparatus. The beginner exercises are not easy; they are effective and safe for everyone. You will sweat and get a challenging workout.

At the end of each workout, your trainer will update your personal account with SOAP notes so that you will always be able to see your progress and what needs to be worked on.

4.  Individual Program that Is All About YOU

Say goodbye to the image of a personal trainer yelling at clients to drop and give them 20. Nor will your teacher run across the floor and give you high fives as you do fifteen more reps! Classical Pilates is not that kind of training. 

You are encouraged to ask questions and speak up if something doesn’t feel good. This is your workout, and you work in sync with your trainer to make sure your program is designed with your goals to get the results you want. This ongoing collaboration with your teacher is what makes Pilates a perfect beginner-friendly workout. During each session we encourage you to listen to your body and communicate with your teacher so that you can get the most effective workout that is tailored to you.

 5. What to Wear to Your Beginner Pilates Session

You wear clothes that you feel comfortable moving and sweating in. During your beginner-friendly Pilates session, you elongate and stretch your body, so we encourage you to choose stretchy fabrics. Restrictive clothing like jeans, pants with zippers, or non-stretch material will hinder your workout and damage the apparatus. Most Pilates studios suggest you wear Pilates socks. We have these available for purchase.

6. What To Expect During a Beginner Classical Pilates Session

At Pilates Fit Studio, we teach the Classical Pilates method. There are certain differences between the Classical and contemporary styles of teaching Pilates. If you’ve spent any time researching or learning about Pilates, you might have heard  that classical Pilates is boring because it follows the same order or exercises in every workout. Let’s debunk this myth once and for all. 

 The Classical Pilates system is more than the mat, more than the reformer. It is a complete system of exercise that has strategic sequencing to progress each client towards an increase in strength, stability, stamina, and flexibility through stretching. A well-equipped Classical Pilates studio uses GRATZ apparatus, the original apparatus designed by Joseph Pilates himself with his original blueprints. You not only have the reformer and Cadillac, but you also have three different types of chairs: Wunda, high chair, arm chair. Three different barrels: ladder barrel, small barrel, and spine corrector. Other pieces of apparatus we use in our studio include the guillotine, the ped-o-pul, push up handles, airplane boards, the toe tensometer, the magic square, the foot corrector, sandbags, the breath-a-cizer, and the magic circle. All this apparatus combined creates a workout that aligns your bones to fire up the correct muscles. 

Classical Pilates does not follow the same workout routine, ever. That’s why you can always request something you need out of each lesson. The workout is made to leave you feeling stronger and better than when you started. It’s not about perfection. When you see Pilates superstars online doing amazing Pilates tricks, just remember that it’s beautiful to watch, but it’s not what Pilates is for. Pilates is strength training. Consistency with Pilates equals results, which help you move better and feel better so you can focus on the things that matter most in life. 

Start Your Beginner Pilates Journey and Experience Transformation in Your Body

Are you ready to start your Pilates journey and experience what classical Pilates can do for you? Book an introductory private package now to start your transformation. We can’t wait to meet you and guide you on your path to a stronger, healthier you. Get started with beginner Pilates near Louisville and discover the amazing benefits classical Pilates practice can bring to your life!

Erica Walters is a force in the Pilates industry. She is a nationally known fitness expert, instructor, trainer, and author. A multi-time entrepreneur, Walters is the Owner of Pilates Fit Studio. Her Pilates studio is Kentucky’s only Authentic Pilates Studio and teacher-certification center for Real Pilates of New York City. Erica is the author of The Better Back®, Pilates for Osteoporosis, which is based on her in-studio class format. Walters also mentors and certifies the next generation of Classical Pilates Teachers with Real Pilates of New York City.

Lauren Bruker has been a leader in the fitness scene for over a decade teaching in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin. During her career as an indoor cycling instructor, she experienced a lower back injury that helped introduce her to Pilates. She became instantly hooked. Lauren loved the one-on-one attention, the small group classes, and how Pilates helped alleviate fatigue and imbalance her body had been experiencing for years. Lauren’s teaching mission as a certified Pilates instructor at our Louisville studio is to empower people to have a deeper understanding of themselves through practicing Pilates.

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