How to find the best exercise class for you

Pilates classes come in all shapes and sizes, but our top tips will help you to find a class that is right for you.

With its ability to improve posture, strengthen the core and create long, lean muscles, Pilates has soared in popularity in recent years and continues to be a favourite amongst celebrities and regular gym-goers alike.

If you’re keen to try out the trend for yourself, read on to find out our top tips for choosing the right Pilates class.

Start with the basics
Pilates comes in all different shapes and sizes – from basic mat work to complex classes that use lots of different equipment, and even Pilates for pregnancy. We would always recommend starting out with a ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ Pilates performed on the floor (also known as mat Pilates) so that you can get to grips with the basic concepts of movement and breath. Once you are confident with the basics, you can then experiment with more advanced classes, such as Contemporary Studio Pilates or Reformer Pilates.

Find a good instructor

Finding an instructor that you like and whose teaching style you gel with is perhaps the most important element of choosing a Pilates class, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different classes until you get it right.

All instructors will have different approaches – from soft-spoken and gentle, to hands-on and energetic. But, whatever their teaching style, you want someone who pays attention to the class and is able to make adjustments and suggest modifications to ensure that people of all skill levels are able to get a great workout. It’s also important that your Pilates instructor is appropriately qualified, so do a bit of research to make sure that they are certified through a reputable Pilates training programme.

A great vibe

You are much more likely to stick to an exercise programme if you actually enjoy it, so take the time to find a studio and class with a great vibe. Ideally, you want somewhere with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, clean and pleasant surroundings, energetic and supportive instructors, and friendly classmates – it may take a bit of time to find the right place but, when you do, it will make all the difference to your Pilates workouts.

A thorough induction

As with any exercise, Pilates carries the risk of injury if not performed properly, or if you have any underlying problems that your instructor is unaware of. With this in mind, any good Pilates studio should carry out a thorough induction that asks you about your exercise goals as well as any conditions or injuries that they need to know about. If your gym or studio fails to do this, you should probably consider finding a new one.

Consider convenience

Last, but certainly not least, when looking for Pilates class, try to find one that fits around your current schedule and that is convenient for you to attend. Think also about the location of the studio – if you have to drive for an hour in rush hour traffic in order to get to your class, you’re much less likely to attend on a regular basis, so look for a class that is relatively close to your home or place of work.

Finding a Pilates class is a very personal decision, but hopefully our tips will help to set you on the right track, enabling you to develop your skills and enjoy the benefits of this hugely effective full-body workout.