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5 Things: Your First Pilates Session

If you are curious about Pilates but want to know a little bit more about what to expect at your first class – here's a list of five concepts you will likely learn early on in your first Pilates session or group class.


  1. Find Your Deep Abs: The focus on the deep abs, aka transverse abdominis, is what makes Pilates so unique, but you need to find those abs before you can work them. These deep muscles can be hard to isolate without squeezing your bum or tucking your pelvis, which are both no-nos in Pilates.
  2. Breathing: Every exhale is a chance to engage your deep abs since they work as you force your exhale. Sounds simple but it takes a little practice. You will also learn how to inhale without tensing your shoulders, which is great for eliminating neck pain.
  3. Neutral Spine: Finding neutral spine is a key part of the Pilates repertoire. You will learn how to keep your spine in neutral alignment (keeping its natural curves) while you breathe and move. Sounds easy, but at first it can be a little like patting your head and rubbing your tummy.

To see two more skills you will learn, read more.

  1. Articulating Spine: Your spine is made up of 26 articulating vertebrae, and you will learn how to move each of those joints. This concept is the opposite of the "neutral position" and works the flexibility, opposed to the stability, of your spine.
  2. Upper Ab Position: You want to be able to lift your head without straining your neck and to find the spot to optimize your upper ab work. This sweet spot is with the tips of the shoulder blades just off the ground and neck rounded as if you are holding an orange between your chin and chest.

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