I just finished taking my first ever pilates class. It was a great workout and lots of fun, so figured I’d share the experience here.
I took the pilates class at Exhale Studio in Vancouver. Exhale Studio is a beautiful yoga, pilates, and dance studio located in the Yaletown neighbourhood of downtown Vancouver. My pilates instructor today was Rachel Wainwright, the owner of Exhale Studio.
It was an hour long class and we did lots of different movements, so it’s hard for me to recall in detail exactly what we did throughout the class. So I don’t intend for this blog post to be a detailed recap of the class, rather I’ll just share some of the positive experiences that I took away from my first ever pilates class.
For starters, I found the workout to be quite intense, but a completely different kind of intense than I’m used to. Most workouts I’m used to doing are an all out assault on my cardiovascular system, but the pilates workout today involved holding many different static positions that had my muscles working extremely hard to maintain the positions. That’s called isometric exercise. The muscles are flexed, but not moving. It’s also very intense. About five minutes into the pilates workout, I was already sweating quite a bit and my muscles were shaking as I was trying to hold various tough positions.
But the workout wasn’t just isometrics. We did lots of squats and reverse lunges, which are two of the all-time greatest exercises you can do for your legs. We also did lots of planks (the all-time best exercise you can do for your core), as well as some pushup variations (all-time best chest and triceps exercise) such as wide-grip fly pushups and close-grip triceps pushups. It was very cool to see so many awesome exercises that I know and love included in the pilates workout.
Besides the isometrics, and the other exercises I’ve just described, something else I really enjoyed about the workout was that there was a lot of time spent working on stretches and movements designed to increase hamstring flexibility. Hamstrings are one of the tightest muscle groups on most people, particularly those that work at desk jobs. Tight hamstrings can cause lower back pain and various other problems, so I was pleased to see so much time at the pilates workout today devoted to working on hamstring flexibility.
Towards the end of the class, the workout shifted more towards a cooldown mode, which was a very soothing and relaxing way to wrap up the class. I recall towards the end of the class we were doing a supine glute stretch, and it felt so wonderful to just lie down for a few minutes and stretch out while relaxing and listening to the calming music that was playing in the background.
So all in all, my first pilates experience was very positive and I’m looking forward to doing some more pilates workouts in the future. If you’ve never tried pilates and are looking to try something new to stay fit and active, I highly recommend you go try a class at a pilates studio in your area. If you’re in Vancouver, check out Exhale Studio for pilates as well as lots of other great classes including yoga and dance.