Ready to learn Pilates?

This page highlights the basic information and movement principles that a Pilates beginner will want to become familiar with. By the time you finish reading this article, and exploring some of its links, you will have a sense of what Pilates is, and a good idea about how to begin. Then, you’ll be ready to move on to beginner exercises.

What is Pilates?
You may have heard a lot about Pilates.It is one of the fastest growing trends in fitness. You may even have come to the conclusion that you should do Pilates. But before you jump into Pilates exercises, you might want to take a moment to gain a little insight into what Pilates is (and isn’t), and what makes it unique.
The first decision you will want to make about your Pilates training is how you are going to learn Pilates. Will you begin with a private lesson, a group class, or go it alone?

It’s time to think about moving on to beginner Pilates exercises. But before you do, listed below are are a few basics about the Pilates approach to movement that will help you get the most out of Pilates exercises.
Pilates Principles
Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath and Flow

These terms refer to the basic principles we apply to Pilates movement. Pilates exercises are done as whole body/mind events. Working with the Pilates Principles helps us bring our full attention to the moves that we do. This attention accelerates their effectiveness, and enables the body to learn more from each exercise than it would if the exercise were done mindlessly.
Suggested Reading:
The Six Pilates Principles.

Basic Pilates Moves
There are a few basics related to how you use your abdominal muscles, how to position the pelvis and spine, and how to increase your range of motion that are used repeatedly in Pilates exercises. If you understand what you are going for with these moves, you will have a solid foundation for getting maximum benefit from your Pilates workout.

Pilates Fundamentals Set
How to Pull in Your Abdominals
Finding Neutral Spine
Finding Your C-curve
Lateral Breathing
Adjust Pilates for You
Pilates really is a beginner friendly fitness system. Indeed, the adaptability of Pilates exercises for different body types and fitness levels is one of its primary benefits. Virtually all Pilates exercises can be modified to meet differing needs. A good instructor, in person, as an author, or on video will give you ideas for making modifications to the exercises they teach.
Pilates Exercise Modification and Safety Tips




The act of lengthening the tailbone away from the head, lengthening the lumbar spine and engages butt and hamstrings.

Scooping is a necessary concept for learning how to properly articulate the spine and strengthen core muscles. Since each individual has a unique structure and different strengths and weaknesses, it seems most useful to train the body to work with both a neutral pelvis and scoop since the use of both movement and stabilization are key in Pilates training and teaching the body functional movement patterns.

The Benefit of Learning to Scoop

The ability to articulate into a scoop lengthens low back muscles and strengthens the core, providing the opportunity for a flexible spine able to move freely in flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral bending. A good scoop facilitates the ability to articulate the spine from the tailbone through the sacrum, to waistline, moving the pelvis into a posterior tilt. Scooping lengthens the tailbone away from the head, opening the spine while changing the curves of the back. When the lumbar spine moves into flexion, the neck should complement the curve. Both ends of the body pull away from center.



If you have had a Pilates class – one term that you have probably heard is spinal articulation. Spinal articulation simply means that each vertebrae is moving separately.

The human spinal column is made up of individual vertebrae that are constructed in such a way that each one can articulate, or move against, the ones above and below it.

In Pilates we want to encourage this mobility of the spine and allow our
vertebrae to move independently of one another. For example, in a Roll Up you want to peel your spine off the mat in such a way that each vertebrae is separating from the one below it and curling over, starting with the cervical or neck vertebra and moving sequentially down to the lumbar spine, or low back.

When you are curling down to the mat, you want to initiate the movement from the pelvis and slowly uncurl each vertebrae starting with the low back ending with the neck.