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Can Anyone Do Pilates?

Find out if anyone can do Pilates from Core Pilates NYC instructor Sarah Ruback in this Howcast workout video.


So, a lot of people wonder, can anyone do Pilates? Yes. Everyone can do Pilates. A lot of times people think that they have to be in shape before they come to Pilates to get into shape. But, really it doesn't matter. You want to have a starting point. You want to just come in and get it going. I used to teach this mat class at an apartment building. These guys have probably heard this story so many times before. But, there used to be this man who came. He would come in and it was like he had never been in class before, and it was really odd to me. And I thought, is he listening to me, I don't understand. Because I would tell him to do The Hundred, which is one of the foundation exercises of Pilates, and he would look at me like he didn't know what I was talking about. So, I thought, he keeps coming, so he must be getting something out of this. Okay. Every time he came in, after six months, I treated him like it was the first time because you want to be encouraging. You don't want people to feel like they can't do it. So, even though kind of, in the back of my head I thought I don't really know what's going on, but he keeps showing up, so he thinks he can do it. Until month six, the week after, he comes into class and all of a sudden he's sitting up so super straight and tall. And his body just changed. And whether he was really paying attention to it or not, or coming in to the class as a first time person every time or not, the system just works. And it worked on his body and it got his spine straight where he could just sit up tall. And I remember I stopped the whole class and I said, Oh my god. You're sitting up tall. That's amazing. Do you realize it? Do you feel a difference? And he did feel the difference. Maybe he didn't know why there was a difference, but he made the commitment and he kept coming, and the system just works somehow. It's a little bit of magic So, yes, Pilates is for everybody but that doesn't mean everyone does Pilates the same way. The way Madeline might do Pilates today might be different than say, someone just starting on the mat or if you are, have a certain body condition. But, in no way is age something or gender something that limits you to certain exercises or other exercises. There are more and more men coming to Pilates. More and more athletes coming to Pilates for its benefit of stretching and to provide an alternative to the workouts that they do. I had a client who came to Pilates, her first time was in her later 60's, and she had been with us for 10 years. And this woman, at 75 years old, could do a teaser that rivaled my own. She was truly magnificent. And her posture, you see it in people with this posture. The term little old lady, absolutely not. She was fierce and she really thought it was Pilates. And that was great to hear as a teacher, but I know for her it was how she approached her work. And there were things she couldn't do because she did have some medical issues, but she wasn't discouraged by it. She just sorta learned to accept her body to find out what worked in her body, and then it integrated in a really authentic way that made her really blossom. And so I think that's the best you can hope for in Pilates and it's really there. And it's really important to come to Pilates with an open mind and not expect that if you're very strong or flexible in some other practice, that Pilates will come easily to you or that everything will instantly look like you're an advanced Pilates practitioner. Often times, with men or dancers who, dancers are used to being able to have larger ranges of motion and they're very flexible. And they come to Pilates and they realize it isn't all about stretching up as high as you can. It's about using your core to challenge yourself and then building upon that. And also, with men, people think, okay, I'm already strong. A lot of guys will come into our studio and you'll see them, they're working through it as if it's the first time they've ever done this kind of ab workout because it's totally different than what you're doing at the gym. And it's important that you keep an open mind and really listen to what your instructors are telling you. Because there's a special way of thinking about your abdominals and your core as you're doing Pilates. That's what makes it accessible to everybody, if you really pay attention and build from the beginning and all the way through advanced.

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