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  • Jo Everill-Taylor

5 Common Pilates Mistakes You Could Be Making and How to Fix Them

So, you're all set to empower yourself with Pilates – but you have some doubts about what you do in class and whether you're actually doing it all the right way!

Well, worry not, we can help you to embrace correct technique, refine your movements, and deepen your practice.

Your journey to mastering Pilates starts with correcting these foundational mistakes, paving the way for transformative progress and optimal results.

Let's explore some prevalent mistakes and how to correct them to optimise your Pilates practice and get the results you are looking for.

Mistake 1: Poor Alignment and Posture



Ensure proper alignment by maintaining a neutral spine throughout exercises. Engage the core muscles, draw shoulders away from ears, and keep the pelvis in a stable position to support the spine.

Your instructor will give you what we call "Set Up" instructions.

Focus on these to ensure you are correctly aligned at the beginning of each exercise- don't worry if this take a little while to get- it becomes quicker and easier as you learn the exercises and your body gets used to them.

For example, when you're lying on your side, ensure your hips are stacked.

Mistake 2: Overarching or Flat Back


Avoid excessive arching or flattening of the spine. Find the middle ground by engaging the abdominal muscles to maintain a natural curvature of the spine, neither excessively arched nor flattened. You may hear this called "neutral spine"

Sometimes when you are lying on your back and lift the feet from the floor, for example in "Table Top" you may need to gently imprint more of your back into the mat to feel stable and help maintain good posture and control.

Again, your instructor will remind you to do this if needed.

The key thing to remember is not to go to either extreme!

Mistake 3: Breath Holding



This is a really common one!

Often when you're concentrating hard, you tend to hold your breath!

Practice rhythmic breathing throughout exercises.

Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale fully through the mouth, syncing breath with movement to enhance control and relaxation.

Don't worry if it sometimes ends up as the opposite pattern to what your instructor is cueing. You will improve your control over times and then be able to enhance your movements with a better breath flow.

Mistake 4: Lack of Mindfulness in Movement

Focus on the quality of movement rather than quantity.

Slow down, pay attention to each motion, and concentrate on engaging the targeted muscles for optimal effectiveness.

Your Pilates session is your time to focus on what your body needs and you should allow yourself time to concentrate on this and not try and rush through!

Mistake 5: Overworking or Underworking Muscles

Maintain a balance between effort and relaxation.

Avoid over-tensing muscles or straining, instead, focus on controlled movements and engage only the necessary muscles for each exercise.

A common one here is over-using your neck muscles rather than your abdominals.

If you feel undue strain, then stop, take a pause and re-set.

Mastering Pilates involves understanding and rectifying these common mistakes that can hinder progress.

Embrace a learning mindset, understanding that mastery comes with consistent practice and refinement.

By focusing on alignment, mindful movement, and attentive breathing, you can elevate your Pilates practice, unlocking its full potential for strength, flexibility, and overall well-being.

And hopefully you'll have some fun along the way!

Remember we can help support you with all of this whether it is in a face to face class, live-streamed online class, On-demand with our Video Vault or by using one of our Instant Access Digital Courses.

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