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30 Day Guide to a Beginner Pilates Exercise Program

Interested in Pilates? Here's How to Get Started - Fast


Updated May 16, 2014

Woman Exercising Pilates
Elisabeth Lhomelet/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
A few well-designed movements properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortions.
quote from Joseph Pilates

This beginner Pilates exercise program is designed to help you build a strong foundation in the Pilates method. It is based on the classical Pilates exercises as developed by Joseph Pilates.

The next 30 days could very well transform your life. You will learn not just what to do, but how to move with the Pilates principles of centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow that make Pilates a body/mind fitness experience.

The links in the program below will take you to detailed exercise instructions that include modifications, but it is important that you learn to modify exercises appropriately for yourself, and progress at you own pace. The weekly schedules below are guides only. It is also highly recommended that you support your home practice with Pilates classes.

Ready? Let's go!

What you need:
The Pilates method begins with your body and a mat on the floor. That's it. If you don't have a mat, start with a padded surface, but do consider getting a Pilates mat.

Day One
1) Bookmark this page. You will need refer back to it throughout your program.

2) Begin with the Pilates Fundamentals Set
These easy exercises are crucial to building good form in Pilates exercises. It is in doing Pilates exercises with good form that you will receive the most benefits from Pilates.

3) Do the Pilates Beginners Routine
This routine is going to launch you right in to building core strength and flexibility.

4) Sign up for the free e-course, Essential Pilates in 7 Days
This is a very important step. Pilates is about how you do the exercises and there are many techniques in this e-course that will help you get the most out of your Pilates workouts.

Congratulations on your first day of Pilates! You can do Pilates every day, but it is quite reasonable to expect good results from scheduling Pilates 3 to 4 times per week.
Let's move on to your week one and beyond plan:

Week 1 (days 2 through 7)
1) Read the lessons and do the exercises in your Essential Pilates e-course

2) Continue your Pilates Fundamentals training.

3) Continue the Pilates Beginners Routine

Week 2
1) Warm up with the fundamentals. Add these exercises:
pelvic curl
cat/cow back stretch
arms reach and pull

2) Move on to the First 10 Classic Pilates Exercises + the side kick series
(If the Beginner Exercise Routine continues to challenge you, stick with it until you are ready to move on.)

Week 3
1) Warm up with the fundamentals and additional exercises chosen from the warm up list.

2) Do the first 10 exercises listed in the Classic Pilates Exercises.
Add to that:
swan prep
side kick series
leg pull front
pilates push up
*note that links to these exercises can be found at the bottom of the first 10 classic exercises.

Week 4
1) Warm up with the fundamentals and additional exercises chosen from the warm up list.

2) Do first 10 classic exercises and add:
single straight leg stretch
double leg lower lift
criss cross
swan with neck roll
side kick series
teaser with one leg
leg pull front
pilates push up
*note that links to these exercises can be found at the bottom of the first 10 classic exercises.

Bravo! Now it's time to stretch yourself even further: The All New Body Pilates Workout e-course gives you a new Pilates workout every week along with supportive articles.
Sign up for the All New Body E-course.

You might also want to explore 30 day quick start guides from other About.com fitness sites.

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