8 Rules Before You Take a Pilates Class

Woman doing pilates with instructor
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Every exercise system has its internal code. These rules aren’t typically posted, but simply “known” to the regular students who observe the code and even embrace the invisible rules with a certain righteousness. Pilates is no exception to this conduct and if you want to attend your first class without drawing attention to yourself as a newcomer, here is a list of 8 things you need to know.  Abiding by this informal code should allow you to glide through classes un-noticed.

Which means you can grab the spotlight for what really matters – your hard work.

1. No Sneakers Allowed

Pilates is done barefoot or in socks according to your studio’s policy. Be prepared to work in bare feet or at least in clean socks, but you will be required to leave your sneakers at the door.

2. Wear the Right Pants

There are a few concerns here. First, you  will be on your back. A lot. Your pants should fit well and not fly all around with excess fabric. Second, you will be seated. A lot. Make sure your waistband is high enough to stay put and not slip down below your ….hips. Finally, zippers, buckles, snaps and studs are strictly forbidden as they pose a danger to the expensive equipment. Go for smooth and simple and you’ll look like a pro.

3. Your ponytail matters

As stated above, you’ll be on your back. A lot. Your hair needs to be high enough to be fully out of the way, or low enough to not be a bother.

Anything in between means you’ll have to keep stopping and adjusting. Fix your hair at the best height in advance of class to avoid it being a nuisance.

4. Skip the Lotion

Occasionally in Pilates we need to grab our legs, or hands or press firmly into our mats or props. A well-lotioned epidermis can be deadly or at the least, counter-productive.

A good grip will serve you well so leave the moisturizers for your post-workout shower.

5. Choose a full-coverage top

Remember when I said you’d be on your back? Well you’ll also be on your stomach. Any tops that are too loose or revealing will have you fumbling through a bevy of awkward moments. Choose something fitted and supportive with ample coverage.

6. Breath Hygiene is a Must

Pilates people breathe! You will be asked to exhale. Over and over. Sometimes with a teacher hovering very close by. I’m not saying skip your morning coffee – but grab a quick brush or a mouthwash rinse before you arrive.

7. Jewelry will get you Dirty Looks

Reformers run Pilates studios about $4000 on average. Upholstered Mats about $1300.  Repairing the equipment is costly and time-consuming.  Even a simple quality roll up Pilates mat is costly to replace.  With all that flipping around from back to front and back again – jewelry is a bother and a hazard to the equipment you occupy. Leave it at home or ditch it before your begin.

8. Silence your Phone. Completely.

There’s nothing that screams “I’m new” more than a squawking cell phone.  Pilates classes typically have no music so your ringtone or buzzing will be a huge disruption. Shut the thing off and save yourself the embarrassment of a stern look from your teacher or exasperated gasps from your classmates. Pilates etiquette dictates no phones.

Observing these simple guidelines will ensure you blend in with the regulars but will also guarantee you the best possible experience in your first class and everyone after. 

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