How often Should I do Pilates?

The Summary: you should do Pilates often

Joseph Pilates is quoted as saying:

“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”.

What you don’t often read is: “or your money back”.  We at Birmingham Pilates Studios have so much confidence in the Pilates Method that we offer a money back guarantee.

I always recommend that people do Pilates in the studio at least three times a week as a bare minimum.  Not only may this be impractical for many people, it may also be impossible. You can do Pilates more often by supplementing what you do in class by practising at home.

To help you, we’ve started a page of video demonstrations of Pre-Pilates exercises Link Here (link opens in this tab).  These exercises are exercises that almost anyone can do at home.  Advanced practitioners can still get a great deal from these exercises by fully applying the Principles of Pilates: breath, centring, concentration, control, flow and precision.  And here is the

The Quote from Joe Pilates

Joe (Pilates) expected students to attend three or four times a week.  He also expected people to practise Pilates at home and demanded their total concentration and adherence to his methods in the classes.  It was his way or the highway.  He was a demanding teacher.  There were no group classes where you could slack as the teacher was looking elsewhere, there were no easier variations of exercises.

This quote is often used by Pilates studio owners as a marketing strategy.  I read it all the time.  And it is not surprising that it is used – it offers a great promise.  But you won’t see that marketing strategy used on our site.  Why not?  Because there is a catch.


What’s the catch?

It all depends on the frequency of the lessons.  Imagine you are learning a language and attend class only once a week.  After thirty classes over thirty weeks, you won’t have a good grasp of the language:  reading, writing, listening and speaking all need to be mastered by practice.  The grammar and vocabulary needs to be first learned and then internalised.  The whole resource then needs to be internalised to become automatic.  Pilates is like learning the language of the body.

Pilates and anatomy


Pilates focuses on the whole body

This is not a complete exhaustive list by any means.  It serves to illustrate how much should be done in a proper Pilates class.

  • Spinal (neck, thorax, lumbar): stretching/mobility, strengthening and muscle balancing in all planes of motion
    • flexion
    • extension
    • rotation
    • lateral flexion
  • Pelvic region: stretching/stability, orientation and strength
    • in flexion and extension
  • Legs and feet: stretching/mobility, alignment and strengthening
    • hip flexors, quadriceps and halluxes (toe muscles)
    • hamstring and calf
    • knee, and ankle and foot alignment and strengthening
  • Shoulders and arms: stretching/mobility, alignment and strengthening
    • shoulder blades going forwards, backwards, up and down (adduction, abduction elevation and depression)
    • shoulder muscle group firing timing
    • shoulder blade stability
    • glenohumeral (arm & shoulder) flexion and extension
    • elbow flexion and extension
    • wrist flexion and extension

In a fifty minute lesson how many minutes will be spent on each?  And if that were the only lesson every week?  That means that you might spend only one minute consciously exploring how the different parts of your spine rotate.   Clearly not enough to have a “whole new body in thirty lessons”.

Book: Free Trial Lesson

The New “Do Pilates At Home” Page

Joseph Pilates: Ladder Barrel

Joseph Pilates: Ladder Barrel

Nonetheless, I do believe in the message that the quote communicates, but there are caveats: what is a a new body?  What are the standards by which this can be measured?  There are as many benchmarks as there are people…  Some people may need to do more work than that… others, less…  Not to mention that not everyone can afford the time or financial commitment to attend a studio three or four times a week.  The answer is to do Pilates at home together with regular studio classes.

But the amazing thing about Pilates is that it is a Method.  It’s a Method of exercise and also Method of thinking about your body and movement.  Once you understand the method, you can do Pilates in your head.  When you understand the method, you will start to think about your body in movement in a totally different way.  You’ll carry the ideas around with you and start applying them to everyday activities that have nothing, on the surface, to do with Pilates.  And this happens automatically.

We have created a resource page Link Here (link opens in this tab).   All these exercises can be done at home. It is a work in progress, there are hundreds of exercises to add.  We have started with basic Pre-Pilates exercises.  That is, exercises that anyone can do at home and perfectly demonstrate the bio-mechanical principles of Pilates.  On the surface, these exercises are easy.  Beginner exercises even.  But fully concentrate and fully immerse yourself into achieving total stability and a full range of motion, and these exercises can become very challenging.

Now you can continue with your Pilates studies at home. The exercises are in a supine position and on all fours on the video page Link Here (link opens in this tab) page and more will be added weekly.

Currently all the exercises can be done by everybody, although some may be more taxing than others. There are no explanations about how to do them, so if you have any questions, be sure to make a note and ask in class.

New exercises are added every week so be sure to check back, or even better, subscribe to out monthly(ish) newsletter with news about updates, special offers and ideas about health and movement.

As always, hope to hear from you soon 😉


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