Generally there are two forms of Pilates exercises. There are mat-based exercises and equipment-bases Pilates exercises. In Pilates, quality of exercises is key.
Exercises should be performed through a slow sustained series of movements using abdominal control and proper breathing.
There are many books and videos available to the consumer but it is important to seek instruction from a qualified Pilates teacher to get the best results.
Mat-based Pilates exercises are generally the most popular form of Pilates. This is a series of exercises that are performed on the floor using gravity and your bodies own weight to provide resistance.
The general aim of mat-based Pilates is to condition the deeper supporting muscles of the body and to improve the posture, balance and coordination.
Equipment-based Pilates is for the more serious Pilates practitioner. This form of Pilates includes specific equipment and some forms of equipment based
Pilates also include free weights such as dumbbells, which offer resistance to the muscles. But equipment can be costly and if not properly used could actually hinder the body in muscle building and toning.
It is important that equipment is used properly, therefore most people who practice equipment-based Pilates do so under a proper Pilates trainer.
Though Pilates is very low-impact, it is important to understand the general precautions before beginning a Pilates regimen.
Certain people should seek medical advice before embarking on a new program. Women who are pregnant should certainly ask a doctor before doing any form of Pilates.
Also, people over 40, people with pre-existing medical conditions, musculoskeletal injuries or those who are overweight or obese.