Are you a Pilates addict? Make sure you're not making these mistakes in class — they're more common than you'd think! We got the scoop from Brianna Hamilton at Evolve Integrated Wellness and Pilates, who notices clients (from newbies to regulars) doing these six things. Fortunately, there are easy solutions to each mistake.
1. Wearing Jewelry and Accessories
Believe it or not, it's not uncommon to see both clients and instructors alike wearing dangly jewelry. "They like to look cute and trendy, so they'll throw on a long necklace, hoop earrings, or a scarf, but all of these can cause some serious issues," said Hamilton. This can actually be very dangerous! "For clients, all of the above can catch onto the equipment!" she said. "No one wants to break their new long necklace or get caught to the equipment and injure themselves."
If you're a Pilates instructor, while you want to look nice for your class, consider those moments when you're "bending down to change the client's springs or helping adjust [the client's] position," because "your jewelry or accessories can also get caught to the equipment or tickle your clients." Awkward!
Solution: Go jewelry-free.
2. Not Dressing Appropriately
While baggy clothes might be comfy when you're sweating, they can actually work against you in Pilates. "Your instructor needs to be able to see your position and posture in order to ensure that you are preforming all of the positions correctly," said Hamilton. Your baggy clothes also have more of a chance of getting caught on the reformer. That said, "you also do not want booty shorts and crop tops since there is a lot of movement during your Pilates class," she said.
Solution: Wear a formfitting tank with cropped or long leggings.
3. Not Wearing Grip Socks
Not all studios require grip socks, but Hamilton urges you to wear them anyway. "Always wear toe socks!" she said. "I see a lot of clients without toe socks, but everyone should be wearing them; they help you stay in control if you lose your grip, plus they complete your outfit!" If you've ever had an instance of sweaty feet on a slick reformer, you know how true this is!
Solution: Always pack a pair of grippy socks.
4. Wearing Perfume (or Scented Body Lotion)
"While everyone likes to smell good, less is more when you sweat," said Hamilton. "When you work out and sweat, your scent spreads throughout the entire room — and not everyone enjoys the new Chloe perfume . . ."
Solution: Wear deodorant, and skip the body spray.
5. Eating a Huge Meal Beforehand
Considering Chipotle before hitting the reformer? Maybe don't. "Think about what you're eating before a Pilates class! Carb loading is not recommended," she said. "No one feels great going into an inversion position if they just ate a burrito."
Solution: Eat a light meal and finish eating 30 to 60 minutes before class.
6. Gripping the Handles and Straps Too Hard
When your muscles are on fire and you feel like you can't possibly get one more rep in, you might find yourself "death-gripping your hand straps," as Hamilton puts it. "This will give you carpal tunnel," she said. "A light grip is all you need." So don't cling for dear life, and focus that energy on your muscles, not your hands.
Solution: Relax, take a deep breath, and be mindful of your grip.