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Wellness > Health

I Tried Pilates… For the First and Last Time

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Jefferson chapter.

I went to a Pilates class last week for the first time. My two wonderful and extremely convincing roommates asked me to try something new with them, and my FOMO told me I had to go. Anyway, I figured it couldn’t be too different from something I’m used to. I am very active: I go to the gym five days a week and also teach spin classes, but when I tell you that Pilates had me shaking and hurting more than ever, I mean it. Pilates is a combination of mobility and core exercises which are meant to enhance whole body movement while building strength. It sounds great in theory, but is harder said than done. When the class started, it was simple yoga poses and stretches; I thought to myself, “Wow, this isn’t too bad”. Oh boy, was I wrong! 

When the instructor sat with her legs at a 180-degree angle and told us to put our hands as far in front as we could, I knew I was in deep trouble. For reference, I am 5’ 9” and extremely inflexible. Like, if you asked me to touch my toes right now, I’m not sure if I could (it depends on the day). I’m positive I looked like a giraffe trying to do this movement while everyone else was a swan comparatively. It was a great stretch, but keep in mind that if you’re not flexible like me, this might be pretty hard to do. 

Next came the core exercises. Again, I would say that I have pretty good core strength and endurance, but this was on another level. This class did not have any boards, so everything was done on a yoga mat. The straight-armed plank with different leg movements had me sweating within the first 20 seconds. The instructor kept yelling, “butt down!”, and I knew that was aimed at me. Not only was my core hurting, but my hands were slipping and my wrists felt like they were on fire. Every exercise got either harder or more complicated, and multiple times I stopped to just lay on the floor and contemplate the choices that led me to that mat. Luckily, there was fun music playing in the background to make the suffering somewhat enjoyable. In any other workout, I would never use suffering as a word to describe it– on the contrary, I love moving my body in different ways. This puts in perspective how hard Pilates was for me. I commend the instructor for her dedication and physique because I could not do half of the things she did.

So, final thoughts: I think it’s great for someone who likes a good core workout and has a flexible base to start with. While I still think that everyone should prioritize stretching and moving their bodies, pilates was extremely hard for me in the state of flexibility I was in. I could see myself liking it down the line if I was physically able to do some of the movements and positions they could. Overall, if it works for you, keep doing it! It worked for Miley Cyrus, but it definitely won’t for me.

Emily Philippi

Jefferson '26

My name is Emily and I'm currently a pre-med student at Thomas Jefferson University. In my free time I love to read, work out, go on hikes, and spend time with my two cats!