So you’ve decided on Mat Pilates as your first class to attend at Aleenta Health Club. WOOHOO!!! We can’t wait to have you in-studio 😍 A great choice for beginners or those returning to fitness, Mat Pilates is also perfect for anyone with rehabilitative goals for injuries, exercising during pregnancy, or chronic conditions such as back pain. If you are looking to gain strength but are tentative about heavy lifting, this class is a fantastic alternative as you’ll be working mostly with your own bodyweight. While it does use equipment, this class does not involve a Reformer machine, so is also great for Pilates beginners wanting to learn the basics without the added complexity of the machine.
It is not only important to know what this class is about, but also what to wear to it. Like most fitness styles, Pilates follows a general guide for what you should wear. Obviously, you have full agency to wear whatever you like, however, the following recommendations will ensure you get the most out of your workout!
What to Wear to Mat Pilates Class
1. Comfortable, breathable clothing
We want you to feel your best when attending class. So, if skin-tight clothing isn’t for you, don’t stress! As long as your clothing is breathable (because even in a low-impact, low-intensity class like Pilates, you can still work up a sweat!) and feels good to wear, it is appropriate for class. If you prefer T-shirts over crop tops, or baggy gym shorts over spandex, you can absolutely wear these to class. A fabric that dries fast is ideal, unless you want to leave class a little stickier than the rest! 😂 Cotton, nylon and polyester (just to name a few) will be your best friends here.
2. Form-fitting clothes to allow for ease of movement
While comfort is key, we don’t recommend wearing anything too baggy for a few reasons, the main one being that it can get in the way when you’re moving in an exercise. If you’re wearing a super-baggy oversized tee and do any sort of upside-down work like spinal roll-downs, forward folds or pikes (downward facing dog), you’ll quickly find your shirt falling off your back and into your face! We want you to be able to focus on your instructor and the movement you’re doing, rather than swatting clothes out of your face. Similarly, you probably want to avoid any skirts or dresses unless they are specifically designed for exercise (these often have built-in shorts anyway!). Finally, when your clothing is form-fitting, it is easier for instructors to give you corrections as they can see your body better. Often times, a very tiny change in alignment is all that is needed to get you working correctly, but if it is hard to see how your body is aligned, it makes it more difficult to notice and change.
3. Socks with grips - leave your shoes at the door!
For almost every class at Aleenta Health Club, you can ditch your shoes and let your feet be free! This is because the additional support sneakers provide is not needed in low-impact exercise where we aren’t jumping or sending much force through your joints. Additionally, sneakers can actually prevent you from finding full dexterity in your feet which can be beneficial in a class like Pilates where working on the balls of your feet is common. Grippy socks are a must in our classes, they’re hygienic and provide a little more security on your mat! Don’t fret if you rock-up to your first class with them, we have plenty available for purchase in-studio.
However, we know that all bodies are different and sometimes you need to wear shoes for support, especially when injuries are at play. Never hesitate to talk to your instructor if you really need to wear shoes during class.
4. You may want to tie back your hair
Now this is completely up to you, but we recommend tying your hair back or wearing a headband/hat if your hair is on the shorter side, as having hair in your face during class can be distracting. Not only that, but if you’ve ever worked up a sweat with hair in your face, you’ll know the stinging pain of getting sweat in your eyes! It’s not fun, and we don’t recommend it.
What to Avoid in a Mat Pilates Class
There’s few things that you absolutely cannot wear in class, but we recommend removing excessive jewelry and avoiding clothing that may hurt you when moving. Small earrings and rings are fine, but larger, heavier jewelry could fall out or hit you when moving, so it’s best to take it off before class starts. You will likely find necklaces flying in your face when upside-down, similar to the oversized tee, so it’s best to remove those too!
You might be wondering, ‘what clothing could possibly hurt me in Pilates?!’ but you would be surprised! Mat Pilates involves a lot of movement lying on your back or your stomach, so if you are wearing something with large zippers, buttons or decorations, these can dig into your body when lying down. It’s totally fine to wear them, but it could be wise to make a judgment call after your first class if you find things poking and prodding you as you move. Finally, if you have regular socks and are thinking ‘this will be fine, I don’t need grippy socks!’... take off the socks. There’s a reason grippy socks were invented, and that’s because regular socks are incredibly slippery on studio floors and mats. For your safety, if you come to class in regular socks, your instructor will tell you to take them off and purchase a pair of grippy socks.
Attending your first Mat Pilates class can be an exciting experience, and it's important to know what clothing to wear to ensure you get the most out of your workout. By following these guidelines, you'll be able to focus on your instructor and the movements, and have a successful and safe Mat Pilates experience. We can’t wait to see you on the mat soon!
Want to be fully prepared for your first class? Check out our guide.
Need tips on getting back into exercise after a break? Read our list!