How Pilates Works

pilates teaserI always like to ask people who’ve never done Pilates before what their opinion is of it.  Often the response is ‘relaxing and stretch based exercises’ or ‘a bit like yoga’.  I find the perception of this technique fascinating and quite random from one person to another.

Ultimately it’s down to the Pilates teacher, their personal style and the tutor they studied with.  I have been fortunate to study under Michael King who’s reputation in the fitness and Pilates world is renowned.

The style of Pilates I teach is true to it’s original form and here I explain the techniques behind creator, Joseph Pilates discipline.

Typically a Pilates session is either 45 minutes to an hour.  There are 34 original mat based (floor) exercises that can be combined to create new movements or sequences.

The exercises are grouped into 3 categories;

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Mobility

Depending on the aim of the session will determine what exercises are used.  For example, when I’m teaching a session to workers from an office environment, I tend to include exercises that use the extensor chain muscle groups, like the back, rear shoulder, glutes and hamstrings.  Most of the time these muscles need to be strengthened to correct any postural issues along with dynamic stretches to encourage lengthening of the muscles.

Likewise if I’m taking a pre-natal session, the focus will be centred around stability, core and pelvic floor strengthening.  Post natal will be very much the same with added spinal mobility.

Pilates may look easy but the movements require precision and control with a real emphasis on technique.  There are 6 principles Joseph Pilates reinforced during his teachings;

  • Concentration ~ By focusing on your mind-body awareness, the better connection you establish with your body.
  • Centering ~ Being aware of your core connection (the Pilates powerhouse), you will assist all the other muscles function and develop more efficiently.
  • Control ~ Is crucial to performing the exercises correctly. All movements should be performed with precision, to gain the maximum benefits.
  • Breathing ~ Controlling your breath as you perform each exercise encourages good form and technique.
  • Precision ~ Practice, practice, practice.  It’s the only way to improve and create confidence.
  • Flow ~ Each exercise should be graceful and flow from one to the other.

 

What can I expect from a Pilates session?

Quite a good workout!  Especially your core muscles and connecting ones.  You should definitely feel like you’ve had a workout, in particular the centre of your body as this muscle is required to be engaged most of the session.

Imagine if you went to the gym and worked your biceps for a whole hour, you’re going to feel some muscle soreness the next day.  Well that’s similar to what you’re doing in Pilates.  Be mindful this achey feeling is normal and nothing to be concerned about, it should disappear within a day or two.

The benefits of using the Pilates technique are;

  • Improved posture and alignment
  • Reduced lower back pain
  • Greater mobility
  • Increased flexibility

You will notice subtle changes quite quickly once you start practicing the exercises and for me personally, it’s the foundation to every activity I do.  The system of movements enable’s you to look and feel your best.  I highly recommend everyone to give Pilates a try at least once.

 

You can try this amazing technique at

New Dimensions Fitness Studio

Alternatively, you can try my 30 Day Pilates Challenge below