There are many questions that come to those of us who work in the Pilates industry which I will do my best to answer. And of course if you have others, please ask!
"What is Pilates?"
First off, Pilates is awesome. That’s really all you need to know! That and it was created by Joseph Pilates during World War one. He studied Yoga movements and also those of animals to create a pulley system. Pilates named his system “Contrology” where the focus is on eight principles…
A good Pilates instructor will include all of these principles in your class even if you aren’t aware of it. That’s our jobs! With Pilates you will notice an awareness begin within your body and how it moves almost immediately. And the more you practice, the more you know what your body needs. You know when to say no to an exercise and when to ask for more. Every exercise that you do in Pilates always has you focused on working your core. You may feel that you are working just your arms, but we want that movement to come directly from your core. Therefore, you will always hear us talk about “engaging your core” and “strengthening your core”. What is the core? This is what most call, their abs.
A common question in regards to Abs.” I am doing all this work and I feel stronger, so why don’t I have a six pack?” Because Pilates exercises are designed to go deep into the abdominal walls. And having a six pack DOES NOT necessarily equal strength. Not everyone is genetically designed to show off a six pack. No matter how hard they work. Having a strong core to support the body is essential. Being able to show off that core is not. So stop beating yourself up if you don’t look like a magazine cover! They probably don’t either.
Next up! "How is Pilates different from Yoga?" This is a tough one because I see them related and both having incredible value to our daily health. I practice both religiously so let me put it in ways that I can relate. Both are very focused on breath work, concentration, flow and alignment. However, yoga is definitely designed to be more meditative and a journey to your inner self. Sometimes in yoga we tend to stretch our bodies too far, creating problems in the hips and joints. This is not the intention of yoga; it just happens as we try to push our bodies further. Yoga focus’ more on balance. They both concentrate on finding power within our cores. In Pilates we do stretch, but it is very, very controlled stretching, especially in equipment classes. (And we are getting into another question of…”isn’t Pilates just stretching?” Keep reading…) The use of straps, springs and pulley’s, plus instructor guidance, keeps clients in a controlled state. Controlled means that there is less likelihood of injury to ones joints and muscles. Pilates uses controlled movements to strengthen the small muscle’s around the joint. It can be used as a hard workout or as a gentle body stretch. While yoga can be a good strength builder, it was designed to cleanse and focus the body and align ones mental and physical states.
Another question…"Guys don’t do this, do they?" Ummm, yes! And they love it! Men in general have incredibly tight hamstrings and hips. They usually overwork their large muscle groups neglecting those smaller muscles, thus taking a chance for joint injuries and muscle tears. When men start doing Pilates, within a few sessions they can feel the difference within their bodies. Generally, they do not stop with their practice. Many professional athletes have begun to see the benefits of equipment and mat Pilates. Athletes such as Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson, Brent Burns, Josh Bidwell and so many more are finding the incredible difference a regular practice brings to their careers.
"Am I too overweight for those machines?" No. Please do not be uncomfortable or scared coming in. I assure you it is our job to take care of you and make you feel safe. It is also our job to help get you to a level of fitness where you feel great about yourself. You’re in good hands, especially at our studio. We are very, very woman friendly.
We have programs that we are trained to design for everyone. Teenagers, adults, men, women, you name it, we can most likely train you! Pilates IS for you. So why not give it a try? It might just change your life!