Some frequently asked questions...
Unlike other popular fitness sessions that have more singular
physical focus such as group cycling or running, Pilates is
a mind-body discipline that combines core stabilization and
peripheral mobility training to enhance the way the body functions.
As such, Pilates is relatively complex and requires highly
trained instructors. There are more than 500 different exercises
and many of these can be performed both on mat and on specialised
pieces of equipment, which serve to modify the exercise for
the individual either making it more challenging or more manageable.
The main principle behind Pilates is that of 'stabilising
before mobilising.' This refers to strengthening the stabilising
muscles, for example the deep abdominal muscles, which support
the organs of the abdominal cavity as well as the lower spine,
whilst increasing mobility and strength in the limbs (arms
and legs). Muscles are worked both in their contracted and
elongated state, reducing the 'bulking' effect which is so
often the result of traditional exercise.
The rewards are many and will depend on the individual client's
specific issues. The beauty of Pilates is how adaptable it
is for all ages, levels of ability and both sexes. From elite
athletes to those just wishing to improve the quality of their
life by increasing mobility, the Pilates repertoire will be
modified for each client's needs.
a general guideline the benefits include:
Improved flexibility, strength, joint mobility, coordination,
balance and alignment.
The elimination of bad postural habits. The body is retrained
to work in the most efficient way possible, allowing for
greater range of motion.
Correct alignment means that the body's organs are supported
correctly and can then function to their best potential.
Stress and stress related illnesses should be reduced if
not eliminated as the exercises rely on good, controlled
breathing, which promote relaxation.
specifically, Pilates is excellent for relieving and often
eliminating, lower back, shoulder hip and knee problems as
these are so often caused by poor posture and muscle alignment.
Most people notice changes within a few weeks - many after
just a couple of sessions. A lot will depend on your body
awareness - the ability to really 'feel' the exercises in
the correct muscles. For example are your shoulders up by
your ears whilst you are driving, are you slumped forward
with your abdominal muscles completely relaxed as you are
waiting to cross the road? The ability to recognise and correct
your own posture in every day situations will come as a result
of isolating the movements and recognising your particular
issues. This will not happen overnight but with continued
monitoring in and particularly outside the studio, you will
begin to reap the benefits whether in everyday life activities
or in your chosen sports.
Due to the large repertoire and ability to modify most exercises,
Pilates can be a challenging work out though good form is
always the aim rather than performing more repetitions. As
a result, Pilates will reshape your body, concentrating on
lengthening and toning muscles as well as rebalancing the
body. However, it is not a cardio vascular work out, nor is
it a 'quick fix, ' particularly if start posture and muscle
tone is poor. To effectively lose weight, Pilates should be
combined with some form of cardio work out - swimming is ideal
as this supports the joints. Please discuss your goals with
your instructor who will be able to advise the best complementary
work out for you.
The recommendation is to start with one introductory private
session. This will last one hour and will include a discussion
on your goals, current physical condition, past injuries and
a detailed postural analysis, followed by an introduction
to the basic principles of Pilates. These focus on breathing,
spinal alignment, shoulder stability and deep abdominal connections.
This approach sets the fundamentals for all the exercises
the first session, a personal folder will be created for you,
containing all the important information to chart your progress
and keep a record of what you have learnt.
you do not want to invest in a private introductory session,
small groups (up to 8 clients) will be offered to take you
through the basic principles.
Depending on a number of factors, (cost, available time, the
client's goal) future sessions can take a number of different
forms. For example, if you are trying to overcome injury or
train for some specific activity you may require more frequent
sessions than someone who just wishes to improve their flexibility
or posture. You may wish to combine group and private sessions
or, if you have the motivation, practise at home between sessions.
Your instructor will work with you to develop a work out which
meets your objectives bearing in mind all the above factors.
It is best to wear light, comfortable clothing that is not
too loose but moves with you without restriction. This will
also help your instructor to see whether the correct position
is being maintained and assess muscular imbalance.
can be done in bare feet or in socks. Both have their advantages
and disadvantages so clients are advised to try both. Although
a water cooler is available in the studio, clients may wish
to bring a small bottle of water to sessions.