What you don't know about Pilates
by Rachel Miller, PT, DPT
Pilates was originally called Contrology
Developed by Joseph Pilates, he named his exercise method after one of the most important Pilates principles, control. You truly have to think about what you are doing. We all use our easiest to find, strongest muscles by default and the only way to change that pattern is to consciously do something different. This will create better balance in your body.
The Pilates equipment is meant to be the starting place
It can look intimidating, but the reformer and other Pilates equipment is actually designed to ASSIST you. For example, think about double leg lower, which is a core exercise where you lay on your back with legs straight up in the air and lower them down and lift them back up. This is a hard exercise, and often is not done correctly. On the Pilates equipment, the legs are supported by putting the feet in straps which are connected to springs. This makes it easier to hold the legs up and also provides resistance as you lower the legs. This provides eccentric strengthening (which means strengthening into a position of stretch) which will help with flexibility. The mat exercises are often more challenging and are meant to supplement the equipment.
Pilates is for a wide variety of ages and ability levels
Our clients range from 12-90 years old in the studio. The equipment is extremely adaptable - we can change support, resistance, and range of motion. What I love most about the equipment is that there is always a choice. For example, footwork on reformer. This exercise is usually performed lying on your back. But it can also be modified to sitting on the arc or sidelying. Choosing a heavier spring tension will make the focus leg/lower body strength. But a lighter spring will focus on deep core and hamstrings. In Pilates, heavier is not always harder- it depends on your body. Most of the exercises have modifications to make it easier and progressions to make it harder. This is why it is a perfect fit when used as part of Physical Therapy. It is also great for ongoing fitness and is a fabulous addition for cross training, which is why many professional athletes practice Pilates regularly.
To experience the benefits of Pilates- increased strength, flexibility, body awareness, posture and so much more, you need to try it for yourself. The Pilates PT offers private and semi-private training and small group equipment classes, specialty classes and a weekly live virtual mat class- plus we have a Pilates PT on demand video library. The best place to start if it is new to you? Our Pilates intro package! As Joseph Pilates says, “In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference. In 20 sessions, you’ll see the difference. And in 30 sessions, you’ll have a whole new body.”
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