The Most Often Asked Question - WHAT IS PILATES?
Updated: Feb 16, 2020
What is Pilates?
I must admit that this is a question that I get alot, and sadly I feel that the lack of information and confusion around the word 'PILATES' as a mode exercise either intimidates people, or makes them think it will not be a 'workout'.
From my personal experience it has been the only exercise to heal my back, make me sweat, yet feel like I have just stretch for an hour, have muscles ache the next day that I never even knew I had, and make people ask me why I have a toned flat stomach 3 weeks after giving birth!?
I have always worked out and love to 'feel the burn' and sweat in a workout... who doesn't!? BUT as the years passed I started to notice that I was sore post workout ( not in a good way), had back pain and was getting treated for my MSK issues and injuries. I thought working out was supposed to be good for me? In trying to rehabilitate my back, I was introduced to Pilates, and was so surprised to see how weak I actually was when it came to my stabilizing muscles and core strength. Here I thought I was 'strong' from working out and being a athlete, but in reality I was training my big 'outside' muscles which was having a torque effect on my spine and posture. The minute I started to strengthen my 'inner' muscles there was no turning back... I was running times I had never ran, felt a new inner strength and confidence, and most of all I was agile, functional, flexible and our of pain.
So you ask, what is Pilates? At Deep we are trained in STOTT Pilates, which is is a contemporary approach to the original exercise method pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates. Co-founders Lindsay and Moira Merrithew, along with a team of physical therapists/physiotherapists, sports medicine and fitness professionals, have spent over two decades refining the STOTT PILATES method of exercise and equipment. STOTT PILATES exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints. When you read this you might think of a 'Rehab' type of exercise class, and in some instances it is.
Question you got to ask yourself... are you in pain? Do you have bad posture or are you wanting to improve your posture? Do you have pathological conditions of the spine or other joints? The answers to these questions will guide you to your level.
1. Pain - see a physio - from here regain your functional and teach you one on one pilates preparing you for the Rehab class.
2. Never done Pilates before - 30 minute one on one to learn Fundamentals. If you have painful postures or degenerative joints you might chose to do some one on one sessions to gain awareness and confidence.
3. First Stage is Rehab. This is like Pre Beginner - above populations start here. Some stay at this stage for weeks and some move up to Beginner quickly. When you first start Pilates it takes sometime to learn body awareness, engage your deep abdominal muscles, and breath all while performing the exercises - sounds like alot I know! At the start some come away feeling overwhelmed with all the new input BUT what do you expect you are training your body to move in new ways! DO NOT GIVE UP! The benefits will outweigh the concentration and dedication as you start to feel your body change.
4. Beginner - Next stage up. Some start at this stage depending on their fitness level and how well your 30 min one on one goes. In this class we focus on gaining awareness, breath, coordination, strength and endurance in the basic pilates moves.
5. Intermediate - The Scary Stage lol - This is the class that I teach and to tell you the truth it is the stage that most think is 'difficult'. Yes it does have an element of difficulty but it is greats class! I have been teaching for 8 years and participating for 15 and I will tell you that will I engage muscles you have never felt while keeping the exercise technique to a subdued level. You will flow in and out of postures, strengthen stability strength and increase flexibility all while getting a great 'workout'. This is the stage that you have worked hard to get to! Your body will be thanking you.
You only have one vessel this lifetime, and it is so important to keep spinal and postural strength :)
Thanks for reading