So, what is Pilates?
Pilates is not a new fad form of exercise, in fact it has been in existence since the 1920’s and has long been a recommended form of exercise for those with reduced mobility and strength. It can be very helpful for people in pain and also preventing injuries/pain.
Pilates encourages us to use focus and concentration whilst moving our bodies through a range of precise motions. Our classes are not only focused on working the main “moving” muscles in our body, but place an extra focus on all the smaller muscles which help stabilise our body to maximise controlled movement.
Our Therapist-led Pilates classes are 45 min to 1 hour in duration and so we combine our muscle strengthening exercises with relaxing stretches and mobility exercises to tick all boxes. We do so without over exertion and in a balanced and safe manner. By concentrating on our breathing, movement and the natural rhythm of our bodies, Pilates encourages us to pay more attention and quickly realise our natural abilities.
Is Pilates right for you?
Pilates is perfect for those who may not have a high level of fitness and is also extremely beneficial for those who are at elite level fitness. In short, Pilates can be practised by anyone who has the desire to improve their physical and mental well-being. We particularly recommend Pilates for those who are pre or post-pregnancy.
Pilates can improve your:
Pilates, I thought that just involves core exercises, no?
We’re going to go into a little more detail today discussing our core. In the 90s, it was thought our core muscles were the key to everything; they were over-emphasised and over-publicised for a couple of decades – some health professionals still over-emphasise this area, however we take a more modern approach. First, let’s look at our core muscles.
What is our core anyway?
No, it is not just your 6-pack muscles! Traditionally, your core muscles were thought to be 4 muscle groups that help stabilise the spine – these are your:
- Deep abdominal muscle (Transverse Abdominis)
- Deep lower back muscles (Multifidus)
- Pelvic floor muscles
- Breathing muscle (Diaphragm)
It was thought the activation & strength/stability of these muscles was of utmost importance to stabilise the spine & pelvis and to avoid any unwanted movements relating to instability. Although these muscles play an important role in controlling our movement, we don’t need to over-emphasise their use. Excessively contracting these muscles when we don’t need to can actually increase stiffness and even cause pain!
During our Pilates classes we will:
- Educate you on the role of each of these muscle groups
- Ensure you have awareness of the contraction and relaxation of these muscles, including your pelvic floor muscles (which will help pre/post pregnancy and even with any incontinence issues)
- Teach you the body awareness to know what positions your lower back & hips are in
- Explain to you and show you that a strong core isn’t just about increasing the strength of these muscles, but being able to coordinate these muscle groups with all of your other muscles for controlled movement
That is the key. Your core isn’t about being able to hold a stiffened position for a long time (like the world record 8 hour plank), it is about being able to coordinate and control the movement of your spine and pelvis, using many muscles. These are the modern methods we use in our Pilates classes.
How our classes will benefit you:
- Body Awareness – we will not just tell you to copy our movements but we will teach you how to be aware of your body positions, your muscle activation and control of your movements.
- Coordination – We will ensure your movement is fully controlled to optimise your coordination which will help improve any tasks you carry out, day-to-day or in sport.
- Stability – We focus a lot on working our smaller stabilising muscles. These include not only the 4 core muscle groups, but many more. These muscles can often become dormant and we frequently see them weakened when testing in our clinic.
- Flexibility/Mobility – Our classes also put a focus on flexibility/mobility. As our classes are 1 hour in duration, we include stretching exercises throughout the class to help relaxation and maximise the movement of all our joints.
- Strength – Like all Pilates classes we will focus on the strength of all of our muscles. We will give progressions of exercises so everyone can challenge themselves to their own level.
- Balance – This is a very important component of physical fitness, especially as we get older. We spend time on balance exercises during every class to help you take control of your body when you feel unbalanced.
What makes are classes unique?
- THERAPST-LED All our Pilates classes are Therapist-led, so you can be re-assured you are in safe & knowledgeable hands. We also try to have our classes as interactive as possible and invite any questions (such as “am I doing this right?” and “what is this supposed to be doing?”)
- PRE-PARTICIPATION SCREENING As much as possible, we try to have a 10-15 minute consultation/screening before participants join our class. This is especially important for first-timers and people who have injuries/pain
- TAILORED EXERCISE We will tailor exercises for people who are either in pain or who are having difficulty performing the movement. We can also make exercises more challenging for those who want to up things!
- HYBRID Our classes aren’t just your standard Pilates classes. As mentioned in a previous email, we include many stretching exercises throughout the class. We also work your upper body muscles more than your traditional Pilates classes.
What our class attendees have to say:
“I have benefited greatly from joining a Pilates class with Steven in APC – my flexibility, core strength, balance and tone are some of the improvements I am very pleased about.”
“Most of all this is a weekly session that we greatly enjoy with Steven who is very professional and excellent at what he does.”
“I joined the Pilates class in September after finding it difficult to find physio led classes in the area.
“No two classes are the same which is great motivation and most importantly very enjoyable.”
“I felt at ease from the get go with the initial assessment and advice received from Steven.”
“I felt the benefits immediately and enjoyed getting slowly back into exercise following my pregnancy.”
“Steven is very professional and approachable; he is excellent at what he does and will tailor any exercise around your individual needs.”
“Ladies, I highly recommend joining these classes and those pelvic floor muscles we’ve all heard so much about will thank you!!”
These reviews sum up quite a large proportion of the class experience. Our class attendees often say our classes are their favourite part of the week and they always really miss if they have a break or go on holidays!
People say they find it improves their concentration and reduces their weekly stress levels too. But don’t just believe what we say, try it out yourself and reap the rewards.