Pilates (Pil-LAH-tez) is a total body workout which focuses on the core; back, abdomen and pelvic floor muscles. These are the key muscle groups which protect our spine and provide basic strength and power for everything that our bodies do. Pilates done regularly and properly can restore the natural curves of the spine, improve strength, flexibility and overall fitness, agility and alignment of the body.
Pilates is all about method. It follows a systematic series of exercises, blending the tranquility and contemplative fluid nature of Eastern Yoga or martial art with the strength training practices of western exercise. “The main principles of Pilates are concentration, control, precision and natural flowing movement. The result is a series of long, smooth, almost dance like motions, which when performed properly creates a stronger back, a flatter stomach and more energy.” (Joseph Pilates, 1945 re-released 1998 Pilates return to life through Contrology).
Pilates covers a broad range of exercises. It can start at a post-rehab level and advance to training competitive athletes. Classes and private training follow a form, function and flow progression or Pilates 1, 2, 3. It’s suppose to be simple!
THERAPEUTIC Pilates 0.5: Level 1 Pilates or Form can be stepped back, making it suitable for those participating in a physical rehabilitation program or those with chronic injury. Therapeutic Pilates eliminates excessive forward bending. It works on establishing: a) neutral posture of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spines, b) core stability and strength, c) hip flexor and hamstring flexibility along with d) micro-movements of the neck, shoulders, hips and pelvis to gently restore mobility. Most often, private training is recommended prior to joining this class.
PRIVATE training: integrates the Pilates method with Yin yoga and TRX suspension training techniques to develop a safe and effective program customized to your needs. Private training again follows Form, Function and Flow formatting. Classic Pilates mat training is intensified with small props; toning bands and balls, Pilates ring, stability ball and foam roller.
FORM Pilates 1:This class enables you to develop proper form upon which the rest of the Pilates work is developed. Form introduces the five basic principles of Pilates (see September postings) including breath, alignment, and anatomy or landmarks. It helps you build a foundation of exercises and understanding to enable you to move on to the rest of the Pilates repertoire. You will develop longer, leaner muscles, establish core strength and stability, and heightened mind body awareness. This mat-based class is relaxing, yet effective done at a gentle pace. A lot of information is covered to ensure that participants understand how it feels to do the exercises properly and get results. Often participants new to Pilates say “I felt like I really didn’t do anything” or “some of the exercises hurt my neck”. This class steps you through a safe progression to strengthen weak muscles, release tight and over-used ones and improve spinal mobility. It is recommended to start here if you are new to Pilates, new to fitness or have been referred by your health care provider.
FUNCTION Pilates 2: Often participants find a restriction in their body which can hold them back from advancing through the Pilate’s exercises. Building on techniques learned in Form, the Function class steps you through the process of how to achieve fluid mobility of the spine along with proper core strength and flexibility to progress into the intermediate and advanced exercises. Function class stretches and tones all muscles groups while working at a faster pace for a more intense full-body workout. This class will vary from session to session to include foam rollers, fitness circles, resistance rings, toning balls and bands.
FLOW Pilates 3:Flow classes fuses STOTT PILATES® technique with other Pilates styles to include intermediate to advanced exercise sequences, flowing from one exercise to the next. Classes use STOTT PILATES® as a strong technical base but are unique and personalized depending on the group’s needs. It is best suited for those with a Pilates background who are looking for more of a challenge. Props are used throughout for added interest and intensity. It is 30- 45 minutes in length as it is conducted at a faster pace with less explanation. Flow is a well balanced, total body, strength and flexibility work-out which develops better speed and agility. This class has a higher cardiovascular benefit.