Pilates is not only about ‘core stability’
Since completing my Stott Pilates training back in May, I have been comparing notes with other instructors, reading journal articles & blogs and listening to podcasts by expert instructors to help me develop and refine my teaching skills.
As a Chartered Physiotherapist I have been very lucky in that I’ve had the opportunity to teach here at MMCP since completing my training, which allowed me to really get stuck in straight away. Here at the clinic we teach a slightly modified form of Pilates which is more tailored to specific needs of our clients, many of whom are using our PhysioPilates method to help them manage and prevent aches and pains.
My experience and learning to date has made me aware of a few misconceptions which seem to be out there, mainly about the benefits of Pilates. I’d like to share a few with you:
I think it is important that people begin to see Pilates as a way of injury prevention and a way to follow a healthier lifestyle - not just something to turn to or to start when you have had an injury. Since completing my training, I now use plenty of Pilates exercises in session, during my clients’ rehabilitation phase, with the emphasis of not just improving strength, movement and function but also to help prevent further injuries down the line. For this reason, I do my best to encourage my clients to keep up their exercises even when they are no longer in pain.
Pilates is not just for those with lower back problems. It can help with manage aches & pains as well as movement and functional problems throughout the body. Many believe that Pilates is all about your tummy muscles, and that you should be bracing or tensing throughout. Too much tensing and ‘activating the core’ can actually impair movement and cause pain. Pilates is more about whole body integration, creating fluid movement from head to toe, not just centred on the abdominal muscles.
A well-planned Pilates class should not just focus in on one area for a full hour. When planning my sessions, I like to consider the body as a whole. So that upon finishing your hour-long session, you feel like you have exercised not only your abdominals, but also the muscles of your neck and upper back as well as arms and legs.
I also have found it useful to give my clients a variety of positions to work with. There can be some misconception that Pilates exercises are all done lying on your back and that you stay that way for the whole session. I like to bring my clients into different starting positions, whether it is on all fours, in side lying, or on their tummies. To get them moving in unfamiliar ways and positions which helps ensure their body remains adaptive and able to deal with less expected movements out there in everyday life.
Pilates should not be too difficult right away. For those who are complete beginners, or maybe have not done Pilates for a few years, it can be useful to complete a few 1 to 1 sessions with one of our instructors. We assess your movement and strength, and go through some of the basic principles of the Pilates we teach. When starting out, some may find these exercises and movements “too simple”, but it is vital to get an understanding of the foundations of each exercise before progressing on to the more challenging exercises. All of the exercises we teach can be layered to increase difficulty, but if you head straight for the harder exercise, you may lose the ‘essence’ of the movement as well as increase the risk of injury.
Pilates as an exercise method is safe and effective, done correctly with an attentive and well trained instructor, it can change your body and life.
Our next term begins on the 19th of November, with bookings opening on the 5th of November for new members. To receive an email reminder and further information about the class schedule, please call us on 01 -2834303 with your email address and we will contact you.
For more information including our current class schedule, please go to www.mmphysiopilates.com
By Katie Farrell BSc Physio, MISCP