Any time I went into the gym or to work out with a trainer, I never knew what to expect. What muscles would I work? If I went alone, would I give up on the weight room and simply resign myself to enough time on the treadmill to assuage my conscience? No, no. No more of that (if I don’t want to). If you decide to do Pilates, here’s what to expect.
You’re gonna work your core, and hard. But your whole body will work with it, so you’ll feel good all over the next day. The majority of this workout is on a cushioned mat (much thicker than a yoga mat), and most of it laying down and sitting. Sometimes we’ll have props like resistance bands, the ultra-fit circle, ankle weights, or the Pilates Arc. It depends on the day and the class. It’ll never be too terribly predictable, and we’ll always build on your strength and abilities so you do not get bored.
No, the Reformer is not some kind of torture device (well…). It is lovely. It is a cushioned carriage on a frame with a foot bar and straps for your hands or feet, and the resistance comes from a combination of springs. There are so many exercises to be done on it, and you truly will not get bored here. Again, much of your workout will be laying down or sitting until you reach more advanced levels. You’ll begin with a warm up and foot work each time. The footwork is foundational to helping you achieve strength, balance, and alignment in your lower limbs, and stability and proper alignment in your spine. It feels wonderful on your legs and feet, which take the brunt of our daily lives. We must give them love and attention, too!
In a private session we will work on varied equipment, and you will tell me what you want to work on (if you are that advanced), or how you’re feeling for the day will dictate your session. You’ll get one-on-one help building strength and flexibility, and addressing physical issues or injuries (though I am not a physical therapist, I’m more of a movement practitioner–I can move you safely). You can choose to work on the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Ladder Barrel, or the Mat, or a combination of these. It’s a real hoot!
Yes, breathing. I will quite literally be helping you learn how to breathe during each exercise. I’ll give you a basic guideline of how to breathe during exercises, but do not be put off if it’s messing you up, just breathe! Proper breathing during Pilates does come with practice, and a pretty intense amount of focus. You’ll learn that in Pilates you will breathe into your rib cage and back while maintaining core engagement (think pulling your belly button into your spine). Try it now, sit up straight in that chair you’re in (don’t lie to me, you’re totally sitting). Relax your shoulders, keep them down and back; pull your belly button in toward your spine to turn on your abs; now inhale deeply. See where it went? Straight to your ribs, didn’t it? The pattern of breath will help fuel energy into the proper part of the exercise and help you to complete it.
I will always be keeping an eye on your alignment and posture. I often cue with words first, but will probably offer you tactile guidance if you don’t respond to verbal cues. (But do tell me if it makes you feel uncomfortable, we’ll never accomplish anything if tactile cueing is so not your thing, we’ll work it out together). If you’re one of those people who carries stress in their necks, I’ll spend a lot of time in the first 10-20 sessions helping you learn to relax your jaw and your shoulders, and sending the energy into your core. If your ribs pop or you stand with a sway back, we’ll work on building strength in the proper muscles to help realign you into a neutral spine position, whether sitting or standing or laying down.
So there you have it! That’s a basic idea of what to expect all around, and some links to photos of the equipment we have at the studio.