Pilates. Pilates. Pilates. I do Pilates almost everyday. I’ve noticed such a change in myself from practicing, and the more I learn about Pilates the better it gets. Here are some weird facts and helpful hints about the strong and wonderful world of Pilates.
- Pilates, was originally called Contrology, and like the name implies it was all about how to control your body with your breath in order to improve it.
- Pilates was originally taught very fast. If you want to see how fast check out this video here. Joseph Pilates created Contrology in Germany, and when he moved to New York City he taught dancers and athletes, people who were used to daily physical activity. Nowadays, Pilates is taught much slower with emphasis on alignment.
- It’s easy to cheat, especially if you do it fast. This is something that any Pilates instructor (like this one in Australia) will tell you. In Pilates it’s pretty easy to look like you’re doing an exercise without actively engaging your core. This means in order to get the full effect from a Pilates class we must focus on our cores, and keeping the belly pulled in.
- It’s all about your form. Many students have more pain in their necks than in their abdomens after their first Pilates class. Once again, this is about form. When curling up we tend to curl up with our necks instead of letting our heads follow in the movement of our core. Check your neck next time you’re in a Pilates class, if you put your hands behind your head and push your head back into your hands you will not be able to cheat. Then you will really feel your core working during the curl up.
- Your body will know if you cheat. I notice that sometimes when I do Teaser I have pain in my hip groin afterwards. This is because sometimes I cheat (yes, even me) and over use my hip groin instead of using my core. What I do to relieve this is constantly tell myself, and my students, to scoop the belly into the spine, or to keep the belly away from the thighs. This way in the Teaser pose I work so much harder in my lower abdominals and there is no pain in my hip.
- Get a six pack—yes, it’s true. Pilates can definitely help you get a six pack, because so much of the focus is on engaging the core—it strengthens and defines all of our muscles that form our six packs. When I first started with Pilates I was doing it everyday for at least an hour and within a month I had a six pack. This surprised and delighted me.
- Improve your sex life. Like any exercise, Pilates can increase you energy and get you ready to go. Also having a strong core will help in the bedroom—it’s impressing and will help with agility. More about Pilates and sex here.