Did you know that Pilates is great for building core strength? What about that it improves your posture? Did you know thatPilates is good for all levels and every age? Yep, yep and yep. This is all anyone ever talks about, so if you’re ever heard the word Pilates, you undoubtedly already know that stuff. Important, yes, but not really mind-blowing information in this day and age. Keep reading to learn some new things about the amazing Pilates method.
Did you know that Pilates makes you smarter?
It’s like a visit to the Holiday Inn! (just kidding, it’s not at all like that) The way your neuromuscular system has to work during Pilates in order to balance the string of important cues – move like this, breathe like that, hold this position and then engage that muscle – practicing Pilates is like doing crossword puzzles for your body. The brain has to manage so many signals at the same time that it actually improves brain function. It clears out excess thought, worry and anxiety and allows you to focus on the present only. The neuro signals take a direct path to their destination and voila – your body and body connect and it begins moving the way it’s supposed to! Bonus – your head feels clear after!
Pilates fights osteoporosis.
You don’t have to lift and move a bunch of heavy things to build bone density. Pilates performed on the equipment, i.e. Reformers, Cadillacs, and Chairs, oh my , is loaded with spring resistance, which is equivalent to lifting weights as far as bone density is concerned. The main difference is that you won’t tear any muscle fibers as you would with weight lifting. Tearing is good if you’re looking to build and bulk, but Pilates creates long, pliable muscles that ward off injury, rebalance the body and create alignment of the joints. That may not sound super sexy, but injury-free living is pretty outstanding. If you have a strong, lean body that can carry itself without pain or worry, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Pilates compliments CrossFit.
There’s nothing I like to see more than a competitive athlete practicing Pilates. I was an inexperienced teacher at the time when I worked with a NBA player. I was putting him through the hardest workout I could conjure when he taught me something invaluable. He said, “I’m not here for a beating. I get that at practice.”
In an instant, it was completely clear where I had gone wrong. This guy wasn’t coming to me for the hardest workout on the planet – he was coming to me for balance. And it was in this instance that I realized the beauty of Pilates. For some, it’s an athletic conditioning dream, but for most, it’s about the balance – the balance of the muscles between stretch and strength, the re-alignment of the body, the freedom of movement and the time to re-energize.
So when you read about these Crossfit athletes training 20 hours per week for the Crossfit Games, think about the amount of time they must spend recovering their tired muscles? Crossfit athletes, meet Pilates. The system of whole body active recovery allows these beast-like humans to lift insane weights at an insane pace without injury. Now, apply that same logic to… Every. Other. Sport.
Pilates strengthens all 13 Major Muscles Groups in every workout.
Of more than 600 muscles in our entire body, there are 13 major muscle groups:
- Erector Spinae
- Gastrocnemius & Soleus
- Gluteus Maximus
- Latissiumus Dorsi & Rhomboids
Because Pilates is a well rounded and full body workout every time, you’re working each and every one of these muscles groups every time you practice Pilates. And, as a bonus, the abdominals are comprised of 28 smaller muscles that all get a workout too These little guys assist with some basics like breathing, coughing, child birth, singing, urination, and more. While we can’t promise that Pilates will make you a better vocalist, you’ll definitely notice the physical improvements through postural changes, flexibility and mobility.
The magic happens on the Equipment, not on the Mat.
Most people start with Mat Pilates. It’s more affordable, it’s portable and there are gazillions of YouTube workouts available for free. However, in all my years teaching hundreds of bodies, I would estimate that 10% or less of the population was doing it correctly. Think of it this way – would you workout for 55 minutes if only 15 minutes of it was useful? I wouldn’t either.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do Mat Pilates. Quite the contrary, in fact. I recommend all newbies (and everyone in general) start on Pilates equipment so their body can be taught proper alignment and correct muscle activation so that they CAN do Mat Pilates. The absence of control, stability and strength are what cause people to think mat pilates is easy and/or hurt their back during the workout. Ps. You are very, very wrong if you think mat Pilates is easy.
If you listen, you’ll hear about tons of bad first impressions with Mat Pilates. But, you’ll hear a different story when the equipment is involved. That’s because the Equipment is absolutely amazing at isolation. Once your body is strong and you’re working the right muscles at the right time, you’re ready for Mat Pilates. But, you’re got to do it all for optimal results because all of the equipment has a purpose. Dust off those rings, grab those weighted toning balls and put them to use. I can say with certainty that if you practice Pilates twice per week (and use Equipment) you will change your body … and your life. We actually offer a money-back guarantee after 90 days if you don’t see results. The method works. Just make sure you’re practicing the entire method – not just mat.
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