Complementary Concepts: The Spinning Program and Pilates
may think that the Spinning program and Pilates share no common ground.
Well, you just may be in for a surprise. These disciplines share many
significant and meaningful concepts, including the mind/body
connection, core stability, breathing, and alignment and form.
is an important philosophy in both the Spinning program and Pilates. It
comes in the form of visualization, body awareness and thought process.
Visualization doesn’t necessarily mean the trees on the road or the
blue oceans we ride past. Instead, it is based on physical form—how the
body is working and how each body movement is engaging a particular
muscle or muscle group. Postural alignment patterns, muscle use and
development, and human body movement are directed and coordinated by
the activity of our nervous system. Therefore, in order to change our
movement patterns, we must change our neurological activity, or our
thinking. As the mind directs these movements, the participant becomes
more aware of physical performance and the connection with the working
body parts. As we gain a higher level of awareness and connection with
our body, we will be able to perform more efficiently, have better
control over the intended and needed muscles, and therefore realize our
Core stability is
the key to nearly every functional and athletic activity we engage in.
This remains true for the Spinning program and Pilates. As we better
stabilize and strengthen the core, we can better control the power
and movement of our extremities. In Spinning classes, this results in
more powerful pedal strokes and more efficient use of energy. The more
efficient we are in the use of our energy systems, the better we are at
oxygen utilization and at achieving higher heart rate ranges (and
therefore anaerobic thresholds). Pilates strengthens the muscles
of the core while simultaneously improving your posture and
increasing overall flexibility. As your posture and flexibility
improve, so do your stamina, strength and endurance.
while thought to be a natural and automatic task, yields more results,
plays a huge role in performance and provides benefits well beyond
baseline oxygen intake when we actively focus on it. Proper breathing
techniques, in both Pilates and Spinning classes, relax tension in our
bodies and allow for better exchange of oxygen. On the inhale,
breathing supplies much needed oxygen to the working muscles during our
ride. The equally-important exhale eliminates carbon dioxide and other
toxins from our body while making room for more oxygen. Thus it is easy
to see that with proper breathing, the body can function for a longer
period of time at a higher level of activity. Proper breathing
techniques enhance our performance, minimize stress and keep our minds
Alignment of our bodies and our form
while on a Spinner® bike will significantly enhance our performance
while riding. In Pilates, alignment is crucial to the proper execution
of the exercises and helps promote uniform development. Much like
Pilates, Spinning dictates that we perform each movement with the
proper form while maintaining body alignment. Hips, legs, upper body,
spine and neck must all be correctly aligned to promote the necessary
flow of energy, power of movement and proper uniform muscle development.
the similarities in the principles and philosophies of the Spinning
program and Pilates is the first step towards understanding how these
disciples complement each other in a well-rounded exercise program.
David Curry is a STAR 3 Spinning instructor and a certified Pilates teacher. Contact him at [email protected].