Why Aren’t You Taking Pilates Classes?
By Peggy Gregor
a Pilates specialist, I am often amazed by the answers I get when I ask
the question, “Why aren’t you taking Pilates classes?” It is ironic
that the reasons people avoid participating in Pilates are the very
reasons they should be taking part in the practice.
Misconception: I could never do Pilates. I’m not flexible enough!
so you’re not flexible; but no one expects you to have picture-perfect
form during your first class. With regular practice of balanced
exercises, you’ll increase your flexibility and your form will improve.
As an added bonus, you’ll also gain more mobility in your joints,
giving you a greater range of motion.
Misconception: I have weak abs and back, so I can’t do Pilates.
years we’ve been doing crunches and other exercises that concentrate on
the big, outermost muscles of the abs and back. The big back and
abdominal muscles get stronger, while the smaller ones that support our
bodies continue to be ignored.
produces a muscle imbalance, which may be causing you some discomfort
in the back and can easily be linked to weakness in the abdominal area.
Pilates exercises can actually help you strengthen your abdominals and
back by focusing on those smaller, internal muscles.
Misconception: I tried Pilates once, and got nothing out of it.
is not a magic potion. Just like any other form of exercise, you must
do it consistently to see results. After time, you’ll start to feel
subtle changes in the way your body functions. Remember that your
muscles have memory. Give them a chance to learn and you will be
Misconception: I’ll just buy a Pilates video and do it.
are a great way to supplement your current Pilates practices, but are
in no way as beneficial as having a certified Pilates instructor
personally guiding you through the exercises.
a Pilates class, you’ll get hands-on guidance that videos cannot
deliver. You’ll learn how to correctly position your body and how to
move safely through the movements. More importantly, a certified
instructor can teach you specific modifications that will personally
help you attain your individual goals.
you are going to use a Pilates video at home, watch it a few times
before doing the exercises to get an idea of the routine. It will be
nearly impossible to perform the exercises properly if you’re craning
your head and neck to view the TV.
Misconception: I do yoga, so why should I do Pilates? There is no difference.
and yoga are actually very different practices. Generally speaking, the
biggest difference is that they focus on different systems in the body.
Pilates exercises strengthen your muscular-skeletal systems, and yoga
strengthens tendons and ligaments.
Misconception: I need special equipment for Pilates.
all of the Pilates exercises were originally developed on several
different pieces of equipment, many of the exercises can be easily done
on a mat. You will get a different workout on the mat than you will on
the reformer, even though you may be performing the same exercise.
some cases, equipment can assist your muscles in learning a movement so
that your body can eventually do it on the mat without assistance. On
the other hand, the equipment can provide a more challenging workout
for some by adding some resistance and providing an unstable base on
which to perform.
working on Pilates equipment, it is highly recommended that you do so
under the strict supervision of a certified Pilates instructor.
Misconception: I need to get into shape before I do Pilates.
people aren’t aware that Joseph Pilates administered many of his
exercises to ambulatory patients and people with physical limitations
to help them become stronger and more mobile. Pilates provides a great
amount of strength to the core or powerhouse. With a strong core, you
can more easily (and safely) gain strength in the extremities.
Traditional exercise modes will not prepare you any more for your
may be a great mode of movement for those newer to exercise because of
its focus on alignment, body awareness and the ability to work at one’s
own pace by using modifications.
new to Pilates may greatly benefit by beginning their practice on the
equipment, such as the reformer or chair. Pilates equipment can provide
assistance in engaging the correct muscle group and also can give them
feedback on whether an exercise is being performed correctly that
cannot be achieved on the mat.