So here we go; why do Pilates? Is Pilates like Yoga? Is it just for Women? Why should climbers do Pilates? These pretty much sum up the types of question I get asked on a regular basis about Pilates.
Lets start from the beginning, what is it? Pilates is a type of physical activity which aims to strengthen the body in an even, systematic way, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing. Pilates exercises are done on a mat, using body weight, or using special equipment, such as the Reformer. With its system ofpulleys and springs, handles and straps, the apparatus can provide either resistance or support, depending on your needs and goals.
Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates (A MAN!) Who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. His method was influenced by western forms of exercise, including gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling, so there you have it.
So that gives you a little insight into what the word means. It’s a functional way of exercising through a pattern of movements to strengthen the core, back, shoulders and every other body part you have. After your first class you’ll feel it in places you never knew existed!
As for “is it like Yoga?” Well, it can be very different, but is similar in certain aspects. Pilates is based upon strength training methods, so the format focuses on repetitions of exercises using either equipment or your own body weight. It's a mind, body experience and breath control is an essential element, but with a less spiritual focus.Whilst there is lots of focus on flexibility, the key goal is postural awareness, endurance and movement control.
So it’s definitely NOT just for women. It was designed by a bulky German guy to rehab soliders injured in WW2. All of the people I train discover things about their posture, body-type, strengths and weaknesses.
This brings me nicely on to why Climbers should be incorporating Pilates into their weekly training programme. Climbers need body tension, shoulder and scapula stability, hip flexibility and control, and upper back mobility. In an hour long Pilates group class you will learn a range of exercises to enhance and strengthen your climbing practice, so no more monkey posture.
Lets finish with why some people perceive Pilates to be ‘only’ a moderate form of exercise. Well, in a nutshell it isn't a high-intensity, strenuous form of physical activity because the whole principle of pilates is designed around precise strengthening and rehabilitation of the body, control and quality of movement. It is used worldwide by athletes, particularly gymnasts and dancers, and has an excellent reputation with those struggling with low back pain.
There’s no thrashing around with dumbbells until you pass out, no flailing burpees until you’re purple, but if you want better posture, strength and precise body control then you should give it a go. The results will speak for themselves.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you in class at Redpoint fitness soon!