What is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise method, designed to elongate, strengthen and restore the body to balance. It is this approach that sets Pilates apart from many other forms of exercise. Osteopaths, physiotherapists and general practitioners recommend Pilates as one of the safest forms of exercise today.
Pilates can be beneficial for just about everyone, regardless of age and fitness level. As over 10 million people worldwide recognise and benefit from the wonders of Pilates, so can you! It seems that since Pilates joined the fitness craze, we’ve all got caught up on feeling the burn and pushing through the pain. After all, no pain no gain – right? Well, there’s two problems with that. Not only might this push-through mentality make you work harder, but it might also make you gain less from all that effort you are putting into your Pilates workout.
Pilates develops long, lean muscles and strength from the inside out by working the body evenly and safely through all ranges of motion. Move through a varied sequence of low-impact exercises that’s sure to keep you from ever hitting a plateau and will always leave you feeling better than when you walked in.
Get stronger, leaner, taller and longer through a workout that’s designed to invigorate the body, improve posture, correct imbalances, and optimize suppleness whether you are an athlete, pre/post natal, a beginner, recovering from an injury or just looking to stay in shape.
Who is it suitable for?
Pilates is for everyone, but here are a few specific groups of people that pilates can help.
Pilates for Men
“Real Men Do Pilates”
Men are sometimes put off Pilates because they believe it to be “a women thing” but they couldn’t be more wrong. Pilates was developed by a man for men for a start.
If you think it is just about rolling around on the floor with the occasional stretch, performed mainly by women, think again. If you think it is easy, think again. IT IS NOT FOR SISSIES!. Pilates work both sexes equally. It is very hard to do correctly as is demanding on your entire body & mind. Precision & Concentration being two of the six Pilates Principles.
Some men come reluctant at the beginning as they have probably been pushed by their wife or partner but the majority end up loving it. Most of them are totally committed and cannot believe the benefits. They might well moan about it but they keep coming back! I now have a mens only class in my locality and I love to see them progressing with each class. If its good enough for The Irish Rugby Team and David Beckham….. The physical contribution Pilates plays in increasing the body’s form in these sports has brought many a manly man back to Pilates.
Pilates for Athletes
No matter what your sport, you can benefit by introducing Pilates to your training. Improve your flexibility, strength and balance and improve your agility and overall performance. Pilates works to improve functional movement, to speed up post match recovery and prevent injuries.
During the 2012 Olympics, so many athletes from all different disciplines told of how they included Pilates as part of their training regime. Now all the international rugby teams include Pilates in their training programs, as do the international tennis players, golfers, swimmers.., and here in Ireland many of our County football & hurling teams. It isn’t just about sorting out that lower back pain or improving your posture, although that will happen. It is about developing an all over body strength without bulking up. It is about identifying all the different areas that may be weak or less mobile and improving them. With Pilates in your weekly program, you can continue in your favorite sport a lot longer, and see how your body improves and ages far more slowly. FACT.
Pilates for Seniors
‘’ You are only as young as your spine is flexible’’
For the older population keeping fit is essential. Pilates is perhaps the best training for people going into the senior years. Maintaining your mobility and strength as you age will more likely keep you living more fully, independently and confident. While swimming and walking are great (and you should do it), Pilates works the entire body in a safe way.With its focus on controlled breathing and quality of movement-not quantity of repetitions.Many experts agree that Pilates is one of the best ways for older adults to stay healthy.
Pilates centers on movements at the “core” also known as the “powerhouse” of the body instead of the extremities (arms and legs), where, again, the potential for injury is greater. In contrast with other forms of exercise, Pilates develops the “core” and gradually works toward the extremeties, while maintaining complete control around the joints. To the benefit of older adults, Pilates teaches control and stability in a small range of motion, graduating to a larger range of motion as they gain control and confidence.
Increased control and stability is crucial for older adults as it can help them improve much of their functional movement, including balance and posture. As people get older, they can lose some of their balance and coordination. Pilates increases strength and flexibility in both the core and the legs, which positively affects balance.
Pre/Post Natal Pilates
WHY PRENATAL PILATES ?
As your body progresses through pregnancy, it causes your body to lean forward due to your baby bump, putting a lot of pressure on the back. And that’s where Pilates can help! We will be focusing on the Pelvic Floor, Glutes and legs which will aid in your speedy recovery but also help during your labour. Pilates will also help to strengthen your upper body to support your beautiful growing baby bump. Prenatal Pilates is a nine month program to help your body and mind through the biggest physical and emotional challenge that it will ever go through with a safe and gentle workout that never overworks the rectus abdominis.
Firstly it’s very important to have a full MOT with your GP and women’s health Physiotherapist. It’s important to start slowly. It will take some time to get back to pre-pregnancy condition and fatigue maybe a factor, so you must be careful not to overdo it.
- Avoid prone position ( lying on the stomach) if breastfeeding as breasts maybe painful
- Exercises should be very gentle and focus on Pelvic Floor and restoring strength and stability.
- Diastasis Recti may occur in pregnancy (a separation of the abdominal muscles above the naval at the midline) so it is important to avoid over working the abdominal muscles.
- Focus on reactivation of Pelvic Floor. Not everything always goes to plan in labour and some labours can be harder on the body than others and maybe suffering some of the effects of given birth like weak Pelvic Floor, incontinence and Pelvic Girdle pain.
My class is safe , gentle and suitable for ladies who have being signed off by their GP and Physiotherapist.
MUM & BABY CLASS
You can bring your Newborn to class until the are 8 months old. They can take a little nap or play and gurgle away as you get some exercise in and enjoy some much deserved self care time .
CLASSES WILL DEPEND ON DEMAND
One to one Pilates sessions can be tailored to focus on specific medical conditions such as back pain, a sports injury or are pregnant or post pregnancy. A Pilates one to one class can provide a more thorough understanding of the Pilates exercise form.
Pilates instructors can work in conjunction with an osteopath, physiotherapist or GP. Your Pilates instructors will create a personal program that should complement any ongoing medical treatment. If you are undergoing any medical treatment, contact your medical advisor prior to joining a class and inform the instructor.
It is possible to join an existing group class following a 1-2-1 private pilates session. Private sessions last an hour and are €50 for individuals (1-2-1), or duet (2-2-1) sessions for €60
Six Pilates Principles:
Control, Centre, Concentration, Precision, Flow, Breath
Joseph Pilates discovery was years before his time. His vision can be summarized in six words: the Six Pilates Principles. If applied to your Pilates practice, they will guide you toward results and actual enjoyment of the exercises.– You can enjoy Pilates!
CONTROL – Keep your mind active and in control at all times. Staying in control of how your body chooses to perform a certain movement, and being able to continuously adjust it as you move, will not only help keep you safe from strain and injuries but will also keep you on track toward the goals of each exercise and the intention you’ve set for the workout.
CENTERING – Initiate the movement from your center, your core. Pilates integrates the body by focusing on activating and connecting the strongest parts of the body first – YOUR CORE, or what we know in Pilates as your “POWERHOUSE”. For example, Pilates does not address arm weakness with the thought “isolate the bisceps and strengthen them with curls”. Pilates approaches arm weakness and all other body imbalances with the conviction that you must first strengthen your powerhouse. From here you work your body with integrated movement, connecting all the weaker body parts to your strong core. The whole body as a result becomes stronger.
CONCENTRATION –You must be present and focused on what your body is doing. Pilates demands intense focus: “You have to concentrate on what you’re doing all the time, and you must concentrate on your entire body for smooth movements.” This is not easy but the way that exercises are done is more important than the exercises themselves the center or Powerhouse.
PRECISION – Be aware of how you execute each exercise and where you are moving from. Pay attention to your form. Often times that voice in the back of your head telling you to stop is an indication that something is wrong or doesn’t feel right.
When that happens, check your alignment and modify the exercise as needed so that you can effectively maintain your form throughout all of the repetitions. If needed, pause, reset and restart. Proper form will ease the load on your joints and guarantee that the right muscles are working.
BREATH – In order to keep the lower abdominals close to the spine Pilates breathing is described as Lateral Diaphragmatic Breathing. Coordinate each portion of the exercise with an inhale, breathing laterally into the ribs and a complete exhale, ridding the body of stale air & toxins. Key to this is proper full inhalation and complete exhalation. “Pilates saw forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation.” He advised people to squeeze out the lungs, as they would wring a wet towel dry.
FLOW – Flow ties it all together. Although there is control and precision, movement is meant to be free – fluid, graceful and effortless.
By using these principles, Pilates becomes – relaxation for the mind & fitness for the body.