The fundamental principles of Pilates

Concentration
· Paying attention to what you’re doing, trying not to get distracted.
· The starting position is equally as important as the execution of the movement.
· Each part of your body is equally important.
· You have to concentrate on what you are doing. All the time.

Control
· You must be in control of every aspect of every movement.
· Every Pilates movement is done with accuracy and complete muscular control.

Centering
· The centre is the focal point of the Pilates Method.
· It runs right round the body from the front to the back, from just below your rib cage right down to your pelvic floor.
· Control of the centre must be achieved before extra movements of the arms and legs are added.
· The centre is the deep abdominal cylinder of muscles that provide crucial support to your spine and pelvis.

Flowing Movement
· When the movements are done smoothly, with a flowing quality, there is greater control.

Precision
· Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.

Breathing
· Helps calm the mind and body.
· Gives you better focus and flowing quality to the movement.
 

Posture


Posture is the arrangement of body parts in a state of balance that protects the supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity. (Christopher M. Norris, 2000).

The definition of ‘good posture’ is, “muscles function most efficiently and joints are optimally positioned” (Bullock-Saxton, 1988). In other words, it is one that puts the least strain on bones, joints and their supporting structures. 

When postural muscles work effectively, you have a sense of ease and lightness, muscle tone will be normal, unrestrained and unstretched. 

The definition of bad posture, therefore, is an inefficient misuse of joints and associated muscles and ligaments. Consequently, there will be associated physical and possibly painful disability.

Advantages of good posture:
· Physical activity is more efficient and well-coordinated.
· Helps to protect the spine by ensuring lifting and handling loads is more efficient.
· Promotes a feeling of well-being.

Disadvantages of bad posture:
· More rapid and sometimes permanent skeletal changes as age advances.
· Muscle imbalance and resulting injuries.
· Less efficient breathing and circulation.
· A more sluggish digestive system.
· Lack of coordination and ability to move with ease.
Posture is affected by gender, personality, mood, age and state of health.

Check your posture:
Is your chin poking forwards or is it lifted too high?
Are your shoulders at the same height or is one higher than the other? Do they round forwards?
Is the arch in your lower back an exaggerated curve or is the curve flattened?
When your arms are down by your sides, is each wrist at the same distance from your hips?
Do both knees point forwards?
Are both of your feet relaxed and flat on the floor?
Is your weight more on the outsides/insides/back or front of the feet?

 

Muscle Imbalance

Muscles can sometimes tend to develop ingrained habits through being too weak, overactive, lengthened or shortened, which will affect posture and fluidity of movement. When the big strong outer muscles are overworked, they restrict the inner postural muscles from working properly. If the ligaments around a joint are shortened, there will be a reduced range of movement around that joint, whereas if they are lengthened, this will result in a reduction of joint stability.

When a spinal curve becomes exaggerated, long-term problems can result.

Modern Pilates exercises aim to re-balance the muscles of the body so that optimal posture can be achieved. By correcting imbalances, sound muscle recruitment patterns are encouraged and the body is realigned. Good posture relieves pressure on the internal organs allowing them to function properly.

 

Interview with Cherry Baker

This is an exclusive interview with Cherry Baker and answers the question of whether Pilates based classes are actually good for your back.

This is a slightly controversial interview, but it is really a really insightful interview with one of Uk’s most respected fitness professionals.

In this interview you will learn;

1. What is the difference between all the Pilates courses out there.
2. Whether the original Pilates exercises are actually good for your back
3. What type of Pilates exercises and classes do actually help the core and back.
4. The IDEAL class template that all Pilates classes stick to, to be successful and effective.
5. Why many classes are actually giving Pilates a bad name, how to watch out for this and, if you are an instructor, how to make sure your class is not one of them

This is a great interview and EVERYONE will learn loads from this.

Cherry must be one of the longest-standing presenters in the UK, involved in the fitness industry for over 30 years!

Winner of Fitness Instructor of the year award 1994, YMCA tutor of the year award, Nominee for Fitness Professional of the year 2002 nominee for Life Time achievement in 2001.

Cherry owns her own studio and delivers teacher training programmes throughout the UK. She is also author of Total Core Strength and Pregnancy Fitness and is renowned for her enthusiasm and fun delivery as well as her desire to share knowledge with a down to earth no complicated approach!

Click here to listen to this interview. It may take a few seconds to load, but it will be worth the wait!

 

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