Updated: Jan 30
Why I love pilates
Well-known dancers such as George Balanchine, who arrived in the United States in 1933, and Martha Graham, who had come to New York in 1923, became devotees and regularly sent their students to the Pilates studio for training and rehabilitation. Joseph Pilates exercise regimen built flexibility, strength and stamina. Soon after it became known that ballerinas were attending the Pilates gym on 8th Avenue, society women followed.
I started Pilates twenty years ago with Claire Bataille, from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. There was a studio that opened next door to the dance studio and she taught the best pilates and ballet classes. I love pilates because of the similarities to the art of ballet. It compliments other workouts and focuses on technique. The art of moving with integrity.
"Through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.” – Joseph Pilates
How is Pilates beneficial? Movement and control is initiated from your powerhouse — the core section which includes upper and lower abdominal muscles, the lower back and buttocks. Doing Pilates correctly one to three times a week will achieve a stronger more balanced body that moves with grace and efficiency in your everyday life.
Who benefits from Pilates? Everyone! Because the exercises are non-weight bearing and can be modified to suit various body types and injuries — Pilates suits everyone. Some parts of your body may need to stretch, while others need strength and control. Joseph Pilates developed more than 500 exercises to give your body exactly what it needs. The results will make you look, feel and move better.
HOW PILATES HELPS RAISE YOUR GAME
From baseball players to basketball stars, pro athletes are turning to Pilates for strength, focus and injury prevention. Discover the benefits of this cross-training tool.
If you’ve ever wondered how professional athletes supplement their on-court and on-field training, the answer might surprise you. Pilates, that thing your mom likes to do at her boutique gym, is making waves in the world of pro sports thanks to its unrivaled ability to build a strong core while improving an athlete’s range of motion and flexibility. Once a niche technique adopted by dancers to build strength, the method has gone mainstream now that so many elite athletes have become disciples. “Pilates can boost athletic performance in almost any sport,” says Sean Vigue, the instructor behind the Sean Vigue Fitness YouTube workouts and author of Pilates for Athletes. “The technique focuses on your core, pelvic floor , glutes, hips and spine—all areas that need to be strong in order to maximize movements in any sport.” Given its benefits, Pilates is well worth your time in its own right. But as a supplement to your running, soccer or any other sport you love, it’s genius. Here are three ways Pilates can make you a better, more complete athlete.
Many sports involve repetitive movements (swing, swing, swing; right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot), which cause some muscles to overdevelop while tightening others. When one muscle becomes dominant, it creates imbalances in your body that can lead to injuries. 1. Pilates is a way to counteract some of these repetitive movements.
For example, I work with a lot of runners, and they tend to have overdeveloped quads and tight hamstrings. Also, the strain from running can compress your spine, which draws your shoulders forward into a hunch. Pilates stretches the quads and hamstrings and helps correct posture, opening the chest so your breath can flow. Pilates also focuses on posture, balance and alignment with an emphasis on the core. The use of your abs translates to more powerful, balanced movements. When you practice Pilates regularly, you become aware of your core and consequently your body posture. It affects how you run on the basketball court and whether you’re in alignment when you lift weights. It’s the difference in sitting balanced on your bike instead of slouching over the handlebars.
2. IT BUILDS FOCUS Pilates has been called nourishing, energizing and tension relieving , and because the method emphasizes breathing and inner-awareness, it can help athletes develop a laser-like focus that they can tap into during a race or competition. A major benefit of the activity is that the exercises are designed to energize, rather than exhaust, your muscles, meaning they complement your regular sport or workout. “The best thing about Pilates is that it’s a mind-body-spirit method, so you’ll not only be strengthening your body, but also boosting your energy levels and avoiding burnout. That benefits athletes, but it’s also really important for everyone.
3. IT’S THE PERFECT WARM-UP AND COOL-DOWN Pilates can be a workout in itself, but you can also use some of the movements to prepare for your game or race. The Hundred, a classic Pilates move, involves sitting on the floor and tightening your core as you lift your legs and tilt back to hold your body in a V-shape. Extending your arms forward and low to the floor with your palms down, you pump them up and down for 100 counts. This engages your core and warms up the lungs. Other Pilates exercises can be used to cool the body and slow your heart rate. Exercises like The Roll-Up, a controlled sit-up with arms overhead, followed by folding forward into a hamstring stretch, help alleviate tightness and improve spine flexibility, reducing your odds of post-workout soreness . At the same time, it works your core, which is especially helpful after a workout like a spin class, because your abs can often become disengaged after a long session in the saddle.
To give Pilates a try, message me! It’s easier with an instructor until you get the hang of each move. Loose-fitting clothes can be a pain with some of the movements, so opt for a slim-fitting top and comfortable tights or longer shorts instead.