Sorry to break it to you, but doing Pilates will not make you look like the stereotypical ballet dancer. No matter what the celebrities tell you. Unless of course you’re a ballet dancer. Will it make you look and feel great? Absolutely. But there are reasons why I have been practicing Pilates for almost 20 years that have nothing to do with vanity.
Though many of my Pilates-only clients do lose weight, it's primarily because when they come to me, they have avoided moving because it just doesn't feel good. I always say that Pilates liberates people because it teaches them how to move WELL.
I believe without a doubt my background in Pilates has benefitted my athletic ability in everything I do for my own fitness, which carries into my understanding of each individual client's needs. I incorporate a lot of Pilates-based movements into all my assessments and warm ups. Pilates is so relevant to weightlifting, especially when it comes to posture and proper muscle recruitment. Plus, having a strong core is obviously a must for anything load bearing. And though compound movements like the squat absolutely work your core, it’s not quite the same as purposeful, isolated core work. If you can’t hold a solid plank, step away from the barbell.
Pilates makes you smarter on so many levels. There are numerous neurological benefits from the amount of focus and precision it takes to perform even the most basic Pilates exercises successfully. The ability to control your body is a neuromuscular skill that comes with practice.
- Improved posture.
- Solid, balanced core. And I'm not just talking about your six-pack. Pilates will get your pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, obliques, deep spinal muscles as well as "unofficial core" muscles that work with these muscles.
- Alleviate pain.
- Rehabilitation after injury.
- Increased coordination, balance and body awareness.
- Improved flexibility, mobility and stability.
Want to try it for yourself? Be sure to look for a certified instructor from a reputable organization such at BASI or Stott. And be willing to shell out for a few private sessions so you can familiarize yourself with the core principles before jumping into a class. You will get so much more out of it. Pilates like anything else is a skill that takes patience and consistent practice. Trust me, it’s worth it.