“Add Pilates to your workout routine to keep your body lean and toned”
Today I want to talk to you about the benefits of incorporating Pilates into your workout routine. If you’ve never tried it before and don’t really know what it’s all about then precious girl this article is just for you! I’ll be giving you all you need to know so keep reading and get excited to try something new that’s going to work wonders for your body!
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of exercises that are designed to improve your physical strength, flexibility and posture. While it has many physical benefits Pilates also enhances your mental awareness and connection to your body. This type of physical activity emphasises the importance of lengthening the body and promotes long, lean muscle tone rather than focusing on shortening and bulking the muscles.
Pilates was developed in the early 20th century and named after its creator Joseph Pilates, who designed the exercises for injured dancers. Many of the movements were inspired by yoga and some even mimic the movements of animals like swans and cats.
How I discovered Pilates…
When I was training to become a professional ballerina we included a variety of Pilates exercises into our daily routine for strength and flexibility training. Dancers bodies need to be extremely fine-tuned and with that comes hours upon hours of technique classes and conditioning work. Pilates made for the perfect additional exercise to compliment our ballet training. It kept our muscles lean and core strong, which was really important for staying controlled and centred through some of the almost impossible movements.
Trust me you wouldn’t want to be off-balance, especially when you’re spinning around (sometimes multiple times) on the tip of your toes in satin shoes, the chance of falling and snapping an ankle could end your dancing career right then and there!… from the perspective of the audience you might never even image this danger as the movement is executed so perfectly and gracefully it looks almost effortless.
Although I’m no longer dancing I still see great value in Pilates. I believe it can be a very powerful tool for everyday life by keeping the muscles strong and body flexible. It also helps to keep my posture straight and body in alignment which is why I still incorporate it into my weekly workout routine.
Over the years Pilates has been modified to suit many different needs and personally I think this is fantastic because now it means that you have a variety of styles to choose from. Of course the fun part is trying them out and finding what works best for you!
Different types of Pilates include:
Classical (Traditional) Pilates – Aims to continue practising Pilates in the original way that Joseph had designed it, which is mat work Pilates.
Contemporary (Modern) Pilates – Is based on the original work of Joseph but incorporates new techniques with modern research to give you a more effective workout.
Clinical Pilates – This is usually used for rehabilitation and is done with a physiotherapist.
Mat Work – The exercises are carried out on the floor, using nothing but a yoga mat. No other equipment is required as mat work simply uses gravity and your own body weight as resistance.
Reformer – Is a machine used in conjunction with Pilates exercise techniques for a challenging and intense workout. It uses springs, leverage and your own body weight for resistance while performing movements targeting specific muscle groups.
Small Props – Help to add variety to the mat work routines and can also be used in combination with other equipment. They can make the movements easier or add resistance to your training and a degree of challenge if you’re wanting to increase the intensity of your workout. A few small props that you can buy to use at home include… foam rollers, resistance rings, thera-bands, blocks, balls and a variety of light hand weights.
Studio Work – Combines the use of equipment, such as the reformer, trapeze table, chair, spine corrector and ladder barrel with Pilates exercise techniques. Originally the equipment was designed to help those who struggled to do the mat work by assisting the movements, however it can be used for resistance training to intensify your workout as well.
Benefits of Pilates:
My Top 10 Tips:
So beautiful, if you’ve never tried Pilates before I encourage you to get out there and take a class. Remember that the exercises can be modified to meet you at whatever level you’re at so don’t worry if you’re a complete novice!
Please feel free to share this article with a girlfriend… having extra support can make a huge difference to your confidence and level of motivation. My hope is that when she reads this article she’ll feel excited and inspired to join you for your next workout!
P.s – I’d love to see which Pilates style works best for you, take a pic before, during or after your favourite Pilates workout and tag me in it when you share your post on Facebook or Instagram! @kathryn.chandler #kathrynchandlerworkout