One of the best ways you can improve your workout is to get to know your body. Listen to what it is telling you. Pay attention to where it challenges you and were you succeed. That may seem simple – but it’s really more involved than realizing your legs are sore or your arms are weak. What part of your legs are sore and what makes them more sore? What arm exercises do you struggle with?
The better you can understand your own body – the better we can modify and build your workouts. Here’s an example – I know my low back can be somewhat unstable if I don’t give it the attention it deserves. If I do lots of flexion – forward bending and crunching – I am not addressing my issue. But if I can squeeze in some spine articulation, extension exercises and even some weighted glute squats – I strengthen my back and avoid issues. If I weren’t paying attention to my body – I would miss the subtle symptoms of a tender low back and continue to crunch and flex without doing what I need.
Too often I see folks ignore or fail to listen to the warning signs their bodies are giving them. If something does not feel right – don’t do it! It’s one thing for an exercise to be difficult, to make you work hard or struggle – but it’s a totally different story when there is a pain or feeling that you will regret this later. It’s just not smart to ‘push through’ if you aren’t sure. ASK!!! Please ask – there is a good chance we can modify the exercise to make it right for you. It’s OK to have sore muscles from time to time but not OK to feel broken or injured after a workout. It’s ok to find a plank hard or challenging but it’s not ok for you to feel sharp pain in your back while you are doing it!
I love for my students to ask questions. Should I be feeling this here? Is this the correct form? What muscles am I using? What should I focus on with this exercise? Where should I exhale? These are all great questions!! Pilates is a smart exercise and the smarter you are the more you will get out of it! Studies even show and support – the more you are aware of the muscles and work you do – the more engaged and productive those muscles and the work is. Get to really know your body, ask questions, and I can help too! You will be surprised how much better your workouts are when you really focus, listen and engage properly.