Progress with Pilates

So you’ve been doing Pilates for a while and are familiar with most of the basic moves and even some of the more advanced moves. What’s next? How do you continue to grow and progress? Many clients believe it’s about adding more weight – and in most cases I would say no to that!

New challenge - bridge on the ball!
New challenge – bridge on the ball!

Here are some ways you can continue to grow in your practice, build strength and reach your goals.

Form – Focus on your Form! When clients are new, Pilates can be a bit overwhelming. In the first five minutes they are told about the breath, their form, their core and than how to do an exercise. That’s a lot to remember as a beginner. I always tell my clients to focus first on what their core is doing and secondarily on their breath. Everything else comes after that and can be addressed once they have mastered the breath and core control. Now may be a good time to look at your form. Slow down your movements- new students have a tendency to rush! How perfect is your tabletop? Do you reach your arms long during hundreds? Are your magnets engaged? Are your toes pointed or flexed? How fluid are your movements? These are all wonderful areas to examine and focus on. When I want to challenge myself – I work to make my movements as perfect as I can. Trust me – this can be quite a challenge. When you slow down, remove momentum from the equation- your muscles must work harder!

Sequence – if you always do exactly the same routine your body becomes used that challenge and adapts. Either consciously or subconsciously you may work harder in some areas and save yourself in others for a hard section you know is coming. I always try to change up my student’s sessions so they are challenged each time. Sometimes we may begin with core work on the short box and later lats and abs work – our abs may be somewhat fatigued during this second portion. Adding spine articulation in the middle of our single and double leg work – adds some additional work to those hamstrings too! While it’s good to begin with the larger muscle groups – there is plenty of room to vary the sequence and challenge in a mat or reformer class!

Less Resistance – This one may surprise some of you! Yes less is more in Pilates! With less resistance you must recruit your stabilizing muscles and in most cases core to work a little harder to hold the proper position and control the movements. A prime example of this is skating – try this with just a yellow spring and let me know what you think!

New Movements/Modifications – We can also challenge you with new movements or modifications on current movements. If you have mastered the hundreds with tabletop legs – it may be time to try holding the legs upright at a 90 degree angle or even more challenging at a 45 degree angle. Adding a deliberate point or flex to your foot or working in turnout can add a new challenge.

If you feel your are ready for more – just ask we’ll try some of the above methods to take your Pilates session to the next level!

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