I’ve noticed a trend lately at the gyms and even at some Pilates studios. For some reason, Pilates as is must not be good enough – we need to add more reps, more weight, more burn! If you ask me, it’s a bootcamp mentality applied to Pilates.
I even had a woman tell me the other day, “Pilates is too subtle for me.” My students and I have had a good chuckle at that one as we are in the midst of engaging our core, depressing our scapula, working our magnets, lengthening through our feet and using the Pilate breath for hundreds. Nothing subtle here if you are doing it right! That is the sad thing. My guess is this woman did not have a good Pilates experience and missed the real work.
I would also venture to say those that feel the need to ‘mega’ and ‘extreme’ a Pilates class are missing the deeper body work and connection. Really the beauty of Pilates performed correctly is the whole body work, the deeper work and the strength gained. True Pilates does not require repetition after repetition. The essence of Pilates is to lengthen muscles, build core strength – not sweating, crunching, and defaulting to only our large muscles. The beauty of a Pilates movement is the ability to take a very light weight and require the stabilizing muscles to kick into action. Pilates at its core is very challenging when we really work deep and controlled. Pilates builds balanced bodies. Pilates build bodies protected from overuse injuries, strain and wear.
I had the opportunity recently to take a bootcamp Pilates class. We did somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 planks and countless crunches. Much of the work was isometric (none-moving). Pilates in it’s essence is dynamic (moving) stretch of the body. I feel like I am in fairly good shape – doing Pilates most days and running several days a week. None the less, it took me two days of not working out after this class to recover. I’d rather do an effective true Pilates workout and be able to move well the days following. I generally leave Pilates classes feeling taller and stronger – I left Pilates bootcamp feeling beat up.
But, I ‘ve said it before and will say it again…It’s about finding what you like. If mega-pilates and super burn is what you like then there are classes for you at these gyms. I only ask that you don’t call it Pilates – Joseph would not approve!