Pilates – who is it for and why is it useful?

Simon Pilates

Pilates is named after its inventor – Joseph Pilates – which started out when he taught a bunch of exercises to dancers and performers in New York. 

That was the start of Pilates as we know it today, the core of which (slight pun intended) is all about promoting good, efficient movement. 

What does Pilates teach? 

Imagine your muscles as a team, physically connected in a line – these are called slings. When you move it’s important that these muscles work in the right order – much like when a car pulls away you want to move up through the gears. 

But when you change gears in the car you lose a bit of momentum – which is why we want to teach movements that are smoother and more controlled – think of an electric car instead! So it’s all about a smoother output through the ‘slings’ and making your muscles work smarter, not harder. 

This can be thought of as the skill of movement, but when taught well, it helps us with a lot more besides. 

For example it trains the automatic recruitment of postural muscles to help hold good posture without us even thinking about it. This in turn can reduce the demand on other muscles that should be more for movement than posture – this can help to reduce the chance of getting tightness in your neck, particularly good for those sitting at a computer all day.

Who is Pilates for? 

In short – everyone! The benefits are so wide and varied that it’s useful for people who work all day at a desk, people struggling with flexibility or recovering from injury, and elite sportsmen and women looking to improve performance.

It can sometimes be seen as just for women, but that’s definitely not the case and many of our classes are mixed. In fact, people are often surprised at how challenging some of the exercises are and often get ‘DOMS’ the following day if they have worked really hard – in English this is delayed onset muscle soreness, the kind you get after a hard workout in the gym and tends to show you’ve challenged your muscles and they then recover and become stronger.

Some of our regulars have commented on how it’s improved their running times or form, skiing endurance, their power and position on long bike rides or how they’re much more comfortable at work! 

So why not try it. You’ll probably end up a convert, but we’ll leave that for you to decide.

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