“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 session you’ll see the difference, in 30 sessions you’ll have a new body.”– Joseph Pilates
As a Pilates instructor of 16 years, this philosophy has become even more clear. I’ve gained insight from experience and a deeper understanding of how our bodies work. Pilates is not just an exercise regimen. It is a way of life. Whether you want to live longer with greater vitality, quality of movement and the ability to perform everyday tasks with comfort and control or you are an athlete who wants to enhance your performance and aid in recovery, you will feel the results and be able to quantify the outcomes.
What is Pilates?
The idea behind Pilates is to use the core muscles to initiate movement. Rather than working from the outside in, you work from inside out. So anytime the arms, legs, torso, or head move, the core muscles support and stabilize for greater strength and mobility. The legs, arms, and spine become stronger and more flexible, and balance improves.
Real Life Benefits
Let’s look at the monthly progress of one of my first clients, Linda. Linda came into the Pilates studio wanting to be stronger, have better posture, more stamina, and a better appearance. She also wanted to see if I could assist with her plantar-fasciitis that was keeping her from running. We started with the basics, twice a week.
Learning how to stand is the very first thing I teach, followed by breathing, and how to put those two actions together. Next, we went to the Reformer, one of the main pieces of equipment for Pilates, for opening “footwork,” which targets the feet, ankles, knees, legs, glutes, and core muscles along with controlled breathing. It’s a unifying and strengthening exercise. In each session, we’d repeat exercises performed previously to start setting up strong neurological pathways (proprioception) and added new exercises as she gained stability, control, and confidence.
By week four, Linda was showing great improvements. The shaking and instability she’d initially experienced had turned into fluid, controlled movement. Breathing control had improved significantly and her posture and “postural awareness” was also improving. She had noticeable changes in the shape of her midriff and legs. And, to her delight, she was running again for short distances without major pain.
Continuing our workout schedule, we began to add different pieces of equipment. Adding more equipment to our workout helped keep everything fresh and alive in addition to strengthening muscles in different ways. Besides the Reformer, there’s the Cadillac, the Wunda Chair, the Pedi-Pole, large, medium and small barrel, and the foot corrector.
The foot corrector helps work each foot individually for strength, support, and flexibility of the foot, ankle, and lower leg.
The Wunda Chair requires a certain amount of balance and stability, along with a lot of focus.
At the end of our third month, Linda had experienced major improvements. Her footwork had improved greatly. She had reduced inches in her waist, mid-back, and thighs. Her shoulders were more relaxed, and her postural awareness had improved. Our workouts were more challenging while doing more exercises in the same amount of time. Her ability to coordinate breathing with movement had increased, along with her flexibility, stability, and control. She was very happy to have discovered Pilates.
Written by Scott Miller, Pilates Instructor at PRO Club in Bellevue, WA and Seattle, WA.
Scott has been a Pilates instructor for 16 years. In addition to Pilates, he is a martial Arts enthusiast and has studied kung fu and kickboxing. His mission is “To provide sound and safe delivery of the Pilates Method in a nurturing, caring environment.” You can find him on Instagram or at his Seattle Pilates Blog.