I couldn't agree more with the statments made here. I have been attempting pilates for a quite some time now and have ONLY now aquired the HANG of it. I follow the instruction precise and I really do enjoy the stretching motion, however, if you have a hard time with it...just do the the old fashioned "calisthenics" we all used to do in gym when we were kids... have to be honest ...it's really the same thing.
I hated it then and I am certainly not of fan of it now....i just know now that I NEED it! keep it going girls and hang in there!
Some people do experience lower back pain, in the early stages of pilates, due to weak core muscles. I do inform my class, as I teach beginners, but also tell them that the discomfort will go away as their core strength improves. Your back takes a lot of beating, especially if you have a lot of weight in your belly area, and your spine will try to compensate to support the weight, consequently be pulled out of it's natural alignment. You may not experience back pain as this process is taking place, because it is a slow and gradual process, however trying to correct the damage is a completely different story and it may be uncomfortable until your regain your core muscle strength, removing the need for your back to do all the work.
Before Pilates, my back was so weak that I couldn't walk, literally, for about 2 weeks once after giving my kids a bath, I was in that much pain! Once I strengthened my abs and lower back, they were able to do some of the work and support my spine instead of pulling on it!
Also, there are modifications that you should start with, especially with the particular exersice that you mentioned, until you develop your core muscles a little. It is the same with any exersice...you wouldn't run a marathon if you can't run around the block! I would encourage you to try again, but maybe try a different class, different instructor and look for those modifications! I look over my students to make sure that they are doing the exersice correctly so that they are actually working to benifit their core and not injuring themselves, as well as explaining where they should be feeling each exersice that we do, and I show and encourage them to use modifications to start with as they are developing their core strength!
Pilates is not for everyone, same as any other exersice, but I encourage you to give it try, please feel free to contact me with questions and I would be happy to help!
Great article. The "Barbie Doll" instructors for Pilates are hard for me to relate to when using a video workout. Denise Austin is the only one I find easy to follow, since she is 51 and the mother of 2.
I think it's important to caution that for some people Pilates--specifically the straight leg lifts that are one of its main exercises--can CAUSE lower back pain. It did so for me. My theory is that it's a matter of body structure: my legs are unusually long relative to my torso, so balancing in that pose strains my back. When I quit doing Pilates, my back pain ceased.
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