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A Skeptic's Guide to Pilates

Think Pilates Isn't for You? Think Again!

47 Comments



  • and for those talking about breathing there are actually a variety of breathing techniques used by different training schools. Some use a loud, gushy breath like Nicole describes and some are absolutely silent. It is ok to change the breath to a style that works for you. The one consistent point is that you KEEP breathing as you move, don't hold your breath. That's usually an indication that the exercise is too hard for you.

    Cheers,

    Lisa
    - 3/15/2012 7:37:27 AM
  • I too have a lot of issue with the breathing technique. I do a lot of yoga and I sing, and my body just doesn't get it when I ask it to breath with a contracted abdomen. So I don't. I breath the way I usually do, and focus on the motions. That said, it's incredible how challenging simple Pilates movements are! I can never keep up or make it through a workout without taking breaks. Just hurts my gut! And while I get that it's part of growing stronger, it's still discouraging to look around the room and feel like such a wimp. Thus, I don't do much Pilates, although I fully acknowledge its benefits. - 12/31/2011 11:58:54 AM
  • THEASPINS
    The breathing thing is what keeps me from doing pilates. When you expand the diaphragm, the belly DOES expand. Pilates breathing is contrary to proper breathing technique for yoga and also for singing, and makes no sense to me. - 8/15/2011 6:24:09 PM
  • When I was introduced to pilates and kickboxing exercises in the Spring into Shape Challenge, I was mortified. I had just started exercising and I had loads of doctors limitations. Guess what - I could and did, just followed modifications on the videos.
    At the end of 28 days, I usually didn't need the modifications.
    Now I make sure that I do the pilates abs and the kickboxing cardio at least once and more a week. The control is great.
    Results - I am breathing deeper, much deeper, doc is impressed. Can actually turn around to see when I am backing up the car, no more twisting in the seat or avoiding reverse, down from size 18 to 14, Pain, especially back, is much less, more flexibility, stronger and I am now doing up to 2 hours of exercise a day because I love the way I feel. This is since April 25, and I am 65. Oh one other benefit, I haven't had to use my cane since May, because I am stronger and balance is back.
    HOORAY for Pilates, you made a fan out of me. - 7/11/2011 2:23:15 PM
  • KATHIE_B
    I've taken a weekly Pilates class for nine years now. I remember in the beginning I thought "She wants me to do WHAT?" But I got stronger and I can do the moves. My core is so much stronger now. I rarely have any back pain even after yard work. And OMG what it did for my waistline is amazing. Its just one piece of my fitness repertoire that also includes yoga, Zumba, Nia, step aerobics, free weights and, of course, walking. Mixing it up keeps it from getting boring. I really recommend at least beginning with a class rather than a video. Only an instructor can tell if you have the right form. But once you learn, you can feel it and can work on your own if you don't want to continue with the instructor. - 4/12/2011 8:17:02 AM
  • Janslimtrim:
    You might try looking for a class on stottpilates.com (I too am a big fan of Stott Pilates.) On their website, they list certified instructors. You may find one near you at a more reasonable price. I pay $195 for a 6 session semi private class. My teacher (who is also my belly dance teacher) is Stott certified.
    There is a saying about pilates reformer: You'll notice a difference in 3 sessions. Others will notice a difference in 10 sessions. It has been very helpful in rehab of my knee; it has done more than 6 months of physical thereapy sessions. I'm a believer. - 3/15/2011 9:55:36 AM
  • I tried a Pilates class for the first time last week...I found the class to be very challenging but the ladies in the class were very encouraging an supportive. I actually liked learning the moves and enjoyed the stability ball exercises(they took me back to my childhood days). I'm looking forward to this weeks class. - 3/14/2011 8:58:01 AM
  • MRS_4EVER_AFTER
    Taking a Reformer Class will change the coach's mind. That is the hardest form of strength that I have done as it takes total body control and fluid movement. It's far different that anything out there. I think the coach tried to help, but really, it's obvious she is not a Pilates Regular nor has she worked with a good instructor. A good instructor will have you walking away with every muscle in your body sore and your body drenched in sweat.

    I don't care what she says, I've been a body builder before and Pilates does things for me that weights never did. Looking forward to my pilates class next week! I'll be sure to let my personal trainer/instructor know that pilates isn't considered "strength" and see what he thinks. Considering he looks like a God thanks to Pilates, I'm sure he'll disagree too! - 1/24/2011 10:31:42 PM
  • I take a private pilates class that uses the reformer at Studio Z Pilates in Fresno. I am very overweight and using the reformer is great because I do not have to lay on the floor. I highly recommend Pilates to anyone. I have seen great improvements in my flexibility and strength. I have done all types of exercise and find Pilates to be the most effective and fun workouts I have ever done. If you have bad knees or due to your weight have trouble getting up and down off the floor find a Pilates studio near you. It is not an inexpensive class but it is well worth it when you see the difference it makes in your mind and body. - 1/13/2011 12:41:53 PM
  • PS - Several of the comments below refer to different methods. I'm a big fan of Stott Pilates. Modern physiology with a focus on the proper spinal alignment that keeps us functionality fit for all other things in life. :) - 10/19/2010 12:40:58 PM
  • After tearing an SI tendon, I turned to Pilates to help prevent re-injury. It's been amazing! And I grew an inch taller due to the spinal flexibility and posture benefits! Never giving it up. - 10/19/2010 12:37:53 PM
  • RAMARQUARDT13
    Afer reading this article I am going to dust off my Pilates DVDs! - 8/26/2010 1:02:35 PM
  • JANSLIMTRIM
    I have pilates DVDs, but always wanted to take a class. I've had difficulty finding a pilates class. Well, I discovered there was a pilates studio down the road from me. I was estatic. I checked it out and found that it's a pilates studio with the actual machines used in pilates. Unfortunately, it's almost $100 a session. So, I'm stuck with the DVDs. I can't imagine them staying in business for that price and with the way the economy is. - 5/4/2010 12:42:20 PM
  • DETERMINDCHICKY
    I have alot of lower back pain. I am going to give pilates a try and see if that helps. I never would have considered had I not read this article. - 4/7/2010 9:41:52 AM
  • RE2BAH
    I took a pilates course for four years before the instructor moved. I was trying to gain flexibility, and I did that, but also developed muscles. As someone who had not thought of rolling over or doing shoulder stands, etc. for about 40 years, I definitely became stronger, posture improved and I felt able to do anything. I had just found another instructor before we move. Have kept it up with dvds, but would like to find another class! - 4/1/2010 8:06:53 AM

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