Which Pilates Workout should you be doing?
Pilates is great for everybody and every body. But the thing with Pilates, is it isn’t a one size fits all scenario. Ever walked into a fully equipped Pilates studios? It goes beyond just a few mats on a smelly gym floor, there's cadillacs, chairs, barrels, reformer machines, small props, trapezes, springs and straps everywhere. Each style of Pilates workout has incredible benefits and when regularly engaged will reward you with incredible results, but what truly is the best Pilates workout for you?
One On One
If you have an acute or re-curring injury, you need to swerve the group classes and head straight to an experienced, rehabilitation teacher for 1-1 sessions. Taking any form, from matwork to reformer to studio sessions, it is in the private environment that you will get the undivided attention necessary for clinical rehabilitation and progression. An experienced teacher will certainly help you with modifcations in the group setting, however you won't be getting the necessary set programming best suited to your rehabilitation progress and strengthening regime.
For the fundamentals
Matwork sessions are very often overlooked for their more glamorous Reformer counterpart. But by removing the extra accessories, spring support and loading, you actually find a workout that is pure in its origins, patterns and fundamentally more difficult, as there is only one thing to rely on – your body. Utilising your body weight, Matwork Pilates breaks down the principles of the method and helps you build body awareness, balance, control and co-ordination. Not to mention, if you really pay attention, you will be able to pick up some exercises you can take away from the studio – perfect for when you are on the go or travelling and can't make it into a class.
Need some extra cardio
Jump board is in effect, low-impact horizontal jumping. Taking yourself down to the reformer, adding the resistance and support of spring loading and then working your body through intervals and cardio based patterns of movement will get your heart rate into the desired "fat burning" zone. Jump board sessions are a renowned for bringing in an aspect of cardiovascular benefits usually reserved only for vertical pursuits, however in this low impact format not only will your heart rate pick up, you will also hone specific lower limb mechanics that will benefit your non-Pilates endeavours such as dance, running and cycling.
If you’re a seasoned practioner and are already in fighting fit shape, take on an advanced class or athletic conditioning reformer session. Ideal for anyone with either experience in Pilates technique or with an exceptional understanding of their body, these classes will ramp up the intensity of a Pilates session, but remained embedded in the underlying principles of Pilates whilst always giving you all the slow twitch burn! In general, expect heavier resistance via spring loading and targeting common weakness spots for athletes – such as gluteus medius and transversus abdominus.
Ready to upskill
You’ve been hitting the mat sessions for a while, and now know your way around all the footwork positions in your Reformer class, so now it is time to check out a studio session. Utilising the traditional Pilates equipment of the cadillac, chair and barrel, these sessions are generally run in private, duet or small group formats and will elevate your practice further. Requiring the key principles of control, balance and co-ordination, you will see the basics learnt in all your foundations classes begin to soar as the work gets put together in the studio!
Baby on board
If you’re pregnant –congratulations! – now book yourself into a specific pre-natal class. An instructor trained in pre-natal Pilates will safely guide you through your pregnancy, helping to keep your body strong, work with you on breathing and pelvic floor techniques and offer giving specific exercises tailored for the pregnant body, which is something that can be missed when you head to a general session. Matwork sessions are additionally beneficial for pre-natal clients as you will learn exercises that you will also be able to use after your newborn arrives when you might not have time to make it into a studio.
What's your favourite Pilates workout? Let us know in the comments below or on our social channels.