It’s the work-out of choice… Pilates!

Everyone has heard of it, your fabulous friends and countless celebrities are doing it; so what’s the hype? By Hayley Lord, Clinic Director and Specialist Rehab & Pilates Physio at Six Physio St James’s 

In short, it’s a form of low impact, whole body exercise that has revolutionised in the last twenty years from Joseph Pilates’s 34 key mat exercises into countless exercises performed on specific spring based machines (think reformers); these springs either assist flexibility or resist strength which greatly enhances the benefits of Pilates.

In the past few months there have been many articles in the press: @PetaBee writes it’s no longer a workout just for yummy mummies, men are signing up to reformer Pilates too, with names like Andy Murray and David Beckham saying it’s the secret to their firm bodies!

At Six Physio, you can expect bespoke classes (max 3 people) led by a Physio over a 45 or 60 minute period. The classes are tailored to your specific body needs and goals. 

6 reasons to take up machine-based Pilates: 

  1. Increase and maintain whole body muscle strength. Once upon a time, Pilates was all about two words. The. Core. Nowadays, we identify our ‘core’ as a group of trunk muscles including our abdominal, gluteal, pelvic and back muscles. A good Pilates class won’t just work your ‘core’ for an hour – you should leave feeling like you’ve worked your whole body. Equipment springs dictate the resistance and difficulty of movements. Muscle strength is essential at all ages in order to condition our bones, joints and muscles to tolerate the physical demands of daily life. Strength training has a role for everyone – particularly those that are hypermobile, ageing (all of us!) or pregnant / postpartum.
  2. Optimise flexibility and mobility. The equipment springs will assist you into greater ranges of motion which in time will increase the flexibility of your muscles. Being flexible doesn’t mean contorting yourself in half. Flexibility needs to be specific. For example golfers and those playing racket sports will benefit from optimising their upper back and shoulder mobility in order to generate more power. Someone else may benefit from increasing their hamstring mobility in order to offload their lower back pain and enable them to pick things up off the floor. You should leave a Pilates class feeling more light and limber!
  3. Injury prevention. Many people come to Pilates for general wellbeing and day to day injury prevention. Many also come to supplement their current exercise regimes and keep themselves fit for their respective sports; we see countless runners, footballers and racket sport players. Whatever your sport, there’s a role for Pilates in your conditioning. Injury prevention is far superior to injury management!
  4. Improve balance & co-ordination. Lots of movements in Pilates will challenge your balance: for example standing exercises on the reformers. Many will also test your co-ordination: for example an exercise involving both an upper and lower body exercise. Some may incorporate the two together!
  5. Controlled exercise. Pilates isn’t ballistic gut-busting HIIT so although you may work to the point of muscular fatigue, attention to movement control is paramount throughout. This is ideal for those looking to isolate specific muscles / movements and also for those less confident with self directed or busy class exercise environments.
  6. Low impact. This is ideal for those initially returning to exercise following eg. surgery, pregnancy, chemo / radiotherapy and injury.

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