What happens in a Pilates class?

(21 Posts)
Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 20:34:17

I am thinking of going to one tomorrow (at a Virgin Active if that makes any difference) and I really have no idea what you do in one. What types of exercises is it? Is it all laying down? I am trying to lose a little weight, but mostly strengthen my core as I have an ongoing IT band injury that is totally due to weak core and glute muscles. The classes I used to do we're all cardio like BodyPump so I am entering an area I know nothing about!

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 20:53:01

Oh dear, should I take the silence as a sign that I shouldn't go? smile

CorrieDale Sat 27-Jul-13 21:02:43

You definitely should! I love cardio but Pilates has done more for my core than running. It 's a system of controlled limb waving. Depending on the level of the class you will ache during the class/after the class/for 2 days. If your instructor does not talk to you about 'neutral back' within the first 5 mins get the hell out of there. Pilates is brilliant for the core and back as long as it's done well. if it's done wrong you will really hurt yourself - hence the neutral back importance.

I first went reluctantly with my enthusiastic friend. That night I kicked higher in taekwondo than ever before. I've only missed a couple of sessions since.

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 21:42:36

Thanks! I have no idea what a neutral back is and I place very little faith in Virgin instructors generally. I will be brave, go, stay near the back and if I don't hear that phrase, I will sneak out!

Will my total lack of core strength mean it is for even possible for me to do the moves?

bellablot Sat 27-Jul-13 22:08:32

Did you ever do the Cindy Crawford Workout in the 90's? It's the same type of excercise except slower and more controlled.

Also the Jane Fonda Workout with all the stretches, holding your pelvic floor in when stretching etc.

I love Pilates, much better post kids compared to spinning where my chest nearly exploded and I could swim in the puddle of sweat afterwards!

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 22:09:50

Never did Cindy Crawford or Jane Fonda! Oh god, the pelvic floor!

NatashaBee Sat 27-Jul-13 22:12:16

Pilates is great for core strength. Basically you'll go to the class, do exercises which really don't look that taxing to an observer but will be really hard work and you'll hurt like buggery the next day! grin I second the advice about neutral back/ spine. Very important!

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 22:13:41

Ok, what does neutral spine mean??? Just in case they don't tell me about it!

adagio Sat 27-Jul-13 22:14:27

It might not be explicitly named neutral back, but you should be talked though aligning yourself. I went to classes at a (private) gym years ago where the instructor, with hindsight, was awesome. She talked you through the lining up your back bit (when lying on floor) at the start of each class but I don't recollect her naming it.

Another class at local leisure centre more recently seemed to try and get you lined up while stood up - all I can say is thank god I had been to a good instructor originally so I remember what I was aiming for!

I miss it, but exercise classes seem to have gone by the wayside since the nipper arrived. As has arriving anywhere at the planned time. Ever.

prettybird Sat 27-Jul-13 22:22:15

My Pilates instructor won't let anyone go in to a class without having at least one 1:1 beforehand.

She does Mat Pilates (combination of on the mat with a few standing exercises) which is what most classes are based on unless you are going somewhere which has a load of reformers (reformers are combated bits of torture equipment).

Accessories in a class might be: poles, stretchie bands, steel rings, weights, semi-inflated balls, yoga blocks, foam "logs", half foam logs.... although usually only one of the above per lesson.

I agree that the emphasis will be on your core muscles. It really does work - but you have to be careful to learn to engage them "properly". 12 and a half years after starting, I am still learning! grin

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 22:27:14

I saw a sports physiotherapist when I first injured my IT band about a year and a half ago who was very Pilates based in his therapy. He had some reformer machines which we used briefly, but mostly he did sports massage and acupuncture so I didn't learn to actually do any Pilates with him (not mat based anyway). He did do an ultrasound on my belly while getting me to hold in my core so I could see the different muscles contracting. I do understand about how to engage my core (from him). Is this the same as a neutral spine?

prettybird Sat 27-Jul-13 22:27:59

"combated" = "complicated" in predicative text. blush

prettybird Sat 27-Jul-13 22:37:48

I'd say a "neutral spine" was it white the the same as an "engaged core". My instructor uses the latter term more than the former - but she might have used the former when she was intruding Pilates to someone new.

If you're lying on your back, with your knees bent, you need your back to be in a natural gentle arch and, most importantly, your pelvis "flat" (or parallel) to the ceiling. You then need to engage your pelvic floor - pull up and in/feel a "smile" across your pelvis.

Another way to work out where "neutral" is is to rock back (towards your rib cage) and forwards (towards your feet) and then feel whee your mid point is.

Wiifitmama Sat 27-Jul-13 22:40:56

Thank you pretty bird. That was very clear and very reminiscent of what the sports therapist explained to me about engaging my core.

Phew! Maybe I can do the class after all!

prettybird Sat 27-Jul-13 22:48:33

Bloody predictive text: first line should read, "Is not quite the same as " blush

mercury7 Sat 27-Jul-13 23:06:36

you lie on your back and wave your legs aroundgrin

I've never found pilates all that challenging, I enjoyed it but if I only had a limited time for exercise I wouldnt 'spend' it on pilates, it did help me to 'tune in' to my abs though, but as far as strengthening goes much more can be achieved in less time with weight training.

I recon you'd have to really go for it for pilates to improve cardio fitness or result in much fat loss

prettybird Sat 27-Jul-13 23:11:39

I'm not looking forward to my first Pilates after the summer break. We stopped at the end of June and will start again on the middle of August.

Even though she starts again gently, if I am lucky, it will just be my stomach muscles which will really hurt. If I'm unlucky, my triceps and various other difficult to reach muscles will also hurt! wink

gindrinker Sun 28-Jul-13 08:32:59

Pilates is evil.
Its an hour of sit ups stretching and variations on the plank.
Nothing works your core like doing the plank while your feet are balanced on a ball...

Good fun though. You need to find a teacher who mixes it up else its fucking dull.

ThursdayLast Sun 28-Jul-13 09:22:56

I have only ever done Pilates DVDs rather than actual classes, so def not an expert.

I like it though, because it helps to engage and work the core without having to do crunches etc etc. I had an emcs so this has proved invaluable to me-exercising the abs without straining them.

Hope you enjoy it, wish I could afford proper lessons

Wiifitmama Sun 28-Jul-13 21:21:54

Well I went! The instructor was very good and helped me directly with lots of the positions and checked me lots to make sure I was doing it right. I am so weak, there was loads I couldn't manage at all! But I will go bac e next week and try again.

prettybird Mon 29-Jul-13 09:46:08

That sounds good smile. It's better not to an exercise than to do it badly - and a good instructor will give you guidance as to what you can/should attempt and/or adapt exercises.

My instructor always seems able to describe just the little movement or thing you need to think of in order to do the exercise properly. smile

I also swear I am an inch taller since I started doing Pilates over 13 years ago. grin

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