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Pilates. Anyone do it?

(17 Posts)
Posey Sun 06-Feb-05 20:23:54

I've started exercising and have been advised to alternate the "active" stuff with something like yoga or pilates. Can anyone give me a basic idea of what pilates is. Do I have to join a class? This would be quite tricky so wonder if there are any videos or books that you might recommend.
Thanks in advance.

kolakube Sun 06-Feb-05 20:28:52

I don't do Pilates but do yoga. Would definately recommend a class setting if poss because you can switch off from everything going on at home and relax.

Also, if you've not done it before you can be sure you're doing it right.

pipsy1 Sun 06-Feb-05 20:29:47

Have just started Pilates myself, and though you can get videos, would def recommend a class to start with as its hard to do it right unless someone is there with you. Its all about using the inner core of muscles - pelvic floor and lower abdominals. Good for strengthening back and tummy and relaxation. Good Luck

Chocol8 Sun 06-Feb-05 20:32:24

Hi Posey - I have a couple of great books but unfortunately have lent them out so don't know the names of them, but they are the ones with photographs of the movements and are not too full of words. I got them relatively cheap from Bookworld or The Works.

I do pilates stretches in the morning (in bed) and since I have been doing them, my back has not been bad for over 2 years.

frogs Sun 06-Feb-05 20:33:21

Posey -- you're in Islington, aren't you?

I did Pilates for a few years -- need to go back now, but no time! The place I went to is Body Control Pilates at the London Studio Centre in Kings Cross. They are a bit mad, but v. good. You have to have a few introductory 1-to-1 sessions while they assess you, and then recommend you a class to join. They have lots of different times available. I did one-to-one for ages as I couldn't make a suitable class -- expensive but worth it.

It consists of very targeted exercises designed to strengthen the core muscles of your trunk, which support your back and the rest of your body. Lots of the exercises don't look like much, particularly at the lower levels, but it makes a tremendous difference. I would go so far as to say that it has changed my life.

There's another Pilates place that has opened in Islington recently which I've been meaning to check out. I think it's in the Gaskin Street area -- I saw the ad in one of those free mags like Angel.

Pilates is not something you should be learning from a book or a video IMO -- you need someone to make sure you're doing it properly, or you could do yourself a serious injury.


Posey Sun 06-Feb-05 20:39:51

Thanks for that everyone. I thought a class would be recommended. Its difficult in that dh works irregular hours, so I can't go to a class say every Tuesday evening as he may be on a late shift.
Frogs - thanks for your local knowledge. Will see about some one to one stuff. The last thing I want is a flare up of an old back injury, I'm hoping to improve my back not damage it further.

Tanks a lot.

KristinaM Sun 06-Feb-05 20:42:55

Posey - have a bad back as well. I found that strengthening my core muscles made a huge difference . i even managed ok until week 42 of pregnancy (at my advanced age......)

Prettybird Thu 10-Feb-05 10:59:23

KristinaM - do you go to Pilates classes? If so, where? I go to Louise Stearn out in Balfron - a major trek as I live on the South Side (but my parents live on the North side, so I pop in and see them)

catgirl Thu 10-Feb-05 11:52:56

posey - check out


She (Chris Hocking) does classes at Kings Cross and Marylebone(I thought an excellent teacher) and has a 'swap in' scheme so that if you can't make a class on a certain evening you can attend another one later in the week.

catgirl Thu 10-Feb-05 11:53:56

my link didn't work

dancer77 Thu 10-Feb-05 12:06:30

I would definately recomend pilates. I was first introduced to it when I was at college studying dance and it helped me so much with muscle imbalances I had just from everyday life. You don't realise just what bad habits do and the trouble they can cause e.g. back trouble. It also really helped during pregnancy as pelvic floor muscles were strong. I carried on doing it throughout. Would definately not recommend doing it yourself from books and videos though (at least not at first) because the you you're working with such small intricate muscles and the teacher can explain exactly how the exercises should feel and also ensure you are doing them correctly. Once you confident that you can perform some exercises correctly then practice them on your own. Sorry am not in your area so can't recommend any teachers.

Chandra Thu 10-Feb-05 12:19:13

I have been doing pilates with videos on and off during the last 5 years. I have never gone to a class (there were none available in the area) and sure I should be doing some exercises wrong. However, I have had posture problems since childhood and trying to keep my back stright for more than 2 minutes was certainly painful. I started with Lynne Robinson's video Powerhouse Pilates and within a week I started seeing changes, within 3 weeks the pain was gone even after I stoped doing pilates regularly and throughout pregnancy (though I still have to remind myself to keep my back stright). At the moment I'm combining Barbara Currie's The Seven Secrets of Yoga (which I love because you can squeeze 10min yoga sesion between other activities) and Lynne Robinson's Powerhouse Pilates (for when I just want a very relaxing work out) and Shape-Up the Pilates Way (for a more demanding workout but I don't recomend it unless you feel already comfortable with Powerhouse Pilates). The three videos/dvds are available from Amazon

DecafArabica Thu 10-Feb-05 13:00:09

May I butt in to ask if anyone has done pilates during pregnancy--or do you see it more as a post-natal thing?

Prettybird Thu 10-Feb-05 13:30:06

I started Pilates while I was pregnant - or rather I had one session and then found out I was pregnant. She was happy to let me continue as I showed her some of the other exercises I had been doing and that I was "body aware" enough to cope with the "new" techniques.

It really helped me. It also made my day when my GP told me that it was difficult to examine me as I had such good stomache muscles - I had never had strong stomache muscles in my life!

My "bump" was so neat that they expected a 7 pounder - and out came ds at 8lb 15!

Post pregnancy it also helped - although it did mask some damage that had been done to my pelvic floor by the forceps/large baby, as it made certain of my muscles strong enough to compensate for the fact that others weren't working (so I didn't get any of the "normal" symptoms of damage).

But I'd still swear by its benefits - and if I do manage to conceive again, intend to continue doing it for as long as possible - and as quickly as possible afterwards.

Chandra Thu 10-Feb-05 13:38:47

Decaf you can do pilates during pregnancy but you need to avoid certain exercises that my damage your abdominal muscles (but then, pilates is very much about working those muscles). As I was not in a class and didn't had any pilates instructor qualified to intruct pregnant women I decided not to risk it and left it until 2 months after birth. There's a pilates for pregnancy video sold by the NCT and Amazon but believe me, is boooooooooooooooring to death, with all the faith I have in pilates I couldn't get further than 15 minutes of her unexpresive talk and lack of eye contact with the camera.

Prettybird Thu 10-Feb-05 13:59:05

Now that Chandra mentions it, there were certain exercises that my instructor wouldn't let me do - eg ones that involves turn out or too much of a stretch - but would ususally give me an alternative. It was Body Control Pilates (essentially mat based), so I don't know if that has a bearing. She also had me doing extra relaxing of the pelvic floor exercises, when the rest of the class was doing something I couldn't do. I also couldn't do some of the exercsie involving lying on your stmoache later in the pregnanacy - for obvious reasons! I was also never bothered by lying on my back until very late on. As it happens, I stopped at about 30 weeks anyway, as that was when she stopped for the summer holidays.

I was confident that she wouldn't do anything "bad" for me, as she actaully trains some of the physios at the maternity hospital - one of whom was in the class with me. (Actually - yesterday we had another trainee in the class, going through her supervised sessions to become a Pilates instructor herself, who was a physio at another of the Glasgow hospitals).

But you DO need to be sure you have an instructor who is epxerienced. There are a lot out there who have only done a few hours of so-called Pliates training and then claim to be a Pilates instructor.

DecafArabica Thu 10-Feb-05 15:14:38

Thanks for the advice. I'm near a pretty good yoga/pilates studio where there are 3 mat-work teachers, I'll ask if any of them work with pregnant women.

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