Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you get the most out of your Pilates classes
Ask your instructor
Instructors are trained to pick up on the non verbal cues Pilates clients send. This is however sometimes difficult to do particularly in group classes. For this very reason if you are unsure about a certain movement and or not sure which muscle groups you should be activating then the best option is to ask the instructor. This will enable them to cue you in an effective way to ensure that the exercise is achieving the desired outcome, rather than unnecessarily straining your body.
Know your limits
We all like to challenge ourselves pushing through the pain barrier, and this is important as it helps build resilience. It is however also important that you listen to your body and differentiate between muscle soreness and injury or pain. Pain is our body’s way of warning us that something is not right. It is much smarter to listen to your body than to create a chronic injury that takes months to recover from.
Be precise not extreme with movement
Unfortunately we are not all blessed with the ability to do the splits, for some people lucky enough to have that kind of hip mobility it is no problem. Joints that have increase mobility also bring with them their own pros and cons, such as increased ability to sublux or dislocate a joint.
Work with what your body gives you rather than extreme movements focus on creating precise movements. The benefits will be just as good, if not better than any extreme movement as you are isolating and training the endurance of specific muscles.
Our bodies function optimally when we have consumed enough water. Many people often do not realise that our bodies are made up of 60% water. When we are dehydrated our ability to concentrate is impaired significantly. If you are dehydrated due to extensive physical activity or warm weather, it is also important to replace your electrolytes as they assist with muscle function. I like coconut water as it provides potassium which is effective in preventing muscle cramps.
Wear the right workout gear
There is nothing worse than coming to a Pilates class and feeling self conscious in what you are wearing, or wearing something that does not provide you with enough coverage or support.
Remember that Pilates clases are active so you are often required to adopt awkward postures and your body temperature does rise. So it is best to wear exercise gear that draws moisture from you and clothing that enables you to maintain an even core temperature, whilst allowing your body to move freely.
Mastering core activation
This one does take some time however this will enable you to perform at your best during Pilates sessions. If you are able to activate your core you are able to perform movement with greater strength and accuracy. This activation of your core also provides you with endurance enabling you to sustain movement for extended periods.
Have fun with it
The most important thing about any exercise is that you should enjoy it not only for the physical benefits that it provides for you but also for the experience you have whilst undertaking it.
So do classes with friends or collegues set mini challenges around movements and enjoy the experience of Pilates