Pilates spectrum

The Pilates ‘spectrum’

The Pilates ‘spectrum’

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Guest Blog Post Written by Melissa Anderson Owner; Körpermotus Pilates (123 Unley Rd, Unley)

We have heard it often - ‘Pilates was too easy; just seemed like I was just stretching’ or ‘I was in a group class, it moved too fast and I felt like I couldn’t keep up’.

Hopefully I can explain why that might be the case, so you can continue with your Pilates classes!

The Pilates Method consists of a spectrum of movements and equipment to cater for all clients, and wherever you reside, we promise that being patient (as hard as what that can be) it’s worth it!

I’ll be explaining the different types of classes (such as mat and reformer Pilates classes) to help with a better understanding.

What do you mean by ‘spectrum?’

Due to the overall method, the movements and the variations that the Pilates method contains, Pilates is able to cater for a range of pathologies and goals.

With this in mind, the goal is to match (or at least get as close to matching) your expectations with the requirements of your body.

The Spectrum:

At one end of the spectrum would be those who are:

  • injured

  • just come out of surgery

  • new to Pilates or

  • mid-late stage pregnancy

Ideally, you would work with the likes of a Diploma-qualified (or equivalent) Pilates instructor (note: seek classes that are individually programmed or request private sessions rather than general classes) or a Pilates-trained physio, chiro or other allied-health professional would be conducting the session.

It’s not to say that these sessions won’t be challenging; it’s more about the suitability to the current pathological status to ensure an injury-free future or management plan.

This may require what could be seen as ‘boring’ exercises, but we ask that you keep asking questions if you feel like you’re not sure of the ‘why’s’, as these exercises tend to be the ones you may need the most.

You should be able to find classes and privates like these at dedicated equipment Pilates studios and physio/chiro/allied health clinics.

For those who have moved a lot and/or are only limited to ‘niggles’ here and there, small and large Pilates classes (of any kind) are financially viable, usually at times around work and have a great mix of challenges and mobility work.

In an ideal world, a few smaller classes or at least an introduction will help to break down your own personal understanding of better breathing, pelvic and spine alignment and head and shoulder posture.

Sounds fussy, but constant consideration of these components (as well as a few other things!) are the underlying focus of Pilates.

Please also note that Pilates isn’t a gym workout replacement – this isn’t to say that you won’t feel worked, but your expectations from Pilates shouldn’t be to sweat and frequent fatigue.

If you are wanting that feeling, I’d recommend adding Pilates as an accompaniment to other HIIT/strength classes to ensure your goals are met across the week.

These group classes can be found at a Pilates studio, a physio practice, a Pilates franchise studio and a gym.

These classes can be of the mat, reformer, chair or equipment variety depending on the studio/clinic.

I recommend to still search for Pilates-qualified instructors (rather than a quick weekend course) and to assess if a smaller (5-10) or larger (10-12+) class size is better suited to get the most value out of the method.

When it comes to different class ‘types’, finding suitability may come down to your current injury or level of confidence rather than a mat or equipment class.

That’s not to say you can’t attend one or the other; the studio in your area will be able to further explain their approach and what would be best suited initially.

Types of Pilates Classes:

Mat classes:

These classes can be smaller or larger in size depending on the studio or the gym and primarily consist of exercises on the mat with small equipment and props for added challenge or support.

It’s common to see pre and post-natal mat classes as well as age and level specific classes.

It’s common to see these classes at gyms, but please be mindful that these classes may not be ‘Pilates’ per se; if it’s just full of abdominal exercises then you’re not getting the full Pilates experience!

Clinical/studio/equipment classes:

These classes are commonly held as a 1:1 up to a 5:1 client/instructor ratio depending on the studio.

The Pilates equipment allows for more challenge, support and mobility whilst also allowing us to get more specific with your injury or your goal.

Some equipment moves on a fixed line, where others move around; so when it comes to building up shoulder strength after a rotator cuff injury for example, we can challenge and support accordingly.

The equipment consists of, but is not limited to:

  • reformers

  • trapeze tables (or Cadillac)

  • chairs

  • baby barrels

  • ladder barrels.

Due to the nature of these classes, they are usually individually programmed rather than everyone doing the same movements at once.

Reformer classes:

When you hear someone say ‘I do reformer Pilates’, this is it – but there isn’t really such thing as ‘reformer Pilates’ in the sense that it’s another method, it’s just that the reformer is so versatile in its offerings that it makes for a great class.

I do recommend sticking to small class sizes to ensure you’re receiving appropriate instruction and cueing to get the most out of your class.

Depending on the studio you may see beginner and intermediate classes, however some studios also cater for all within the one class and ensure the spring setup is suitable.

I recommend contacting the studio you’re interested in to confirm.

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Joseph Pilates once said:

“Concentrate on the correct movement each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all vital benefits.”

So with that in mind, I hope that the explanation of the ‘spectrum’ of Pilates and the types of classes offered has enabled you to find the most suited and valuable class type for your current situation, and that you feel more informed to make decisions down the track if that changes.

Alternatively you can visit www.korpermotuspilates.com.au as we are always happy to have new faces at the studio!

Happy Pilates-ing!

Melissa Anderson

Owner; Körpermotus Pilates – Cross-pollinating movement forms to create better humans

Level 1/123 Unley Rd, Unley SA 5061