10 to 20 years ago, you could be forgiven for thinking Pilates was just for girls - you may not have even heard about it or even how to pronounce the name!
However, most people now have heard about Pilates and how it is good for the “core.” Newspaper or magazine articles write about how Pilates helps with problems such as back pain and how by strengthening and stabilising your body you can prevent problems and generally help your posture.
Top level sportsmen and women have introduced Pilates into their fitness programmes. In 2017 the International Journal of Sport, Exercise and Training Science found that men who did a one-hour Pilates class three times a week for ten weeks were able to improve step ups and leg press performance because of the strength gained. Advances in Applied Science Research reported in 2015 how regular Pilates improved leg strength, gait and walking speed – all important in preventing falls for people in their sixties and older. Pilates is now an essential part of the training programmes of Olympic athletes and professional rugby players, England, Wales and New Zealand Rugby Union teams use Pilates to build strength and offset injury. A former professional football coach, Jon Ashton, explained that Pilates improves mobility and flexibility as well as balance and strength. “I get them to do 10-15 minutes every day.” So, it is not just for the girls.
Clients come to us either as they have been treated for injuries here by a physiotherapist or if they have been recommended to start Pilates to aid recovery and prevent injury by another medical adviser such as an osteopath, chiropractor or GP. Some clients come to our classes because they feel their posture needs improving, they want to look taller, fitter, slimmer or some come for the mental relaxation that comes with practising Pilates. Pilates is a mind-body exercise – the focus is on how to use your core to help you move better and relax your brain.
We assess all clients before they join a class so that they start at a level of Pilates this is right for them, whether that is for a complete beginner, to the sportsmen and women who are recovering from injury. An assessment is carried out and an individual plan is made so that they can either join a class or see an instructor on a 1:1 basis or both. You will then be given a little homework to take away with you.
At your assessment you will be taught about your core and how to use your muscles correctly and terms like “setting the core,” “centring” and “key elements” will be explained to you. Specific Pilates exercises designed to target any problems you may have will be given to you and these will increase in difficulty as you progress through the classes.