13 Jan 10 Changes You Can Expect To See From Pilates
How can your body change from doing Pilates? What can you expect from a regular practice?
We’ll tell you right off the bat: you won’t see these changes immediately, but better sex may be on the cards! As Classical Pilates Instructor Sangyoung Cho said, “Pilates is life-long exercise.”
You may only notice some of the changes three months into your Pilates training. But your patience will ultimately be rewarded in profound ways, unlike getting jacked at the gym and losing your “gains” as soon as you burn out. If you persevere, you’ll discover that Pilates isn’t about instant results, but long-term and deep-rooted improvements in your mind and body.
Before we begin, let’s define what a regular Pilates routine means. In order for changes to become apparent in your body, you need to do Pilates workouts at least twice or thrice a week, depending on your initial private assessment and cross-training regimen. And like yoga, Pilates is a low-impact system that can and should be done everyday!
Without further ado, here are ten changes you can expect to see from Pilates:
A Firmer Butt
Dedicating time in your week working your butt and thighs will get you on track to attaining the ideal derrière. Aside from aesthetics, strengthening your glutes is essential to stabilizing the pelvis when, say, running, walking, skiing or just about anything done on your legs. Strong butt muscles also protect your back from overuse, and can thus alleviate back pain.
Pilates exercises that engage your gluteus muscles (maximus, medius and minimus) include Side Kicks, Bicycle, Inner Thigh Pulses, and more. You’ll get even better results when work your butt on on the reformer machine, so jump into your next BLT* (Butt, Legs, Tums) Pilates Allegro class like it’s hot!
Less Back Pain
Most back pain is a result of faulty posture and a sedentary lifestyle. Pilates addresses the muscle imbalances that typically contribute to back pain, such as weak abdominals and glutes. Importantly, Pilates also stretches out tight and overworked back muscles. (Also Read: How I Overcame Scoliosis Back Pain Through Pilates)
Furthermore, proper alignment is essential in alleviating back pain. If you do Pilates carefully, you’ll understand how to use your body in ways that protect your back from injury. The system is one of the best methods you can use to keep your back healthy, regardless of your age or of other exercise regimens you have.
Longer and Leaner Musculature
If you tend to bulk up when you work out, Pilates is an ideal strength-training programme for you. Pilates exercises accentuate the length of the limbs and change bulky muscles into longer and leaner ones. In general, Pilates exercises should lengthen your muscles and make you look taller as well. Now tell us you don’t want that!
Better posture is something pretty much guaranteed with a consistent Pilates practice. This change will be noticeable after only a few Pilates workouts. If you take the lessons seriously, you’ll stand and sit taller and look more elegant as a result! Some important rules to keep in mind include pulling your navel in toward your spine, keeping your head balanced on top of your hips (not forward or behind), lengthening the back of your neck, keeping your shoulders back and down while keeping your back wide.
A Flatter Tummy
While losing a little weight is an effective way to get a flatter tummy, doing Pilates will get you that in a better way, and much more. The system helps to get rid of the middle bulge by creating a habit of pulling your navel in toward your spine or scooping your abdominals. The most basic aspect of the Pilates method helps you to lose that notch in your belt, which you might still have despite being skinny. Applying simple Pilates techniques to your everyday life – when standing, walking and so on – will get your belly flatter for far longer.
Pilates exercises stretch the muscles and joints while strengthening the body. If you have found that your spine has lost some of its range of motion and flexibility, Pilates is a tool to work through those issues. Everyone has physical limitations that depend on age, genetics and lifestyle. While Pilates is not a panacea, regular exercises in the system will help your body reach its potential in areas of flexibility and strength.
Believe it or not, the newfound body control that Pilates brings about will improve your performance in bed! You may find that increased back and hip flexibility will get you into positions you previously couldn’t do. You may also discover increased control of your pelvic muscles, which may enhance sexual pleasure. If having sex hurts your back, you may find that you’re going to love what Pilates can do for you… and so will your partner!
If anything, Pilates should give you improved body awareness. You may never have thought about pulling in your tummy, sitting up tall, or keeping your shoulder blades down away from your ears without your instructor constantly correcting your body organization. More importantly, you may never have been as conscious of the power of breathing! The things you discover in Pilates will start to filter into your daily life, and you may find yourself correcting your habits naturally as a result.
Any gymnast knows that to keep from falling off the balance beam, you need to pull in your belly and squeeze “that silver dollar” in your butt. In order to achieve good balance, you’ll need to have a strong center, and know how to find it instinctively. Pilates exercises strengthen the core, and as a result give you increased coordination and balance.
Any exercise regimen should increase your body’s overall strength, otherwise what’s the point? What makes Pilates special, however, is that it strengthens the muscles in your body in a way that supports you on a daily basis. From getting up from bed to doing a triple backflip off the diving board, Pilates can help you! The exercises improve strength in meaningful ways whatever activity you do, especially as it helps with the overall health of your spine – which you need for every single movement. Finally, doing Pilates can prevent injuries for all the reasons listed above!
Source: Pilates For Dummies by Ellie Herman, published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Flex Studio is a premium boutique fitness studio, Hong Kong’s home of intelligent fitness since opening in 2005. With two branches in Central and Wong Chuk Hang, Flex is the city’s only Classical Pilates outfit and first-ever Xtend Barre programme. It focuses on health and wellbeing by way of Pilates, yoga, barre and more. As an industry leader, Flex Studio holds teacher trainings and instructor certifications alongside wellness workshops using world-class equipment in state-of-the-art facilities.