Spooky Myth # 1- Pilates is Easy
There are some exercises in Pilates where if you were to walk by the studio and look in the window you might think- they’re barely even moving, or- they’re moving so slowly, that can’t be hard!! But looks can be deceiving. Pilates requires a precise coordination between your limbs, torso, and breath, and strong concentration from the mind for specific muscle engagement. Because of this, a seemingly “simple” move can require a lot of effort and work, and that “simple” move has immense impact! Pilates is always working your whole body throughout a movement, and when you slow this movement down, it requires incredible amounts of core control. While Pilates can be modified to suit all different body types and needs, this doesn’t mean it’s a simple or easy form of exercise. A good instructor will teach to the body in front of them, and the version of an exercise that one person does might not be the version another does. Rest assured whatever variation, though, you’ll be working hard!
Spooky Myth #2- Pilates is just for Women
Let’s face it, Pilates is popular with women but this changing! After all, the person who developed the Pilates movement was a man--Joseph Pilates. Joseph was a solid and intense man who enjoyed boxing, drinking, and smoking (I know, a bit contradictory to overall health, but it was the 1930’s- things were different back then!), who made some of the earlier small props out of beer keg tops! When you consider the origin of Pilates, it’s easy to see that the intentions of the method very much included men.
Most men that I work with in the studio NEED to be there: they are sore, tight, and misaligned. Pilates helps men in every area of their lives, whether they are tight football players who need agility to be able to make quick movements on the field, or sore golfers who want a better golf swing, or misaligned dads who want to be able to play more or better with their kids. I love teaching men in the studio because there is so much for them to gain, and progress can be seen and attained each and every week.
Spooky Myth #3- Pilates is a bunch of stretching
Pilates has the well deserved reputation for producing long, lean, and toned muscles, which is absolutely true! But I think there is a bit of a misconception out there that the ‘long’ is achieved because Pilates involves a bunch of “stretching”.
While stretching in Pilates happens throughout each and every exercise, it’s not like a stretch session you would do after a workout or during yoga. Pilates is strength and stretching together. Romana, one of Joseph Pilates’ original students, famously said ‘Pilates is stretch and strength with control- control is what is most important because it uses your mind’. We don’t passively stretch and ‘hangout’ in a stretch by pulling a limb as close to us as possible, we actively stretch, resist, and reach away at the same time through the limb being stretched. In Pilates we are always trying to achieve a ‘two way stretch’ eg, if one part of my body is reaching one way, how can I send more effort and more energy to send the other part of my body the other way. While a stretching session after your workout will leave you feeling limber, Pilates will leave you feeling limber and STRONG.
Spooky Myth #4- Pilates is only for your abs or core
There is SO much more to Pilates than ab work. There is ab work involved, but, Pilates’ main priority with the ‘abdominals’ is to work them ALL. This means, not just the Rectus Abdominals aka, those 6 pack abs everyone is after, but everything else too. Pilates aims to engage from the inside out, that is, from the muscles in your deep center to stabilise the spine. Your core muscles include
- the diaphragm
- rectus abdominis
- transverses abdominis
- internal obliques
- external obliques)
- deep intersegmental spinal muscles, and
- the pelvic floor.
Once we find this connection, everything in our bodies is impacted, from the way we stand and sit, to the way we breathe and even how we utilize breath to aid and support us in the exercises. Our ultimate goal for every client is for the Pilates principles to be applied outside the studio as they move about their everyday lives. The more Pilates I do, the more I realize just how impactful the method is to every part of our body (and lives!), and the more I love it.
What about you? What spooky myths have YOU heard about Pilates that you want to know the truth about?