Rebuilding is the sixth post in a series called “My Pilates Journey” where Mary writes about her experience as she begins Pilates sessions with Chris Blagdon at the Edinburgh Pilates Centre. Click here to read about the first class.
The stages of the Pilates sessions so far have been first to loosen up the problem areas that I had, and then to rearrange them into a more beneficial posture. The sessions I have done have targeted my lats (latissimus dorsi), lower back, abdominals, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings and calves to help shift how the body holds itself. Then it is about rebuilding and strengthening the muscles to the new, more beneficial position, to retrain how the body is positioned into when in it’s natural state.
My previous experience, perhaps similarly to many of you, of building up strength was in a gym and usually included weight machines, free weights, and bars. Chris explained that this method of building strength used short muscles rather than long muscles. What he means by this is that the machines that you use in the gym usually encourage you to bring the weight towards your centre. This shortens the muscle and gives you the ‘bulk’ that is often attributed with bodybuilders – as an extreme example. Whereas in Pilates, you push away from your centre. This lengthens the muscles as you strengthen them resulting in a leaner physique.
This has started to happen to myself. Throughout this process so far, I have lost weight and become a bit leaner. I don’t want anyone to read this and think that Pilates is a weight loss exercise and give anyone false information rather to share my experience and that it’s more of an added bonus to the process rather than the main goal. For those that want to know more about Pilates and weight loss, Chris spoke about the two in this blog here.
Exercise of the week:
This is an exercise you could do at home if you could find similarly shaped pieces of equipment and a strap to hold your foot in place. This movement works your obliques.
- Ensure that you are firmly on the block and put your inner arm across your chest while resting your collarbone and the outer arm out straight with your lats pulled down.
- With your abdominals tightened, from your starting position, exhale and lift your torso up until you feel a pinch in your obliques, inhale and go back to your starting position.
- Repeat this ten times and then swap sides.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about Pilates or are interested in beginning your own Pilates journey.