Even the Simplest of Exercises Can be Ramped-up to Challenge Your Core
If your reading this magazine, then you are most likely already an avid exerciser and used to visiting the gym, or you are new to the world of fitness and realize the benefits of adding exercise into your daily regimen. Either way, good for you! Working out is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It will change the way you look and more important, how you feel about yourself.
As someone who has worked in the fitness industry for a long time, I’ve seen a lot of people start exercise programs with every intention of following through, only to quit after a few months because they become bored with their routine. Hey, I’ve been there myself. But one thing is for sure, whether you work out with a trainer or on your own, it’s important to maintain a high level of enthusiasm for your program- otherwise you will want to throw in the towel, because we all know that it can be tough doing the same moves over and over again, 3-4 times a week.
The good news is that when it comes to exercising, Pilates leads the way in Innovative ways to keep you motivated and up for the challenge. There is a large misconception that Pilates involves very intricate moves that only dancers would be able to execute, or requires large equipment that is bulky, hard to obtain, and expensive. But what most people don’t know is that Pilates can just as easily be incorporated into regular workout programs by using a few basic props that can be found around your gym or fitness facility.
You can even spruce up your regular workout routine by adding exciting new dimensions and intensities to basic exercises. Fitness Instructors, athletic coaches, and rehab specialists are realizing that in order to keep their clients’ attention and/or enthusiasm for specific targeted muscle group or body part, changing the way the move is preformed is crucial. Therefore, adding a prop or changing the dynamics of a particular exercise can make all the difference.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that some popular Pilates exercises can put strain on the lower back in people with typical postural imbalances. The good news is that there are numerous basic exercises that can be performed and /or modified on the mat that can be helpful, in addition to an already- established workout program.
For instance, light Pilates equipment such as 1, 2, or 3 lb Toning Balls can help close the kinetic chain, add proprioceptive awareness, and add challenge to exercises by increasing the load, or destabilizing the base of support.
Stick to the Basics
Pilates matwork is the foundation of the exercise program. All the basic exercises are designed to target very specific muscle groups in very specific ways. In the STOTT PILATES method, the Five Basic Principles are used to ensure the movements are being done effectively.
“Pilates focuses on the balance of concentric and eccentric strengthening of muscles, rather than excessive static strengthening,” explains Moira Merrithew, co-founder and Executive Director of Education for STOTT PILATES. “This results in maintaining the integrity and strength of the muscle around the joints, while allowing them to move more freely, in a greater range.”
It is widely known that Pilates-based exercises help improve performance, reduce injury, and relieve stress. Unlike other hardcore strength-training regimens that focus more specifically on muscle mass, Pilates focuses on toning your muscles, thereby improving your balance and alignment.
“Pilates also assists in rehabilitation after injury and creates balance throughout the entire body,” adds Merrithew. “Pilates is a form of overall strength and conditioning used in the development of strong core muscles and joint stability, which also focuses on breathing, balance and range of motion.”