Pilates is a unique balance of strength, stretch, reach, contract and flow. Pilates exercises are easy to make look “right.” I like to think its because Pilates is designed to make everything you are already doing in life better. So, the moves are not crazy (well ok some look bit crazy) they are natural movements our bodies should be able to do.
Like most workouts and group classes it’s easy to go into the room and do the choreography. But, unlike most workouts when you do Pilates exercises to look correct or to look like the person next to you there is a strong chance you are not feeling it in the right places.
So, if the exercises look right how do you know if you are doing them correctly? What are some ways to ensure you are doing Pilates correctly?
First, let me say that if it feels easy or it doesn’t make sense you are probably missing the concept of the exercise or some muscular connection. That doesn’t mean that if everything you are doing in Pilates is super hard, your muscles are burning and you are sweating that you are doing it right. But, that every exercise is part of a workout and should feel like you are working.
Second, not every exercise is good for everybody. There are 500+ exercises in Pilates. Some will be ideal for you and others will not be. Or, you may need to build your way up to those exercises.
Here are some tips for navigating your way through your own Pilates practice
- Connect: If you are on your mat pay attention to what body parts are touching that mat. Without bearing down how can you use the mat to support or assist you with the exercise? As you rolled up did you touch the mat the whole way up or skip a few spots along the way? When you are on the Reformer or any other piece of equipment with springs how can you tell the springs the rate to close? As you move through your exercises are you partnering up with the equipment or fighting it? Pilates is not just about connecting to your muscles but also connecting to the apparatus to support you and challenge you.
- Ask Questions: My Youtube channel has loads of “how-to” videos as well as practice tip videos. If you’ve been trying to “get” an exercise and just can’t seem to find it in your body check out my playlists for the mini version on how to do it. Then if you have questions use the comments space to connect with me.
- Practice Regularly: my online mat classes here and Pilates Anytime are amazing resources for maintaining your Pilates practice. One way to know if you’re doing Pilates correctly is to keep doing it. If the beginning exercises get tougher then you are on the right track. If they seem to be getting easier you are missing something. Use LLOGAN for 30-day free trial to Pilates Anytime and register here for $5/ week mat classes with me.
- Private Session: I get that having regular Private Pilates sessions is not always possible. But, at least one here and there to supplement the online, group or home practice you are doing is essential. To find an instructor near you check out my tips here. Or, contact me for an online Private session via Skype or Facetime.
- Trust and Consistency: Pilates is a practice. I repeat, Pilates is a practice. It’s not a Perfect. If you continue to show up regularly for your Pilates it will tell you if you are doing it right.
If you find yourself in a mat class or taking a class online at home and you are wondering if you are doing it right just remember that the person next to you might not be doing it perfectly. And, as I mentioned above it is not about being perfect. Rather, it’s about being connected to your own body, to your equipment. And, something you’ll discover in your Pilates journey is that the feeling in each exercise is quite personal to you. Your fingers and toes might not be doing the choreography perfectly but you can still be doing the exercise right.
Challenge your Pilates practice with me this week! Register for my weekly class and feel the mat beneath your body.
Pilates is a Practice. Remind yourself that whenever you wonder “Am I doing this right?”