Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pilates likes and dislikes

I absolutely love Pilates, but it's not because it's easy.  It's tough and soothing somehow at the same time.  One might think if they do the same moves each time they do Pilates, it would get boring, but somehow it never is.  Most Pilates dvds I've done (and I've probably done 40 or so) have at least a dozen exercises in common with some variety amidst them.

There are some moves that I always look forward to doing and others that I just dread.

Top 3 Likes:

Single Leg Circles:  This is such a simple basic move, but it always sends soothing messages (to steal a phrase from yoga instructor Baron Baptiste) through my mind when I do them.  It works my legs, but feels relaxing too.

The Mermaid:  I add this move to my yoga asanas all the time because it is a better stretch for my side than any other I've found.  When I'm doing a Pilates dvd, I often do twice as many on one side because I don't want to switch so early when the instructor does, then I'll skip back a move on the dvd and do it twice on the other side.  Just heavenly.

The Seal:  This is usually done at the end of a Pilates routine much like Rolling like a Ball is done towards the start.  The main difference is that you have your knees out to the side instead of together and you clap, clap, clap your feet together (like a seal) as you sit up and again as you roll back and your feet are over your head.  The feet clapping together is like a bonus massage (bonus because you're already getting a massage on your back).

I love many of the side leg series exercises too.  I'll focus on those another day.

Top 3 Dislikes:

Swimming:  I always feel awkward swimming on the floor.  I stop part way wondering if my legs are truly alternating with my arms and they always are.  I just don't feel that coordinated and it doesn't feel great to do them.  But I read an article in Pilates Style magazine about Romana, who is now the grand dame of Pilates and she said that she didn't enjoy this move either, but Joseph Pilates told her she must do it and she saw great benefits.  Didn't make me feel like a wimp if even Romana didn't like it.

Teasers:  The more I do these, the better I get, but they are always TOUGH!  My legs quiver, my core feels it, I struggle at the end of each move to stay balanced, and then know that I must go back down onto the floor and come up again.  As hard as it is to do and as much as I dread it when the instructor says it's time to do the teaser, I always feel that this exercise alone does more for my body than any other Pilates move, so I press on.  And I love seeing the progress my body does after even doing them 3x a week.

Neck Pull:  I've read that this is a basic move for some.  Not for me!  I have a long torso and maybe my center is lower than most so I have a bigger challenge getting my upper half up and over the center line.  I'm not sure.  All I know is this is one of the most challenging Pilates exercises for me.  When I've been doing Pilates for a few months, then I don't hate this one as much because I have built up the strength to do it.  But generally, my core isn't strong enough and I have to modify by putting my hands in front of my face with my elbows bent instead of behind my head for coming up and over, then I put my hands back behind my head to roll back down.  The other alternative (which works better, but hurts my feet a bit) is to put weights over each foot to give me that leverage so I can come up.  It just takes tons of core strength.  But I can work up to being able to do it again since I'm doing much more Pilates now.  Maybe I'll post a video when I can!


  1. Thank you for sharing the information with us. The fitness and personal training is considered as the important method to keep our health, so it is essential for us developing more strategies for it. The Pilate is the useful method for it, we could encourage more people try it in the future.

  2. Yes I agree with you on some points... While doing Teasers exercise my Body didn't support to do... I think with experience we will do that. For my self Pilates exercise are very helpful to me to maintain healthy body.