Category Archives: Pilates

April Pilates Class Experience

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Time: 60 minutes
Areas worked: Arms, legs, chest and stomach
Equipment needed: Foam roller, 2X 1.5kg weights

I’ve been doing pilates for 13 years now; I started with classes at uni, then ones at various gyms, when I was travelling around a lot I stuck to a pilates dvd, more recently I’ve gone to kx pilates, a good classical pilates class overseas, reformer pilates and then yesterday I went to a new pilates mat class.

foam-roller

This pilates mat class was nothing like any of the other pilates I had experienced. Firstly we had to use a foam roller (good) and 2X 1.5kg weights (bad!). I was excited to incorporate using the foam roller as I have one at home but don’t use it enough; using it in the class was a combo of being relaxing/adding a challenging balance element to the exercises.

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Some of the moves were good, such as the planks, standing roll downs and hip exercises that involved lying on your side, but unfortunately some of the moves were a bit questionable and in my mind didn’t stick to the pilates principals such as doing the 100 with weights in each hand, chest presses and weighted deep squats (holding both 1.5kg weights together (= 6lbs! Tracy would cry!). The reason that I recently stopped going to reformer pilates (although I enjoyed it) is that my quads had gotten so big (along with my arms getting bigger and building out my waist) it depressed me every time I saw them in a changing room mirror or if I put tight trousers on, unfortunately I don’t think this class is the answer either to enjoying the good posture encouraging benefits of pilates without bulking out loads of muscles. So I will stop going to pilates for the time being and try to keep an eye out for classical pilates classes.

Every Single Tracy Anderson Muscular Structure Workout

Reformer Pilates

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Time: 45 or 60 mins
Areas worked: Chest, legs and stomach
Equipment needed: Reformer

After becoming disappointed with my kx pilates sessions- that inflated my thighs and made it near impossible to walk downstairs I decided to try a PROPER PURE Pilates class on the reformer.

The class was nice and easy as I was familiar with the majority of the moves from doing my More than Mat Pilates Advanced DVD. The leg moves were fluid and I felt like a ballerina, the ab moves weren’t too challenging, however the arm moves were tough! Being conditioned to being REALLY GOOD at lifting just 1lb weights, it was a lot harder using the weight on the machine.

Walking home my after my workout posture was perfect! It didn’t really feel like a workout as I didn’t break a sweat or really get my heart rate up but I enjoyed it so I’m going to keep going. I’m looking forward to it getting more challenging- not on my arms though!

KX Pilates

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Time: 50 minutes
Areas worked: Arms, chest, legs and stomach
Equipment needed: Reformer, dumbells, ball, ring and box

I only found out recently that this isn’t a proper pilates class! As it was my first reformer pilates class and it was advertised as pilates I thought it would actually be pilates. Turns out it wasn’t! This is the blurb: “KX Pilates is a revolutionary new fast paced, High Intensive body-toning workout that fuses the core strengthening elements of traditional Pilates with circuit, cardio and endurance training.” So although it does have SOME of the pilates principals, it does lots of things that aren’t about pilates.

For someone who exercises everyday I was arrogant enough to believe this would be a breeze- it was not! I do the Tracy Anderson Method almost every day and yoga and mat pilates on average once a week, I think what makes these classes so tough is the added weight as I only ever usually use 1lb weights. Compared to mat pilates there is also the added benefit that because you’re on the reformer your balance is really challenged and because of the positioning the exercises target right where they need to.

I found the leg exercises the easiest, the ab exercises were also pretty easy although challenging at times, the arm exercises were a lot harder (this is probably due to not using high weights at home) and the chest exercises were near impossible!

I came out of the class feeling quite exhausted but with an elevated mood and not in any real pain. I also noticed my posture had improved and I could feel that the exercises had targeted my lower stomach. The following day I noticed that my shoulders and arms muscles were bigger, which wasn’t a surprise due to the weight used and as the movements used in the class were traditional exercise movements that go in straight lines which generally build muscle- bicep curls, push ups and leg presses as opposed to diagonal movements that your body is less used to, which are generally deployed in the Tracy Anderson Method.

I’d rather that my arms weren’t increasing in size, so I will try and counteract this by just going to pilates once a week (as it’s beneficial to your posture in ways other exercise methods aren’t) and doing the Tracy Anderson Method on the other days.

Your class experience really varies depending on who your teacher is, some employ more traditional pilates methods while others are like something out of a drill sergent led boot camp- focusing on isolating, exhausting and building your large muscle groups.

After finding out that this wasn’t a traditional pilates reformer class I finished the set of classes that I had paid for and tried a reformer pilates class elsewhere

Every Single Tracy Anderson Muscular Structure Workout

More than Mat Pilates Advanced

I decided to buy the More than Mat Pilates Advanced DVD as I was looking for an advanced pilates  DVD and from the reviews on Amazon this seemed like the best one. I would highly recommend this DVD as it’s a great full body pilates workout and is challenging without being off putting.

The DVD features a 10 minute warm up/pilates principals section, a 51 minute pilates routine with detailed explanation and a 29 minute pilates “Cardio Flow” routine- which is the same as the 51 minute routine but just sped up. Sarah Picot recommends completing the 51 minute detailed routine a minimum of 3-5 times a week for 6 weeks before progressing onto the cardio flow routine.