Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pilates But Were Afraid to Ask
If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you know that we have a new Pilates class starting this Sunday. So today we have our new Pilates instructor Karina S. here to answer all your questions (full disclosure: she also wrote the questions) about the ab-rockin’ discipline created by Mr. Joe Pilates. Let’s do it!
What is Pilates exactly? Is it like Yoga?
If I had to define it in the same way we define CrossFit (constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity), Pilates is “a movement system designed to balance muscular development, increase proprioception (mind-body connection), improve movement quality, and generally enhance quality of life.”
Pilates is like Yoga only in the sense that they both happen on a mat, are stereotypically popular with the same groups of people, and often some stretching is involved.
So it’s like Yoga?
No. Stop asking that question.
Yoga is my only frame of reference for this kind of thing. Don’t be rude.
Ok. You’re right, I was being rude.
First off, let’s be clear that there are lots of different kinds of yoga (Yin, Vinyasa, DJ Yoga, Yoga with Goats, etc.) So if we have to settle on the very loose definition of Yoga that you will spend around an hour on a mat, you’ll go through a sequences of movements, there might be some props, you’ll come out feeling good. Yes, Pilates is similar.
Some ways a Pilates class might be different:
- A focus on initiating all movements from your center or “core.”
- My personal experience with yoga is that is is very planar (front, back, side, other side, twist) while Pilates will move your body and spine in all ranges of motion, it also encourages you to understand your movement in 3 dimensions and therefore allow you to find and correct imbalances and sub-optimal habits.
- Relentless focus on form. You’ll be hard pressed to get away with any funny business. You might also meet “the claw” which will help you not get away with any bad habits outside of Pilates.
- Trying to figure out optimal movement for your body. Just like CrossFit, Pilates is infinitely scaleable. Even if you’re injured or even if you’re an elite athlete you can always move a little better and we’re going to spend the hour getting you there.
Ok I’m glad we have that cleared up. What’s an average class like?
You’ll walk in and grab a mat, sit or lie down and chill. I’ll say hello and then ask about any injuries. Then I’ll ask if there are any requests (certain exercises, parts of the body you want to work on) and then we’ll get started. If you come regularly, you’ll see that there are exercises we do nearly every time and some I’ve thrown in based on requests or from what I see happening in the room. This allows you to check in and compare yourself to how your body felt the previously and allow you to expand your movement vocabulary. Then we’ll wrap up class and you’ll leave feeling way better than when you came in. Like floating, super-tall feeling better.
So should I use Pilates as a warm-up or cool-down or what?
Both! I use Pilates as a warm up because it lets me wake up all the little supporting muscles in my body, gets my blood moving, limbers me up and gets my core and the rest of my body ready to deal with the demands I’m going to place on it.
It’s also fantastic as a cool down after a workout. I find Pilates works really well after the WODs where I feel “not right” afterwards (see: anything with the assault bike) as it helps iron out and organize a jangled neurological system. And of course you can use it on an active recovery day. I like to think of Pilates as a body mechanic. You’ll go through your whole system and check in and then make adjustments until things are moving a little more smoothly.
You said in an earlier profile that “Pilates will make you a better athlete or I will eat a Nike Metcon.” How will Pilates make me a better athlete?
- Your core will become substantially stronger. This will transfer to and improve nearly almost every single movement you’re likely to come across in Crossfit and in life.
- You will become better at, and understand more about bracing. So you’re likely to see a better Squat, Press, and Clean.
- Your hollow and arch positions will be tuned like a finely tuned violin. This will help your kip in every variation.
- Wanna feel better Snatching? We’ll improve your overhead range of motion and stability.
- You’ll understand your body better. Giving you better data on when you should push harder and when you should back off.
- You’ll get terminology that will make you more coachable. Ever hear “knees out” when you’re squatting? Lets break down why they need to be “out,” and why they were “in” in the first place.
Cool. Would you really eat a shoe though?
Maybe if it was a Flyknit Metcon? I’m pretty comfortable in my statement that a regular (minimum once a week) Pilates practice will improve everyone’s performance. I’d be especially interested to see what would happen on 1RM test days.
Do you think you’d have to cook it?
The shoe? I don’t know. Do you have any other Pilates related questions?
When is Pilates at CFSBK?
Sundays 12pm, in the Annex. It’s included in your membership!
Do you want us to know anything else?
I love to teach and I especially love to teach athletes so I’m really excited to get to teach you guys! We’re gonna have a lot of fun and remind me to tell you the joke about the hippo.
Just come to class on Sunday.
News and Notes
- Tomorrow’s 10am Yoga for Athletes class is cancelled. We promise it doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion above! Coach Whit will be out of town.
- All CrossFit Kids classes are cancelled this Sunday, August 12th.
- A new cycle of Active Life Strength with Coach Keith starts this Tuesday. Get out of pain, stay out of pain, strengthen your weaknesses, and improve mobility and movement patterns, all while getting stronger! This is a predominantly strength-based class very specifically programmed to strengthen movements and improve positions based on your individual needs. For more info, testimonials, and the registration link, see this post!
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