Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pilates

Pilates is a full body exercise routine/system that teaches you awareness of how to move and isolate your body. Pilates helps tone and lengthen the muscles which helps with muscle imbalance. Deep muscles known as your ‘core’ and are recruited during Pilates exercises. These muscles are the closest layer of muscle to your spine, pelvis, shoulders etc, so it is important that these are activated and that your are made aware of them. Pilates can be performed lying, sitting or standing and can really benefit your body during your daily activities.

A little background about Pilates;
Developed by a German man Joseph H. Pilates in the 1920’s.
Had poor health in childhood, so his interest in physical fitness came from this.
He was determined to strengthen his own health and body, so he developed a unique sequence of movements (pilates as we know it).
He worked as an intern in an infirmary in England during the 1st World War.
Here he engineered a rig from the springs on the bed to offer resistance exercises for patients (reformer pilates).

Moved to New York in 1926 where he drew a following from dancers.
Pilates lengthens and tones muscles which creates long, lean muscles and a strong streamlined physique, hence was very popular amongst ballet dancers etc.
The world of pilates has developed since then but everything is still strongly based on the technique and repertoire developed back in the 1920’s and has stood the test of time.

What are pilates exercises like?

Pilates exercises at the beginning are slow and controlled as its important to activate the correct muscles. This is an important rule with the sessions in Laura’s Pilates & Injury Therapy, to make sure you feel the exercise in the correct area!!! Exercises can be performed sitting, standing, lying down or on 4 point kneeling ( on hands and knees). In the following video below is a recording of the beginner versions of some exercises. They target and challenge the core, legs, hips, back, body awareness, co-ordination and tummy and arms.

Is there a difference between pilates and yoga?

In my opinion both are helpful depending on what you are looking to achieve. Pilates increases stimulus and activity to an area as we strengthen up the nerve pathways while we bring awareness to different areas in the body with movement. We help regain a muscular balance between both sides of the body in regard to length and strength. My Pilates sessions run smoothly through a sequence of exercises, where you would perform a number of repetitions rather than holding static poses. Within my classes I don’t make the breath a focal point of how I teach. This is my own personal approach as I find people can get overwhelmed with the breathing and forget about which muscles and areas we actually what to work. A few people have mentioned about how well they sleep after Pilates sessions. Perhaps this is due to the release of tension in the body through movement or else due to taking their mind off any stresses that are going on in their livies as they’re focused on where and what they are moving so they don’t get to think about their worries.

Yoga has a long history to its practise. One that I’m not going to pretend I know much about. There are many different forms of yoga classes; some concentrate more on the mind and spirit, where meditation can play a big roll in (this would be a big difference between both). Another yoga class may move through positions and hold poses for duration of time.

How will it benefit me?

• Improved body awareness
• Improved muscular activity/balance between left & right
• Improved co-ordination and balance
• Strengthening of muscles and joint structure
• Helps with pre- and rehabilitation for surgery
• Improved flexibilityIncreased stability to spine
• Improved posture
• Stress management and improved sleep
• Increased concentration

I have back troubles, can I do pilates?

Many people that come through the doors here have back trouble. Some can be due to weaknesses in those deep stabilising muscles previously talked about. This could be due to the over activity of the superficial global muscles which are used when ‘muscling/powering through’  all their movement and can end up doing the job of the deep stabilising muscles. Other people may be injured due to lifting/working where they’ve strained a muscle. Either situation Pilates can be a gentle form of exercise that allows the body to focus on recruiting the correct muscles for the action. So yes Pilates is back if you suffer from back issues.

Pilates and Pregnancy?

Pilates brings awareness to the body and helps to maintain everything to work together during a time where increase laxity within the joints and muscles can throw this off balance. Pre- and post pregnancy Pilates is catered for at Laura’s Pilates & Injury Therapy.‘

Pregnancy taxes the weakest parts of a woman’s body and exposes the liabilities of a sedentary lifestyle’, -Elizabeth Nobel – essential Exercise for the Child Bearing Year, 2003.

• Pregnancy should be thought of as Trimesters 1, 2, 3 (3 months each) and the following 3 months after birth due to the physiological changes that occur in the body, so 4 stages.

• During pregnancy to make space for the baby the abdominal wall separates. Exercise needs to be modified for this increase in separation of the abdominal wall to ensure no tears or damage occurs here. Modification must be continued even after pregnancy until the wall is a safe distance to continue with certain exercises, mainly abdominal exercises.

• As the baby grows, the Pelvic Floor is put under increase pressure. Exercises and awareness of how to active these muscles are important to allow the mother to continue with everyday activities without the fear and stress of any leeks, both in pre- and post pregnancy stages.

• The health of your back and pelvic area will be tested during pregnancy. The Sacrum is where the back and pelvis meets and it is around here that the centre of gravity is, in other words where most of our weight is supported. This obvious will add to the chance of increased discomfort, pain and weakening to these areas. Pilates helps strengthen these areas, make you aware of the muscles you are recruiting to ensure protection for your back.

How often should I do pilates?

Pilates has so many benefits and doesn’t create stress on the body so can be done everyday in your own time. The more you perform an exercise the better you will get at it and more you will take from it. Most of my clients would come once a week, with a small number coming twice a week. Those who come just once a week are amazed at how it benefits them, even though I would only give them 1-2 things to concentrate on from one week to another.

Can pilates help my sporting athletic performance?

The benefits were list earlier which would all help sporting activities. Flexibility is an important principle of fitness and at times this can be forgotten when trying to fit in training, work, family etc. Pilates helps improve flexibility, balances muscular strength and activity in both sides (which is very important for sports played on one side of the body). Also mentioned is that it helps with stress management both physically and mentally and can help you wind down and relax once the tension is released from the body.

The following link has an article about the benefits of pilates from a Rugby players point of View?

The following link has an article about the benefits of Pilates from a Golfers point of View?

Pilates is for women isn't it?

NO! Pilates for both genders and all ages and abilities

Do you use equipment during the class?

During my group classes and private 1-to-1 sessions I would use similar equipment. Firstly I always just start with body weight so participants can focus on how they are moving and what they are moving. The equipment helps bring variety to the exercises along with a extra challenge or others help increase attention to areas we try to work.

Group Classes; resistance band, inflatable balls, wobble cushion, medicine ball, Pilates ring, reformer for 2

1-to-1 sessions use extra items; reformer, suspension straps;TRX & rip:60 (similar to TRX only you can also get rotational movement on), foam roller, kettlebells and stability ball.