Pilates Introduction

What is Pilates?

Founded by JosephPilates (1883-1967) in the 1920's. The Pilates method has become one of the most popular physical conditioning and rehabilitative exercise methods for all ages, abilities and fitness levels. Pilates suffered from severe childhood illness, and was given a very short life expectancy.  How wrong could they be! Through experimenting with many different health and fitness approaches he managed to rebuild his body strength to a fine physique, correcting the curvatures of his legs and spine that his illnesses had caused.  He developed a system which he believed promoted the perfect balance of strength and flexibility, and which he called ‘Contrology’.  Pilates is NOT just a set of exercises.

Why Pilates?

Pilates will help you develop an awareness of the way you use your body, and enable you to control your body through all planes of motion. With a focus on core stability, including pelvic and shoulder girdle stabilisation, neutral alignment and breathing, Pilates helps restore the natural curves of the spine, relieve tension and enhance self-confidence.  The result is a balanced and aligned body that looks fit, is pain free and moves with ease – important for rehab patients, athletes or anyone looking to maintain health and fitness.

Who can benefit from Pilates?

Whether your goal is increased athletic performance, injury rehabilitation, pre or post-natal fitness, training for a specific goal or event, or simply enhancing your overall wellness and flexibility, Pilates training can bring profound results and balance the entire body.The emphasis of the exercises is to work on the deep stabilising muscles of the torso and to create long, lean muscles. The deeper muscles stabilise us and help us to standup tall, giving proper support to the spine and encouraging good joint mobility. Pilates exercises also promote physical awareness which is the key to making postural improvements and moving more freely.

Benefits of Pilates

· Improves your posture and back health
· Improves mobility and flexibility of the spine
· Develop long, lean muscle tone and flexibility to help weight loss
· Establish core strength
· Increases stability for the pelvis and shoulders
· Improves the health of joints through increased mobility and support from the surrounding musculature
· Helps improve athletic performance
· Injury rehabilitation and prevention
· Improve mind-body awareness

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation

Heidi specialises in back injuries, knees, hips and shoulders rehabilitation working on Pilates equipment such as the reformer, using springs for resistance to gain a heightened muscular endurance compared to Pilates on the mat. Many injuries are caused by muscular imbalances within our bodies. Many things cause these imbalances, our posture, and the way we move. Most of us move incorrectly in some way or another, which puts too much pressure on some muscles and weakens others, causing an imbalance. That is often the case after an injury as your body will start compensating and therefore create imbalance within your body, which means the body is much more perceptible to serious strains, pulls, tears or worse. I personally find as people have limited time for their fitness they tend to concentrate on working out hard but not listening to what their body really needs ending up with injuries. My strength and conditioning small group classes look to address this issue and are designed to create optimal musculoskeletal performance through mobility, stability, strength, and endurance. Pilates in known to be good to restore function following neurological impairments such as strokes,Parkinson’s and MS, and is ideal for reducing the effects of ageing, osteoporosis and menopause.

Pilates for Sport

Pilates and Running

Many runners are unaware of the importance of a strong core, which is the foundation of your running technique. Without it, form and technique tend to diminish when you become tired, which frequently lead to stress related injuries. But Pilates will help strengthen you both physically and mentally.
Pilates creates a stronger, more flexible spine and core, and also promotes faster recovery from strains or injuries, as well as preventing them completely.
For a runner, posture is one of the key elements to success, and posture is dependent on a strong core. Pilates develops a strong core by supporting and strengthening the muscles of the torso, hips shoulders and pelvis. These will eventually lead to a huge positive difference in your posture, technique, balance and stability, which results in more efficient movement and a much reduced chance of injury. Pilates will:•Build up the back muscles evenly
• Elongate and align the spine for better stability
• Expand the diaphragm
• Increase overall flexibility, strength, and balance
• Increase range of motion in hips and shoulders
• Provide more upright running
• Help bodies recover faster from injuriesPerformance benefits:
• Run more efficiently and rapidly with a stabilised musculature and a stronger and more balanced sciatic area
• Experience less tightening of the neck, head and shoulders
• Increase oxygenation and stamina with a diaphragm that is able to fully expand
• Focus on proper movement with better kinaesthetic awareness
• Decrease fatigue because of less strain on the body
• Run without pain!

Pilates for cycling

Cycling can cause problems with tightness and posture. It requires being in constant forward flexion. This causes excessive bending of the lumbar spine, a forward rotation of the pelvis and over stretching the muscles in the upper back, resulting in the shoulders rolling forward and a shortening of chest muscles. Tight pectorals, rounded shoulders, overdeveloped quads and outer thigh muscles, tight hip flexors and tight hamstrings will likely be apparent in cyclists. These imbalances put strain on the joints and spine, and might lead to knee and back injuries.  Pilates creates a stronger, more flexible spine and core, and also promotes faster recovery from strains or injuries, as well as preventing them completely.What does a strong core do for cyclists? Core strength helps transfer more power to the pedals by providing a solid platform for the lower body to push against. Riding with a weak core can be compared to putting a Porsche engine inside a Ford chassis. You can have all the power in the world but with a weak chassis the power will dissipate elsewhere. Pilates exercises are targeted to develop strength in the deep intrinsic muscles of the abdomen and spine, taking pressure off the superficial muscles and promoting more balanced and efficient use. This kind of inner strength training, along with Pilates’ focus on alignment and torso stability will support you as a cyclist through those long rides, without the risk of injury. Pilates also helps you become more self aware about what each part of your body is doing. This awareness allows you to correct the things that will increase your speed, power and enjoyment on the bike.

Private Training

Private Training

Private or duet sessions on the reformer are available which allows me to work more closely with your body. This can be beneficial for clients who are new to Pilates and wanting the basics in place before joining a group class, to those who are competing at the highest level in their sport, or those who have an injury or a special condition.

"Heidi is an inspiring trainer, her enthusiasm for fitness and well-being is infectious and although sessions are challenging, they are always well planned, tailored to the group or individual and fun. Her Pilates expertise is relevant to all her sessions, focusing on posture and avoiding injuries. My strength, self-confidence and fitness have all improved thanks to Heidi and I’d highly recommend her sessions regardless of your fitness level."