WHAT IS PILATES GOOD FOR, AND HOW DOES IT SCULPT THE BODY?
Pilates is a complete workout for both the body and mind. It is an exercise system that works on the stabilizing muscles to ensure the most optimal posture.
“There is a keen focus on core (internal stomach muscles and obliques) as well as lengthening the muscles throughout the body. It is performed with and without equipment and is suitable for all ages. You have no idea how much you actually need Pilates until you start.”
HOW HAS THE SYSTEM DEVELOPED OVER TIME?
“There is a group of traditional exercises—performed on a mat—that Joseph Pilates developed initially when he was creating Pilates, she explains. “From these exercises many other exercises have been created.”
“For example, you can do the 100s on the mat as well as perform the 100s on a reformer, but your hands are in straps. You can also perform it on the cadi, but your hands are in springs. Pilates Art Center works to create a program that not only strengthens and tones areas, but also stretches and lengthens other areas. Sometimes it is impossible to achieve a toned or flat area without first stretching or releasing another area. This is the sculpting.”
HOW MANY SESSIONS PER WEEK DO YOU RECOMMEND TO GET OPTIMUM RESULTS?
“Two sessions a week is key to seeing great results. If you can manage to commit to two sessions a week over a three-month period, you will not believe the change – the change to your shape and overall tone will have everyone asking what you are doing. You will look and feel better than you ever have.”
WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE PILATES EXERCISE?
Pilates is about a continuous flow of exercises that target the entire body, so that at the end of a session everything has been worked effectively. Depending on what you need, the most effective exercise could be a stretch, a roll down or a squat.
If I had to give a general exercise, it would be an abdominal sequence of 100s into single-leg stretch into double-leg stretch. This would leave your abs burning. Alternatively, a side-lying glute exercise can have amazing results on lifting and sculpting the bottom area.
DO YOU NEED TO COMBINE CARDIO WITH PILATES FOR A COMPLETE WORKOUT?
If your objective is to lose more than five pounds, then yes, I suggest including a cardio workout a week.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REFORMER AND MAT PILATES?
Reformer Pilates can make exercises easier or harder depending on what you are after or, more importantly, what your body needs. I believe the main difference between the two is that the reformer allows for faster and more effective muscle isolation and therefore results.
It also has the resistance element that mat work does not have. A continuous, strong workout on the reformer can leave you jelly-legged, fatigued and sweaty.