Choosing a Pilates Class.
Key considerations to suit your particular health and fitness goals.Are you considering a Pilates Class for conditioning, health and fitness? Or maybe to strengthen your body to minimise conditions like back pain? If so - do read on - and I will step you through some key considerations when choosing the RIGHT Pilates class for your needs and goals.
I have written this article SPECIALLY for those who are aleady suffering from Back or Neck Pain - or tend to develop this type of pain easily.
Pilates classes vary greatly. They range from small classes of 6-8 persons to over 30 depending on the instructor, equipment, venue and style that is being taught.
So, what are the important considerations before you sign up for a class of Pilates?
Let's start off with the plusses and minuses of large classes. If you are fully fit and have no aches and pains then the larger class may suit you. Large classes are often cheaper to attend but you obviously get very little attention compared with a smaller class setting. But if you are familiar and very confident with the principles of Pilates you should be able to manage this class environment.
However, be sure that your Pilates instructor is fully qualified in Pilates or is a Physiotherapist/Physical Therapist working in the muscle imbalance world of rehabilitation. Finally, if you ever suffer from pain - either during or after your class - seek a smaller class immediately!
Right - so, what else should you consider when choosing the right Pilates class for you - especially is you are concerned about worsening a Back or Neck Pain condition?
I have been teaching Pilates for ten years now and these are the considerations that we take in our Pilates studio, when advising people on which class to attend. If the class setting is not appropriate for a back or neck problem that they may have - we do "one on one" sessions with these people in order to ensure we provide them with a tailored and specific programme for their postural needs.
I insist on potential Pilates students having a postural analysis with a Pilates instructor prior to attending their first class. This is where your posture type is assessed and labelled. From this process we understand where your problems are and which aspects of the Pilates method is most important for you to address.
Once you and your tutor are aware of these issues, the benefits you will achieve, in my experience, will be greatly enhanced over a short period of time. Again, this assessment is vital if you suffer from back or neck pain.
Also, not all Pilates exercises suit all body types and back pain problems. So, if you are not familiar with the exercises that are of most importance to you, you could be doing more harm than good to your body.
This is especially significant if you suffer from back or neck pain, as back and neck pain can be seriously worsened by Pilates if you are doing the exercises incorrectly, or as I have often found people doing the wrong exercise programme for their specific problems. If you have back or neck pain always see a chartered physiotherapist or physical therapist before embarking on a Pilates programme. They will give you correct direction.
We take a maximum of ten in our Pilates classes. This is to ensure all our students can be monitored and corrected in their performance continuously. I believe all clients with neck or back pain require constant correction and advice as back pain alters the way we stand, sit and move.
We also have a class statement at the beginning of each class that insists that nobody should work into any pain or discomfort. A small setting allows your instructor to adapt your position in each exercise if pain is occurring.
NEVER WORK THROUGH PAIN!
Different pieces of equipment can be used in Pilates classes. The technique in using equipment effectively requires a lot of attention from your instructor. This is another reason we insist on small classes as equipment used incorrectly can worsen your pain, or in some cases create an injury.
Finally there are various levels of difficulty in Pilates exercises. We range these exercises from level 1 to level 5. It is vital that you do not progress through these exercise levels prematurely. You must be able to control your body through the level 1 exercise before you progress to level 2, and so on.
Pilates is a slow burn exercise programme and should not be competitive between classmates. Pilates "is between you and your body" - just forget the world around you. Once you have taken the right precautions in selecting the right pilates class for you - it's time to reap the benefits and rewards!
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Further References:Discover the History and Benefits of Pilates
What Pilates Equipment should you use?
What is Core Strength Training?
Choosing Yoga vs Pilates for back pain relief.
How useful is Pilates During Pregnancy?
Have a look at some Pilates Sample Exercises
Back Pain Overview
Back Pain Products
Back Pain Types
Back Pain Management
Specific Back Pain
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The information on this web site does not replace specific medical advice. It should only be used to complement advice from your doctor. Always seek in-person advice from a doctor or other qualified health provider for your particular condition.