Guest Feature: Some Things You Might Not Know About Pilates

By Lisa Rennie


We're very blessed with network of experts we have at F.I.T. The guest contributions are of the highest caliber and we are so happy to be able to share them with you. This month's contributor really needs no introduction, but I'm going to say that she's certainly taught me a thing or two and her passion and attention to detail are second to none. If you've ever had the pleasure (pleasure?) of experiencing one of her classes or working one on one with her, you know what I'm talking about! It's a a real treat to have Lisa Rennie drop some knowledge on us this month. Please enjoy!


Some Things You Might Not Know About Pilates

If you’re feeling stale in your workouts, and you’ve often wondered what Pilates is all about, this may be a great time to venture in and investigate. Pilates is a very versatile exercise program, and while gyms and studios are opening up a bit now, you can definitely still get a good Pilates workout virtually. And if in person workouts are still not in your comfort zone, or you just want to get to know the work before you venture to in person class, there are plenty of online streaming classes available to you. Add to that a few small “props” and you can increase the challenge as you become more accomplished at the work.


Regardless of which way you choose to go, starting a Pilates regimen can be a game changer for you in terms of overall strength, feeling better and more at ease in your body, and increasing your mobility and flexibility. You see Pilates isn’t about being perfect at Pilates, although it may seem that way at first, but rather about being BETTER at everything else.


A very brief bit of historical background: A gentleman by the of Joseph H. Pilates was the creator of this body of work we now call Pilates. It was originally called Contrology. Joseph Pilates created this program in the 1920’s, who knew? Yes, it’s been around that long.


The name, Contrology, really says a lot about what the program is about. It’s about learning how to precisely and competently control our movements, within the proper alignment of our bodies. This takes in to account the alignment of our spine, yes, but also the proper alignment of all of the joints that join in to our trunk, your shoulders, hips, as well as knees and ankles. So, you see, it really is a full body workout, we even focus a lot on your feet and toes!


So, what happens in class? Classes are generally 1 hr. Plan on the movements being slow and very precise (Contrology!), with a focus on connecting the movements to your breath. The breath is a very important component of the work. An instructor may use an inhale to elicit length out of the spine and joints, or he/she may ask for an exhale to help the client find a bit more abdominal connection or engagement. It’s never one breath fits all!


In Pilates we refer to working from the inside out. What does that mean exactly? Well, we are much more concerned with learning how to engage and strengthen many of the smaller, more intrinsic muscles of the body. Glutes yes, but also the deeper hip musculature that help to stabilize the pelvis. Abs yes, but not jus six pack (Rectus Abdominus), but much more importantly the deepest layer of your abdominal structure, the TA, or Transverse Abdominus.


So there you have it, get out and try it. I promise you won’t be disappointed, possibly frustrated initially as you learn, but challenged and feeling amazing.

Active Life Conditioning offers in person and virtual Pilates Mat classes

Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:00 am.

 

About The Author: Lisa Rennie

Lisa is a local Pilates expert and was director of The Pilates Gym of Collingwood for many years. With over 20 years of experience to her name, Lisa has worked with clients of all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities. She has found that Pilates is the one exercise program that fits them all. Lisa uses Pilates to target the core postural muscles which help keeps the body balanced.


Interested in trying one of her classes? Visit the Active Life Conditioning website for class schedule and more information.