Pilates: Tones the parts other exercise cannot reach!

I know the title of this article sounds a bit like a 1980’s beer slogan but it nicely simplifies one of the main aspects that differentiates the Pilates system from other forms of exercise.

In the body we have two types of skeletal muscle – movers and stabilisers.
‘Movers’ make things happen, often working as pairs agonistically & antagonistically. These muscle types tend to get all the glory, because we can visually see the tone and shape of them and their strength can easily be showcased, so typically when we train our bodies in the gym, we’ll focus on the ‘movers’ and often only the ‘prime movers’ will get our attention. An example of this is the classic bicep curl – when the bicep muscle is contracted, it causes the elbow joint to bend, making an obvious flex – as well as the popular adage #sunsoutgunsout !

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be toned and strong but if the stabiliser muscles aren’t equally attended to, injury, imbalance and impaired function can arise.

The stabilisers are the lesser known muscles that support the ‘movers’, they are much smaller is size and not necessarily visible. When they are exercised regularly and become well toned, they help pre-vent injury and make the body as a whole, far more functional, strong and agile. Sadly though, if left alone, they will wither and won’t fire up effectively when really needed, putting extra strain on joints and tendons, leading to a range of problems.

Pilates practice bridges this muscular gap. Slow, controlled movements, synced with the breath, re-connect the stabiliser muscles, building strength and developing the synergy between all the different muscle groups. This is relevant for everyone, from the body builder to the inactive office worker.
I’m sure we’d all agree that prevention is better than cure, so don’t wait until you have an injury and your physio suggests you join a Pilates class.
Get yourself booked in now!

– This article has been published in the October edition of Life Magazines – http://www.lifemagazines.co.uk