Pilates Myths & Misconceptions

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With so many misconceptions about Pilates we’d like to help clear the air. Below are a few common “myths” often heard in the Pilates community. 

Myth 1. Pilates is only for injury rehabilitation. 

Wrong! Though Pilates is a great way to assist in injury recovery, it is not limited to rehab. In fact, a regular Pilates practice will prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. More and more people are turning to Pilates as their workout of choice. Pilates has many benefits, the most popular being the ability to strengthen the core in ways most other forms of exercise cannot even come close to achieving. The Pilates method is also great in conjunction with cycling, running, horse riding, swimming, etc., as it has been known to enhance performance through the use of proper posture, gait, stability and overall form. 

Myth 2. Pilates is only for Women. 

Wrong, again! Pilates, as in Joseph Pilates, the man who created the method, began teaching his method to men who were recovering from injuries sustained during WWI. How amazing is that? Men tend to gravitate towards workouts that involve heavy lifting, running, cycling, etc. While all of these are great, a couple things are usually missing. Core strength, stability and flexibility. Equipment Pilates is a perfect workout for men to achieve those goals. Through precise and controlled movements, we focus on working the deeper layers of muscles, often neglected during normal “weight lifting” workouts at a gym. 

Myth 3. I am unfit, I can’t do Pilates.

On the contrary, Pilates is a great starting point for physical activity. Because of the variety of exercises and equipment, Pilates really is for everybody and every body. For clients who are brand new to Pilates, I recommend beginning with a reformer class. The equipment really assists in setting you up in proper form and alignment & forces you to put in the work, but at the level that is right for you. I often find that beginners, either by lack of strength, or lack of experience, “cheat” at the gym, or on the mat (Pilates or Yoga). The Pilates Equipment really does add a level of intensity to your Pilates workout that will aide in getting you stronger, faster. 

Myth 4. Pilates is just like yoga.

Though there are similarities, Yoga and Pilates are not the same.  Pilates is a system of exercises done on the Mat, or on Pilates specific equipment, and designed to correct imbalances, strengthen our muscles, specifically those deep intrinsic core muscles, and to allow for greater overall mobility and flexibility. I tell clients, I go to Pilates to “workout,” gain strength, prevent injury, lengthen & tone. Mental clarity, relaxation and greater mental focus is a side effect of my Pilates Practice.  Yoga on the other hand places a greater emphasizes on a spiritual connection which is achieved through a series of asanas (poses) held for specific breath cycles and done on the mat with little to no props. The goal or focus is more on letting go, releasing and relaxing. I go to Yoga to relax, destress, release built up tension, etc. The possible side effects being physical, such as greater flexibility, muscle tone, etc.

Myth 5. Pilates is only done on a mat, right?

Pilates Mat classes are not your only option. Equipment classes are gaining in popularity, as people are finding their bodies change after just a few weeks on a reformer. Be sure to look for a studio that is fully equipped, or that has a minimum of a reformer, tower or reformer/tower combo, a chair, and some small props. Also make sure your teacher is comprehensively qualified and knows each piece of equipment thoroughly. Flex Pilates in Steenberg Village Centre offers a full range of equipment as well as group classes for all fitness levels. We can accommodate up to six people at one time and our instructors are trained through the internationally recognized BASI Pilates. 

We hope you find this information useful. Feel free to pass this on to your friends, especially the ones that you have heard making the above comments! :) :) 

Flex Pilates South Africa