Pilates is a great way to introduce a holistic fitness system to your weekly regimen, but if you’re a newcomer there are mistakes that are all too easy to make. Here are 10 mistakes you should never make in a Pilates class:
- Bracing instead of breathing
Good breathing is fundamental to good Pilates practice. Breathing well gives stamina and support and helps you to engage your core muscle group correctly so that each movement carries the lowest possible chance of injury.
- Forgetting your alignment
Your alignment – the position and coordination of your spine, limbs, and muscles, is crucial for physical wellbeing and good back health. In Pilates class, remember to be aware of and maintain good alignment throughout each move, both upon beginning and completing.
- Overusing pelvic muscles when they aren’t needed
Although the pelvic floor helps to support you through abdominal exercises, it’s possible to cause injury by overworking this key muscle group. Be careful that you only engage your Pelvic floor as much as necessary to complete each movement.
- Forgetting to engage your actual core
The core – the series of muscles extending from your back to your abs and pelvis – helps you to carry out physical activities with stability and strength. In Pilates class, focus on learning to engage your whole core so that you are not placing undue pressure on one particular muscle group.
- Doing your favourite moves instead of what your body needs
We all have favourite moves and exercises in Pilates, but remember to be balanced and to do all the exercises your body needs. If you only focus on a favourite, this could lead to counter-productive muscle strain.
- Making powerful rather than effortless movements
Once you have a strong core, your movements will naturally be stronger and more powerful, underwritten by strong core structure. But to get there you need to practice movements that bring you the maximum result without excessive effort. The straining effort could cause injury.
- Being competitive with your neighbour
Because of its athletic and adrenalin-boosting nature, a fitness method can make us feel competitive in group environments. Yet being competitive with your neighbour can distract you from engaging muscles correctly, and may lead you to over-extend. Instead, focus on improving your form and matching your own personal bests.
- Rushing each movement
Measured and graceful movements are core to good Pilates practice. It is far preferable to complete each movement with good form than rush and not experience the full benefit of each movement.
9. Creating unnecessary neck tension
A stiff and tense neck can become painful and cause further tension down the spine that is bad for your back. When you perform ab exercises in Pilates class, take care not to hold your neck at an awkward angle or use your neck muscles to lift your back off the mat.
- Leaving your Pilates learnings in the classroom
Pilates equips you with core and back-strengthening exercises you can perform at home with a mat and supports but remember to take every lesson you learn in class with you for in-home practice. If possible, find a floor length mirror that will let you see that you keep good form.
Want to get going with a holistic fitness approach this summer? Find out more about Belinda’s Pilates classes now.