The Huge Benefits of Pilates Training

I found so many benefits of Pilates training that I decided to become an instructor. Here are the main principles of Pilates theory that have helped me and my clients.

Body Awareness
One of the biggest benefits of Pilates work is that it makes you think about your muscles in a very specific way.

Lots of us, even dancers, walk around as if our body is just the thing that carries our brain around. We aren’t really sure of what muscles are working when. All we know is when we decide to do something, our body magically does it.

This is how most of us operate until some part of us starts to hurt, a lot. Then all of a sudden it is very important to understand what is causing the hurt and how we can fix it.

That’s what happened to me. As a dancer, I thought I had pretty good control and understanding of my body and how I wanted it to work. After a few dance injuries, I decided I had to learn more and soon. I was in danger of not being able to walk for very long, let alone dance.

Because Pilates work made me focus on specific muscle groups and principles, I found muscles I’d never felt before! My brain was finally able to understand what improper muscle use was causing me pain and what I could do to fix it.

This new awareness was so cool! When I applied what I’d learned in dance class, I often felt like I was cheating because things that had been so hard were much easier!

The biggest benefit of Sydney pilates work for me was gaining the ability to “talk to my muscles.”

Great for Dancers Because…

The more muscles you can find, the more control you have. The more control you have, the more amazing moves you can perform. It’s that simple.

Muscular Balance
A lot of chronic pain we experience is due to muscular imbalance.One side is pulling harder than the other. Learning where the common imbalances are and how to correct them are a huge benefit of Pilates work.

Torso
Our torso is often imbalanced. Most of my clients start with a tight back and hips and loose stomach muscles. This causes lots of problems especially in the low back, shoulders and hips.
Pilates work focuses on reversing this by strengthening the tummy (core) muscles and learning to lengthen the back. This puts the spine in alignment making it easier on all the muscles to hold you upright.
Great for Dancers Because…

When we are young, we often rely on our spine to support things like combre and back extensions. Learning to rely instead on the core muscles will save us a world of hurt (literally) and keep us from spine strain and injury.

Legs
Many of us experience imbalance in our leg muscles causing big problems for our hips, knees and ankles. Often we carry tension in our hips and outer thighs and completely ignore the role of our inner thighs.

Practicing Pilates work first helps us find our inner thighs (not an easy task!) and then strengthen them so that they can help keep the leg in line without straining the joints.

Great for Dancers Because…
Muscular balance in the legs is such a key part of any balance work, including pirouettes and piques. Supporting the leg from both sides allows for proper alignment all the way up the body meaning more confident balances.

Taking the Joints through their Natural Range of Motion
In Pilates, we use the awareness of what muscles are working when to take each joint through its full range of motion.

This allows two great things to happen. First you get a chance to practice using the correct muscular balance while moving so that you have a better chance of finding and using the correct muscles when you stand up and go about your day.

Second, it is hugely beneficial to move your body in all the ways it can.It’s one of those “if you don’t use it, you lose it” things. Moving the joints keeps them lubricated and the surrounding muscles loose and supportive.

Great for Dancers Because…
We have so much to think about during technique class that it can be really hard to retrain our muscles to work in balance. Pilates work give you basic movement to practice with so that you can build your muscle memory before trying to apply it in dance class. Hugely helpful.

Why Pilates Work is So Helpful for Dancers
Why practice Pilates work if you are a dancer? Pilates is a stripped down, very clinical study of body mechanics. Many of the principles are in dance technique, especially ballet and modern technique. (As a matter of fact Martha Graham and George Balanchine specifically used Joseph Pilates work in their classes.) However often we are moving too fast trying to get through class and choreography to get into the details, let alone make sure everyone understands how the principles translate in their own body.

Dancers aren’t retiring at 20 anymore. We can really gain a lot of benefit from Pilates by understanding our bodies so that we can use them (not abuse them) for the length of our life and our hopefully long careers!

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