Pilates: How Mindful Movements Will Transform Your Workout: Part 2

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Hey guys! Back again about one of my fitness favorites: Pilates.

As I detailed in my previous post (if you didn't catch it, click here), Pilates is a form of resistance and strength training that uses a combination of a multitude of movements to create a series of exercises that flow from one to the next. Joe Pilates, the creator, believed that "a few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence are worth hours" of uncoordinated, forced exercises. I'm here to tell you exactly why I agree with Joe, and why this exercise is one of the best to include in your weekly workouts. 

Let’s go back to the Pilates system and the progressions…because this is the place where I feel it really shines! As I mentioned, a Pilates workout is made up of progressions of the same, or similar, movements. In most workouts you warm up, you do something fast and light, then something heavy and slow, maybe some moderate accessory stuff, and usually wrap up with some conditioning.

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In this format, it’s all sort of segmented. The movements aren’t necessarily related to each other and therefore you’re not learning positions in one place and bringing them over into other movements. Is this universally true? NO. And the best coaches out there are certainly teaching good position across the board and letting that spill over into all exercises. But I digress… 

In my opinion, Pilates really shines in its ability to connect proper technique in one movement to proper technique in another movement. At its core, it’s a great sensory-motor-skills-focused routine that can be super challenging and help you get fit when integrated into your general fitness plan. The core stability focus is better than any other method I’ve been exposed to, the large range of motion movements help make non-spinal joints happy, and with all the ab and hamstring focus, you can really master the saggital plane (which you better do if you’re looking to load up traditional heavy power lifts!) 

I’m sure you’ve heard Pilates is good for back pain, but that isn’t because it gets you #abs. The number one reason is because it gives you abs and hamstrings—and these are an absolute necessity in today's world of our anterior (forward) tilted pelvises that compress the lumbar spine. Our hip flexors and lower back erectors are on a team, and they’re winning EVERY GAME…so we need those abs and hammies to step up and start winning Mighty Ducks-style—so we can get out of pain and into better positions!

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So, how do we do this? Well, first of all, you don’t have to choose a team! You can include Pilates in your REGULAR WORKOUTS. You don’t have to commit an entire workout to just strength training, cardio, pilates, etc… you can just do whatever works for your body and your schedule. Rules are made to be broken, folks!

I integrate Pilates exercises into my warm up and all accessory and movement prep work. Sometimes I add some weights or bands and throw them into circuits. You certainly don’t need a full Pilates studio to reap the benefits of this awesome method. 

And, check out below to see my top five moves to include in your next gym session:

Feet Elevated Hip Thrust

Seated Arm Circles

Side Plank with Hip Dips

Single Straight Leg Stretch with Counter Weight

Double Straight Leg Stretch with Counter Weight

Have a question? ! I’d love to hear from you by email at Ashley@AshleyBrownFitnessNutrition.com OR on Instagram at @ashleybrownfitnessnutrition.

Fitness PhilosophyAshley Brown