When you go to exercise it is ideal to go in having an idea of what you want to accomplish. This is also true when you are going to see a Pilates instructor.
How do you want your body to further assist you in your life? Do you want to rehabilitate an injury? Eliminate discomfort and pain? Improve your posture? Get stronger, leaner, taller? Gain more control, more coordination, more grace?
Your stated purpose will drive your program. A good instructor will do an interview, and discover what you need and want or what problem you are trying to solve. Then a posture evaluation would be done to look at your body’s alignment. “Alignment” means the “lining-up” or not, of your skeletal structure from top to bottom, side to side. Your body is designed to be symmetrical.
I have had a number of athletic men coming to me who have injured themselves over the years with old workout styles and methods that use to make them strong. Despite using lighter weights or more stretching, these guys experienced the back getting tweaked or going out completely, shoulder discomfort and injury or painful knees or feet and more. All of these problems interfere with their sport, their work and their play.
Well, that is completely unacceptable!
Doing a posture evaluation, I can discover any misalignment between your head placement, shoulders, hips, knees and feet. Also, any rotation through the rib cage or hips can create pressure in other areas of the body; knees, feet or neck and shoulders, leading to discomfort and pain.
Next a program is designed to correct this misalignment from the inside out; from the deeper stabilizing core muscles outward. Weaker muscles are strengthened and tighter, overused muscles are lengthened to regain muscular balance.
Using the Pilates equipment, the body is retrained to work synergistically (working together to increase the effect). In other words, the opposing muscles are retrained to support each other in a balanced manner. This creates good form, more flexibility, agility and coordination. This is exactly how the body is designed to work.
Through correct Pilates programming, one “trains out” the bad habits and patterns and “grooves in” correct ones, rehabilitating muscles along the way.
Below, Bryan Russell, a water polo player whose career was cut short due to shoulder injuries and resultant surgery, shows off his newly ‘realigned’ upper body form. (See his success story.)