+What is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise system invented by German fitness expert Joseph Pilates in the 1920's. It is a full body and mind conditioning workout that works on muscle strength, length and endurance. The repertoire of the exercises are adapted to your strength and intensify as your body conditioning strengthens. It focuses on alignment and strengthening the “Powerhouse”, the deep core muscles of the abdominals, hips, back, gluteals & legs.

Unlike the common misconceptions of Pilates only being for women, Pilates was first and foremost developed for Men. Joseph Pilates drew from his expertise of being a boxer and self defence trainer and created a system of exercises with the male body in mind.

Pilates taught whether on the mat or the reformer apparatus should be a invigorating workout, it should be focused, have dynamic movement and be energising.

+Who can participate in Pilates?

Pilates is appropriate for people of any age or fitness. Pilates unique approach allows any level from a beginner to a high level athlete to set their goals and work on individual needs.

+Can I participate in Pilates if I have back problems or other injuries?

Joseph Pilates designed this programme to also be used as a rehabilitation tool. Pilates develops strength, stability, balance and symmetry to areas of the body that may have been misaligned due to injury by using your powehouse, that is the main emphasis of your lesson.

Each exercise has a goal however modifications are made by your instructor so you can experience the journey towards the goal pain free one step at a time.

As you get stronger through anchoring your spine to the mat or refomer the pain in the back decreases overtime. You will learn to do this firstly lying down on an appartus and then begin to sit and stand and before you know it hold your posture daily in the right position pain free!

+How often would you recommend a Pilates workout?

With any form of exercise consistency is the key. In the beginning your body is learning a lot of new information and your mind and body connection is being established. The optimal recommendation is 2-3 times per week. However, once a week on a very regular basis can also be beneficial combining it with other exercise.

Private or semi private lessons are available as well as mat classes.

+Will I lose weight doing Pilates?

Pilates is designed to help you reshape your body and mind. Using different types of apparatus as well as your own body weight, the system helps you tone your muscles and elongate areas such a waistline and upper arms and thighs. Adding Pilates to a healthy diet and regular cardiovascular exercise can dramatically change your overall appearance. You will increase flexibility, mobility, balance, improved posture and overall strength.

+What is the 'Powerhouse'?

The Powerhouse is one of the most important concepts in True Pilates training. In recent years, the term core strength, has become more well-known and is used somewhat interchangeably with ‘Powerhouse’, but they are not exactly the same.

The ‘Powerhouse’ area of your body is from the bottom of your ribs all the way to your hip line. It includes the abdominal muscles, low back muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hips, and the gluteal muscles. The ‘Powerhouse’ muscles work together to form a supportive corset for your torso. It is this ‘Powerhouse’ that gives us the energy, stability, strength, and control within the True Pilates exercises.

The core muscles are part of the ‘Powerhouse’ set, and using your core is part of using your ‘Powerhouse’. The core muscles are the deep stabilizers like the pelvic floor, the psoas, the multifidus, and the transversus abdominis, among others. However, the core muscles are not the big movers like the rectus abdominis or gluteals, that also belong to the group of muscles know as the ‘Powerhouse’, in True Pilates training.

+Why Pilates Works Well for Men

Pilates was originally made for men!

Core strength, flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns are all hallmarks of True Pilates training and highly relevant to men’s fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development, such as that found in weightlifting, etc.

Pilates, by contrast emphasizes movement from the centre of the body, the powerhouse, and developing core strength in the deep muscles of the centre to stabilize the torso and protect the back. This kind of core training makes Pilates an excellent technique for whole-body fitness, as well as a foundation for cross training and other kinds of sports and exercise.

Pilates exercises do seek to increase flexibility and range of motion, in a way that men often feel comfortable with as Pilates works toward functional fitness. That is, the ability to have the strength, balance, and flexibility that allows one to move through daily-life tasks, thereby enhancing performance and reducing risk of injury in other activities.

+How is Pilates different to yoga?

Joseph Pilates was inspired by eastern and western forms of exercise and wellness principles so there are many similarities. The significant difference is Pilates is more fluid and involves using an apparatus with springs like the Reformer or Wunda Chairs therefore Pilates is more dynamic focusing on movement rather than the static holding of postures as yoga dictates and is predominately performed on a mat.

Your session involves both both mat and apparatus work with True Pilates.

+The Benefits of Pilates during Pregnancy

The Pilates method is one of the most effective exercise programs to utilise during pregnancy.

However it is recommended no new exercise program should be started if you haven't been doing it prior to pregnancy.

Many changes occur for women during this extraordinary time, including hormonal changes, weight increase and physical distribution, balance and centre of gravity, postural, muscular and ligament changes.

Pilates exercise can help women cope with these changes, possibly avoid problems both during and post-natal and assist with the actual birth. Many women who have remained consistent with their Pilates programs over their pregnancy report the benefits of conscious abdominal assistance, greater breathing capacity, leg strength and overall endurance during labour, and less post natal physical and postural concerns to name just a few.

+What is the difference between Classical Pilates and Contemporary or Clinical Pilates?

Unfortunately in todays age the word 'Pilates' is not regulated or taught the way Joe Pilates intended it to be most people are unaware of this. Due to a courtcase nearly 20 years ago where the trademark was lifted and Pilates became a generic term, with that came weekend training in the fitness and practitioner industry and large group reformer classes on modified equipment is taught which then in turn dilutes the true meaning of the original work.

We are second generation teachers through Romana and Cynthia Lochard, who trained and mentored under Joe, we teach Pilates in its original form and on the Gratz equipment which are from his original designs so that all of the exercises are executed correctly, safely that allows correct alignment and precision which then gives the client the benefits of each exercise as well as the feeling and the smile you get on your face once really connect!

We focus on the powerhouse which then overall the injuries reduce or even disappear rather than working on the injury the key is to work on the powerhouse and everything else follows.