The YMCA Club already offers over 125 fitness classes per week, but not one to rest on our laurels, we want to offer you even more! Mat Pilates is making a comeback and YMCA Club’s Fitness Manager and Personal Trainer, Hamit Buhara, explains why…
What is the YMCA Club’s new Pilates offering?
The official Mat Pilates classes are due to start soon (exact date TBC), but ahead of their launch, I’m running through the five basic principles of STOTT Pilates every Thursday from 6pm to 6.30pm in Exercise Studio 1. I would encourage anyone who is interested in taking up the future Pilates classes, to come along to my current sessions so they have an understanding of these principles, which will form the basis of all exercises in the repertoire. When the classes officially start, these basic principles will be on offer for new comers before each class.
In a nutshell, what is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise which focuses on proper alignment, posture and engagement of the deep core muscles. As you go through the repertoire, the exercises become more complex, which will increase the demands on your body to maintain the control of the movements. Pilates compliments other forms of training very well due to focusing on posture and correct alignment.
What are the benefits?
Longer, leaner muscles
Improved core strength and stability
Relief from stress and back pain
Improved balance and coordination
Enhanced athletic performance
Effective post – rehabilitation
Heightened mind-body awareness
What’s the difference between Pilates and Yoga?
Pilates is not about developing one’s flexibility. Pilates is much more focused on incorporating the deep core muscles with movements of the torso, arms and legs. Another difference between Pilates and Yoga is how you breathe - in Pilates, you breathe three dimensionally into the back and sides of the rib cage and use the breath to promote engagement of the deep core muscles prior to movement.
What types of Pilates are there?
There’s Matwork on the floor and then there’s ‘Reformer’, where the participant uses a piece of equipment (a square frame with a moving carriage). Reformer is a natural progression from Matwork which builds upon the exercises learnt from the Matwork repertoire (available at One KX). Matwork progressions are Essential, Intermediate and Advanced.
Tell me about the “five basic principles” of Pilates
- Breathing – how you incorporate the breath.
- Pelvic placement – position of the pelvis.
- Rib cage placement – position of the rib cage.
- Scapular - movement of the shoulder blades and stabilisation.
- Head and cervical placement – position of the head and neck.
I already work out at the gym, so why should I bother with Pilates?
Pilates is one of the hardest things I’ve done. It focusing on the deep core muscles and control of the body during movement.
There are lots of exercises that we do at the gym that don’t articulate the spine as much as Pilates. Within a Pilates session you will move the spine in the following ways: flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation.
We need to be aware of the long-term health of our spine and posture as we get older. If we just keep throwing our body around, that’s not going to help us in the long term. Vigorous movement in the gym does offer short term energy bursts and they are great exercises, but a lot of the time we neglect the more focussed exercises which improve our postural alignment.
Pilates covers a lot of what the body needs - it’s very strength based. As with all exercises and training, if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s not your cup of tea, but it’s nice to give it a go.
Don’t we already offer Pilates as part of ‘Supple Strength’ at the Club and at One KX?
Some Pilates movements are incorporated into Supple Strength, but this depends on the instructor.
For some people, it’s more convenient for them to travel to the YMCA Club for Pilates rather than One KX, so we’re giving people the option to try Matwork Pilates here. One KX offers the full Pilates programme from beginners, right through to advanced.
Who’s it for and what should I expect?
Most people attending my sessions are either new to Pilates or are re-visiting it after a while. Anyone can do it.
Attendees will be educated about the importance of breathing, pelvic placement, where their head and neck should be and what their body should be doing, etc.
Grip socks are good for the mats, as sometimes they slide.