Archive for March, 2010:

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I recently took a workshop on “The Science of Pilates.” We discussed the parallels and differences between Personal training and Pilates, and how we (Pilates instructors) fit into the gym world. Pilates has been around for many years, but it’s really only been the past few that it’s become more mainstream. With that being said, it can sometimes be a challenge making gym members see the benefits of Pilates. My goal is to help people realize that Pilates can be an important foundation to any type of physical activity. Both Pilates and PT take clients through workouts that are based on their level from beginner up to advanced. And in both you work on hypertrophy (changing the muscle), muscular endurance, and muscular strength. The goal in any type of exercise is to change your body and variety in your workouts will help to reach that goal.

Personal training focuses mostly on concentric motion, which occurs when a muscle shortens in length and develops tension. An example of this is the upward movement in a bicep curl. In a training session you typically tear muscle fibers, which creates muscle soreness, lactic acid build-up, and degrades flexibility. On the other hand, Pilates focuses mostly on eccentric motion. This is the development of tension while the muscle is being lengthened. Picture the lowering of the arm in a bicep curl. Pilates typically stretches muscle fibers because of the focus on eccentric motion and the goal is to find symmetry between strength and flexibility. Pilates will restructure your body from the inside out, starting at your core. It’s an all over workout, with many muscle groups working for each exercise.

When putting together your own workout schedule, think about how you can vary it. As much as I love doing Pilates I’d get bored pretty fast if that was the only type of physical activity that I was doing. I mix it up by going to yoga classes, hiking with friends, and working with my Personal trainer, Laura Hebert of Santa Monica Sweat. In every one of those activities I am engaging my core. My yoga is stronger because of my Pilates practice. The training I’m doing with Laura is helping me see weaknesses that I wasn’t noticing when doing Pilates. And hiking is a way to get my cardio in and spend time with friends. Who said working out should be boring! Remember that the more you do something, the faster you will see results. If you’re thinking of adding Personal training or Pilates to your routine, aim for doing each two times a week. You can even start with doing Pilates two times a week and training one day a week or vice versa. Your body will thank you and so will your health.