Ten things your Pilates teacher wants you to know
Pilates converts will know that classes give you lean muscles, more perfect posture, improved flexibility and circulation. The reformer beds you practise on have a system of pulleys that may look like a torture device, but actually help you work every muscle from various angles, so you get greater resistance and better results.
We've picked up some top tips to improve your practise. From posture placement that will make you look thinner to tricks for burning extra calories, here are ten techniques to try in your next class.
Tuck your ribcage
To permanently correct your posture and look slimmer, remember the 'ribcage placement principle'. Whatever your pose, you want to avoid your ribcage flaring so slide them down towards your hips so your abs engage. This will be easier the stronger your abs get.
The slower you do ab and oblique exercises, the harder you work them.
Engage every muscle
Always engage the specific muscle group you are trying to work. Think of this as a mental exercise as much as a physical one and over time it will come naturally.
Try to hold the last rep on each exercise as long as you can to improve strength and stamina.
Work those glutes
When doing squats make sure your knee stays in line with the ankles, not above the toes otherwise you'll work your quads not your glutes. The glutes are the biggest calorie burner in the body and being able to carry out a squat properly will improve your daily functional pattern.
Alternate body parts
Dynamic Pilates classes work opposing parts of the body. When switching from upper to lower body exercises the blood has to travel which increases heart rate and metabolism which burns more calories.
Never neglect your core
Every single exercise in Pilates is about the power house: your core. So always engage it even when you're exercising other body parts.
Pull shoulders back
When you are standing normally your hands should rest against the side of your hips – not your thighs as this would mean your shoulders are slumping forwards. This correct posture also minimises spillage at the side of your top straps so you look thinner. Bonus!
Take breathers but limit breaks
Limit the resting period between your exercises to maximise momentum and make the most of your class.
Breathe better to burn more
Breathe! Always inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, engaging your abs while you do so. You need oxygen to burn calories and good breathing will improve your circulation and help detoxify your body.