Passion for Pilates – Practice, Practice, Practice!

Someone observed yesterday that it’s called Pilates practice because that’s exactly what it takes, that couldn’t be more accurate. It’s never been called Pilates perfect. It can be uncomfortable sometimes as you develop your skills. Areas of your body will try and work harder for you whilst you gain more mobility and strength. This should always be “comfortably uncomfortable”. You should never be in pain, please stop if that’s ever the case.

When you’re working with me I can identify some of these issues and give you modifications to help you move forward. Whilst you’re working at home, unless you did wish to train online, this isn’t possible. You may need to make a movement smaller, bending the knees can often help in some exercises, or perhaps find a prop – legs up on a chair or Swiss ball for instance.

The following are a few common issues that could crop up. So take a look and see if any of this could be of help to you:

Struggling to sit up straight. One option is to bend your knees or adopt froggy legs! This may make it more comfortable. Or you could sit on a yoga block or a couple of hardback books.

Froggy legs!

Neck strain. This is common with abdominal exercises ( eg. your abdo and oblique prep exercises) whilst you’re building up the strength in these muscles. So you could try placing a towel longitudinally underneath your body. Hold on to the two upper corners of the towel and allow this to act like a hammock for your head – offering support. A similar support can be gained from the Pilates Circle if you have one.

Not everybody is happy laying flat on their back, sometimes if someone has a very rounded upper back, or a deeper curve in their neck this can be uncomfortable. So use a small pillow support or folded up towel, or a small Pilates ball. Just to note, that the bridge exercise is not generally performed with any head support, as this would place too much strain on your neck as you come up into full bridge.

Struggling to get up from the floor. Try rolling onto your side and using your arms to push yourself up to sitting, then kneeling before coming up to standing. This is great back care regardless of any struggles you do or don’t have and a habit I would advise you to try and adopt. Even having a chair nearby before you start practising might be useful, it may support you on your journey back up to standing.

You feel tight in your hips and your lower back. If this is the case when you’re lying on your back or on your side then just bend your knees and this should help with the positioning and comfort in your lower back and spine. Remember to maintain your neutral spine position whilst exercising.

Uncomfortable pressure on the wrists. It’s really great to do some work weight bearing through your wrists, it helps to keep them strong. If you struggle you might try rolling up the edge of your mat, or use a towel and create a wedge for your palms to rest on. Or alternatively use your fists to lean on, or simply transfer your weight down onto your forearms. If you are exercising laying on your side, extend your outstretched arm underneath your head, as opposed to resting a hand under the head to reduce wrist strain.

Lower back discomfort whilst laying on your front. Use a small cushion or rolled up towel underneath the abdomen to prevent lower back strain in this position.

Stick with your practice, you will gradually  feel stronger and more flexible, this will reduce the strain you feel in your body. You may find some of these modifications unnecessary with time and you might want to revisit an original exercise in the future. Any problems don’t be afraid to get in touch.

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