Pilates Uncategorised

Common Mistakes You’re Making In Pilates Without Noticing.

If proponents of Pilates are to be believed, Pilates aren’t just any ordinary method of exercise: they connect the mind and the body with a series of exercises that emphasize proper breathing, mental focus, and pelvic and spinal alignment.

Pilates, like any other fitness exercise, are obviously more effective when done the right way, so you even if you have been doing them for a while, you want to be sure that you have got the technique correct. Keep reading to find out how to eradicate all the mistakes you’re making when you do pilates.

1.You forget to Stretch

Stretch

Possibly, you thought it unnecessary–a mere waste of time. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Stretching before Pilates reduces muscular soreness and tension, increases mental and physical concentration (which is the most basic requirement for the exercise), enhances your ability to perform the skilled movements and reduces the risk of injury to your joints, muscles, etc and increases flexibility.
There are different types of stretches in Pilates, all with different purposes. There’s the:

  • Mermaid side stretch– this keeps the hips grounded while opening and lengthening the side body by slightly tilting your torso (from the waist up) in the same direction as your arm.
  • Spine stretch– this is more effective if done before the exercise and basically stretches your back and hamstrings. All you have to do is sit up really straight with your feet stretched out together, inhale and extend your arms (shoulder length) in front of you, now exhale as you reach forward to touch your feet. Count to five and roll up as smoothly as possible, all the while inhaling and exhaling.
  • The Swan – this is done by lying face down on your mat(or on an even, comfortable surface), bend your elbows to have your hands right below your shoulders with your legs shoulder-width apart. Now adopt an even breathing motion and engage your spine before raising your upper body up to your belly button. Repeat 3-5 times. If done correctly it will strengthen the back, abdominals, inner thighs and hamstrings.

Be careful not to overstretch. Yes, this might make you more flexible but it can also irreparably damage your muscles.

2.Over-Straining Your Muscles.
This is actually more common with the neck. Pilates are supposed to lengthen your muscles to make them more flexible, not tauten them. Try doing it at your own pace and know your limit. Surely, you don’t want to injure your muscles while trying to strengthen them.

3.Improper Alignment
Pilates are all about proper alignment. This is what helps perfect your posture and  improve muscle function, and basically all the benefits Pilates offer are a result of good alignment of the muscles. Regardless of the move you’re doing–could be the hip twist, seal, boomerang, jack-knife, corkscrew, spine stretch, roll up, if the muscles involved aren’t properly aligned, then you’re not doing it right.

4.Not breathing

Your breathing method while doing Pilates matters a lot. It’s actually another factor that determines how effective your Pilate moves are. The moves are coordinated with a specific breathing patterns to help stabilize your body for movement, enhance relaxation while decreasing stress, better circulation and respiration (oxygen provides the cells with energy needed for better muscle movement). Thereby increasing the efficacy of your workout. There are two main breathing methods that are quite common in Pilates. There’s the;

  • Lateral/intercostal breathing– this is actually the most preferred/recommended for Pilates because it allows us to maintain a contraction of our ab muscles throughout the exercise, giving you the extra support you’ll need. It basically involves deep breathing, all the way down to the spine and the pelvic floor whilst expanding the oxygen into the sides of the rib-cage and back for optimum intake of oxygen.
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing– Less fancier names are deep-belly breathing or abdominal breathing. It’s done by contracting the diaphragm (a muscle located between the stomach and chest, used mainly for respiration) with slow, deep breathing that allows the belly to expand during inhalation and deflate during exhalation. This method of breathing is recommended by experts as the most efficient for breathing in general.

Note: Without the prerequisites (proper alignment of the muscles, mental focus, etc), the breathing method won’t matter much which means your Pilate exercises won’t be very effective.

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