I have always been a lover of bootcamps, high intensity type of training, really just anything that makes my heart race and causes me to break a sweat. After doing some research on the many benefits of pilates including strengthening the core, improving flexibility, treating back pain, and seeing all of the pilates studio’s pop up recently, I decided I had to try it out for myself. I reserved a one on one training session at Club Pilates in Granada Hills.
Pilates comes in different forms. There is mat pilates on the floor, which is what you mostly see in group fitness classes. Then there is pilates on a reformer machine, which can be seen above. Reformer machines contain multiple springs for different resistance. You can attach a jump board to bounce off of to get your heart rate up and higher the intensity. There is also the cadillac, which at first glance looks like a torture device. It was originally designed to enable bed ridden patients to exercise. The cadillac is known for isolating individual muscle groups.
Pilates as a whole was created in the 1920’s by Joseph Pilates for rehabilitating returning soldiers from war, and also injured dancers.
I told my instructor that I was a little skeptical if I would really get a good workout. Quickly, to my surprise, when she instructed me to use the jump board while incorporating light weights I felt the intensity and the burn and knew this was going to be a long 60 minutes. She then let me put down the weights and had me start with a proper warm up.
I started off with a modified down stretch on the reformer machine. Then worked the core as I lifted my hips into an up stretch. This allowed me to get the blood flowing, loosen up my muscles and really understand the movement and the flow of working on a reformer machine.
I then moved on to front splits really working on my core, leg strength, flexibility and stability. The toe sox really came in handy on this exercise to help my feet grip the bar and keep fromslipping. I found that this exercise was also more challenging the less springs/less resistance I had.
And now for the hamstrings, back and glutes work. Below, I am in a single leg position in which I was instructed to elevate my hips and butt off the reformer while extending one leg into the air. Although the focus was on my lower body, my core seemed to stay engaged on every exercise.
The session then moved to a mid-back series doing an exercise called “hundreds” with your legs in table top position. This series includes using the straps in which you pull your own weight with resistance from the springs. Keeping your legs in table top position for the duration of the exercise really engages the core.
And this is when it got really hard! The Master trainer, Wendy Jones, handed me a pilates toning ring, which is the circular object that I have placed between my legs below. Not only am I working my hamstrings and quadriceps, but the ring forces you to work your aductors (inner thighs.) This was best/most challenging part of the workout.
What I enjoyed most about my pilates session is that the movement and rhythm of the exercises really reminded me of my dancing and gymnastics days. I also enjoyed that the workout had very little impact on my joints and knees. Club Pilates also includes different level classes in case you are like me, where I love my bootcamps, that contain trx, bosu balls and weights!
If you are interested in trying a pilates class head over to clubpilates.com/granadahills and tell them Fit With Fallon sent you!