Swissbody® Pilates Method “key principles”

 

Relaxation
The release of unnecessary tension is the starting point for all the sessions. Not only is this helpful in reducing stress, but it also ensures that the body is worked correctly and efficiently. Muscles work together in groups to move bones. If one member of the group is too tense or too tight, the balance of the group is upset, and a faulty pattern is introduced. What usually happens is that a “substitute” muscle is recruited, with the body effectively cheating in order to produce movement. Over a period of time this becomes habitual, and pain may set in.


Concentration
Pilates is a true mind-body way of exercising. It requires you to constantly think about your body while you are working it.


Alignment
Great care is taken to ensure that each exercise is performed with the body in correct alignment. If you exercise whilst out of alignment, you will simply create more muscle imbalance in the body. Increased body awareness enables you to identify any misalignment. You are taught to recognise the natural “neutral” position of the pelvis and the spine, as well as the correct line of your feet, ankles, knees and hips, as these have an important influence on the back. A good relationship between the head, neck and shoulders is crucial. As a result of postural alignment being considered with each exercise, and because the sessions can be tailored to an individual’s needs, common postural faults in the back and legs can be corrected.


Centring
Centring is one of the most important principles of Pilates, and is the element that continues to attract the most attention from physiotherapists. Joseph Pilates, working on his own body, discovered that by hollowing the navel back to the spine, he was supporting his back. Indeed, medical research seventy years later has come to the same conclusion. What he had identified was the core stabilising muscles of the trunk, in particular the transversus abdominus. Nearly all Pilates exercises use these deep stabilising muscles, and in the course of a one-hour session, you are doing literally hundreds of stomach exercises creating a “girdle of strength” around the waist. Not only does this support the lumbar spine, allowing you to exercise safely, but it also gives you a wonderfully flat stomach. We also work on the pelvic floor muscles, which are often neglected. They are very important for both men and women, and will help with a variety of problems such as prostate problems, incontinence and prolapse.


Breathing
Correct breathing techniques are fundamental to the Method. You are taught thoracic breathing which, while facilitating an increase in oxygen intake and greater flexibility in the upper torso, keeps the neck muscles released and when necessary, the deep abdominals engaged to protect the spine. The out breath is used to contract the tansversus abdominus and pelvic floor muscles. The timing of the breath is important and is used to enhance movement.


Co-ordination
Most people doing Pilates for the first time have difficulty controlling their breathing, deep stomach muscles, pelvic floor, shoulder blades and doing movements with their arms and legs all at the same time. Recognising this, we start with small movements and progress to larger movements when you are comfortable. As your co-ordination improves, so does our confidence in your ability to execute safe movements and so we start to attempt some of the more difficult exercises.


Flowing movements
All Pilates movements are slow and controlled, making the exercises look easy, but in fact it is infinitely harder to perform an exercise slowly, since you cannot cheat.


Stamina
Pilates is not a cardiovascular workout and so it is usually recommended that people doing Pilates should do an additional aerobic type exercise to strengthen the heart and respiratory system. What Pilates will do, however, is to make you fit for your chosen sport because the improved strength of the body will greatly improve your physical stamina.

 

All Swissbody® Pilates sessions are non-competitive and aimed at the individual’s needs. A typical program begins gently and with small movements performed in good alignment, isolating specific key muscles. More complex and difficult movements are then added always with the centre stabilized. Light weights are used where appropriate and specialized Pilates machines and accessories as well as modern additions are used for added resistance and/or proprioceptive challenge to produce greater strength, agility and control.