Many people who aren't involved in sports associate gym classes only with machines and active fitness. But there are many other ways to work out your body, increase your flexibility, and strengthen your muscular frame.
Anyone who doesn't like strength training and excessive aerobic activity is advised to pay attention to a workout system such as Pilates. Even though you won't find it in an online sports betting list, you will definitely notice the results after several workouts.
Many skiers may not know, but this exercise has many benefits for them and snowboarders as well.
Joseph Pilates, the founder of the system, practiced at the beginning of the 20th century to rehabilitate people after injuries. He called the rectus and transverse abdominal muscles the skeleton of strength, so he emphasized strengthening the abdominal, back and pelvic muscles in almost every exercise.
How Pilates is Beneficial for Skiers and Snowboarders?
Pilates can help skiers and snowboarders improve their balance, strength and flexibility. It can help build core strength, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury. In addition to these benefits, it also teaches participants how to coordinate and control their movements more effectively which is an important skill for anyone who participates in physical activity.
Pilates helps with balance by using a mat for support and stability. Skiers and snowboarders also need to be able to move quickly, so they need good balance. Pilates teaches them how to use their muscles in a different way than skiing or snowboarding does, which is why it helps with their balance. Pilates can also help with injuries because it strengthens the muscles that are used when skiing or snowboarding.
Pilates can also help skiers and snowboarders improve their strength by strengthening the core muscles that are used when skiing or snowboarding. Pilates is also great for flexibility because it focuses on stretching the body and improving your range of motion.
Breathing and Control: What Pilates is Based on and What Levels of Difficulty it Has
Pilates is not tied to gender or initial fitness level, suitable for beginners and professional athletes alike. However, it is more than just shedding extra pounds or building photogenic abs. It is aimed at improving the quality of movement, and therefore the entire quality of life. A person with correct posture and an easy gait looks younger and more attractive, and the mobility of the spine and joints, the absence of pain and crunch during simple movements give a feeling of health and comfort.
The Pilates system is based on nine principles and it doesn't work without following each of them:
- Breathing. In Pilates, it's linked to every movement. Holding your breath during exercise is not allowed.
- Concentration. All movements should be conscious, and it is necessary to focus as much as possible on the muscle that is being worked on at the moment. It is important to do as many reps of each exercise as possible without losing concentration.
- Control. It's necessary to keep the position of the body, to align it in the course of the movement. Correct technique of exercises is more important than the number of repetitions.
- Centering. Centering refers to the muscular corset, the straight and transverse abdominal muscles. Pilates exercises are performed with a straight back and taut abdomen, and muscle tension should be felt throughout the class. The entire Pilates system is built on including and stabilizing the center in the movements.
- Precision. This is the result of concentration, control, centering, proper breathing and practice where all four of the previous points are performed automatically.
- Rhythm. The coincidence of the tempo of the breath and pace of movement. Proper rhythm makes movements smooth and functional.
- Whole body movement. The integration of exercise into daily life. This is the correct posture, gait, and proper breathing.
- Relaxation. Its important to exert as much effort as necessary at a given moment, without feeling excessive tension in the muscles, and to alternate tension with relaxation.
These principles are not only the basis and the ABCs of Pilates but also a simple way to assess your abilities to perform a particular exercise or workout in general. For example, if you can't connect the breath with the movement, you need to simplify the exercise to the level where you can do it. Similarly, if there is excessive tension, when you have to perform an element out of your last strength.
There are several levels of Pilates. The first is the simplest exercises that teach the body mobility, stretching, alignment. These exercises can be handled by people without much training. At the second level, more difficult starting positions and inverted postures are added. The third level stands apart and implies the use of small equipment - balls, bands, rolls. And there is a separate specialized equipment - reformer, caddy, barrel. Some of them are used in rehabilitation.
A Flat and Trim Stomach With the Pilates System
Pilates works with problem areas such as the abdomen, thighs and buttocks. These are the same areas Joseph Pilates called the center of strength, so most of the exercises are aimed specifically at working them out.
A flat stomach is one of the main goals women set for any kind of workout. However, many people wonder why even with no extra weight and with regular abdominal workout the stomach is still far from ideal. This may be due to trivial bad posture, poor mobility of the hip joints, weakness of the pelvic floor muscles and deep abdominal muscles.
Through comprehensive body work, Pilates helps you get not only flexibility and healthy posture, but also a beautiful flat stomach. The fact is that when you perform standard twists, you mainly engage only the rectus abdominis muscle, and the deep muscles are not involved. So, even with the daily performance of conventional abdominal exercises your abdomen may remain round, and the long-awaited cubes will look as if they were pulled on a balloon. Pilates allows you to work all the muscle groups in your body at once, which means you will achieve the desired results faster.
Equipment for Home Pilates
One of the advantages of Pilates is that it is suitable for home classes, and most of the exercises can be done with a minimal set of equipment. In addition to a gymnastic mat or mat, you will need:
- Rubber balls. A ball is unstable and will make movements more difficult, forcing you to perform each exercise more consciously and engage deep muscles and stabilizers. It can also facilitate movement where it is difficult to feel the target muscle groups, and will give support and backing.
- Small balls for myofascial massage. These are small balls of varying stiffness that are used for self-massage and relieving tension from pain points.
- Pilates roll. This is a movable support that trains stability and also helps to relax tense areas.
- Pilates ring. Has some resistance when squeezed, tones muscle work.
- Cushioning bands. Increases resistance, develops muscle strength, and supports mastering basic exercises.
When it comes to what is better, working out at home or not working out at all, the first option is preferable. Even one workout a week instead of the 4-5 allowed will benefit you.
For beginners, it's better to go to at least a few personal sessions with a trainer, who will diagnose your mobility, highlight the main problems, select a set of exercises and monitor whether you do them correctly.
Keep in mind that "love at first sight" does not always happen with a trainer: if after each session you feel pain in your body or empty, you should probably look for a person with a different approach to training.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the ski and snowboard space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.