Combining Weights with Pilates

June 21, 2019

 

Pilates and Weight training is different but they are actually well matched and can complement each other. Pilates has a strong posture and stability focus and will teach you to feel and engage many muscles that you may have never connected to before. It's easy to go to the gym and lift weights (as long as you can find the motivation). However, many people don’t actually know what they are working out and what muscles they need to switch on to stabilise the body to then perform a movement. After all, we respond better to performing anything when we understand the whys, whats, and hows behind it.

I have a number of clients that lift heavy weights at the gym and come to me for pilates to improve form and help manage aches and pains. These are seasoned lifters, Initially, I will talk to them about releasing their muscles – it makes sense to release the tightness in your muscles so that your joints sit comfortably in the right place to perform an exercise, we work through some wonderful release exercises.
Another area of misinformation is in regards to the core and its role in lifting weights bracing your tummy before a lift is apparent but requires pelvic floor muscles and other muscles for a safe and beneficial lift.

The seasoned weight lifters like doing lat pulldown or chin ups. With light springs on, I instruct the lifter to pull the bar down – it seems so light that its likes pulling the bar down without any springs.  Then, comes teaching the exercise by having them disconnect from their Lat and connect it before pulling the bar down, the spring tension now feels much heavier, it's common for me to see upper traps tightness and no Lat connection to perform this movement. This is very common with well- developed lats, loaded weights without correct activation will overuse the upper trap and poor performing lats. Consequently, we have extremely developed, rock hard, tight upper traps that contribute to poor form when performing exercises that carry on to daily activities.


Ultimately both individually designed weight training programs and Pilates can be used to correct imbalances and improve postural alignment. Conversely, poorly taught weight training and Pilates can create imbalances and cause injury.

Here at Evolve, we are fortunate to teach both disciplines- weight training and pilates, we have seen improvements in clients who attend both these disciplines on a weekly basis. Increasing strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, core activation, postural awareness, weight loss, motivation and muscle release are a few of the results of this wonderful combination. Our hands-on approach (which you can only get if you are working one on one or in very small groups) in both exercise programs, enhances client connection to their bodies.
 

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