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Pilates~ 3 Common Myths
By: Monika Eskandarian

During my time working as a fitness trainer I have come across many misconceptions and biases that clients have had towards a particular type of training. For example a client will say " I don't want to do weight training because I don't want to get too muscly and bulky" OR "I really want to have a six pack by summer, so shouldn't we do more crunches?". These statements are quite common.

In thinking about how these preconceived ideas develop, I started thinking about something close to my heart. Pilates. I thought about all of the different statements I have heard uttered over the years and I thought id pick just the top 3. So here goes!

* Pilates is a derivative of Yoga~

I often hear "Pilates is like Yoga right?",but nothing could be further from the truth. Pilates is weight training. Period. Yoga and Pilates are complimentary, in the same way that any two disciplines can compliment each other. Either to challenge the body so it doesn't plateau or to give the body some active recovery. For example; Yoga is complimentary to boxing because it teaches you to breathe properly and focus, very valuable in the ring, it also makes you stretch the muscles you have worked for active recovery. Yoga increases flexibility and that is beneficial to protect you from injury in many other disciplines. In this way you can say that yoga is complimentary to Pilates because it helps to increase your flexibility and stretches the muscles you work in Pilates, but on the flip side the strength you gain from Pilates, improves your posture in Yoga poses. WIN WIN

* Pilates is a 'quick fix' for a wobbly belly~

Pilates will give you a flatter stomach and better posture, if your practice is consistent. This is because its focus is on working from the core. That means it doesn't just look at working your 'rectus abdominis' or more commonly known as the six pack 'beach muscle'. Pilates works on conditioning through all of your abdominals, rectus, transverse and obliques by using different techniques coupled with breathing, this means that you will feel the benefits 24/7. It also teaches you to engage your pelvic floor muscles and this is super important for women that are thinking of having a baby or have already have one. Pilates also teaches men to activate their pelvic floor, and they might think it sounds like a bit of a joke now, but it makes sure they wont be needing "depends" in their old age!

* Pilates is easy~

Pilates is an easy way to exercise for lazy people! For women that don't want to do real exercise and get all puffed out and sweaty... true people think this! I have heard this and as a Pilates practicioner, that has had many gruelling sweaty shaking sessions, I know this to be a massive fallacy!

Pilates can be easy or very hard, and just like any other training it all depends on the individual. For example I have done many cardio-boxing sessions where some people are sweaty and purple coloured whilst some look dry and as cool as cucumbers...How can this be when they have all done the same workout? Pilates is the same. There are many ways to make your workout easy. This will depend on you and also your trainers cues. If your trainer tells you to do an exercise slow and you do it fast, it will make it easier. If your trainer tells you to point your fingers or toes in a particular direction and you don't, then it will be easier. I think that this is where Pilates can fail on a large scale. If the group is large and the participants inexperienced the trainer cannot correct everyones form while maintaining a good tempo for the rest of the class. A large group gives certain participants a chance to hide. If they are so inclined. You cannot do that when working in a small group or one on one with a trainer.

My suggestion would be, if you are starting out, choose a small group or more personal situation until you get the hang of it, after all if you attend a big class and hide, who are you really cheating?

Added: 11-04-2012