PILATES sounds too good to be true - no pumping, no pounding, no burn - a wonder workout that transforms your body without pain. All you need is a mat, loose clothes and a will to learn.
Just ask Liz Hurley, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Gareth Bale and David and Victoria Beckham, all devotees. Many leading teams and athletes also incorporate it into their training programmes.
PhysioPilates is a total body-conditioning system, adapted by physiotherapist Colette O’Flynn to suit people of all ages, shapes, sizes and levels of fitness.
A total body-conditioning programme, pilates exercises are designed to build what’s called a ‘girdle of strength’ by focusing on abdominal and postural muscles. Pilates exercises give you a longer, leaner shape, better posture, a strong back and more mobility. Yet, unlike other exercise techniques, Pilates will not produce over-developed muscles.
Pilates enhances flexibility, improves your balance and helps prepare your body for the rigours of sport, or simply the stresses and strains of everyday life. Pilates exercises strengthen and tone the deep abdominal muscles, the shoulder stabiliser muscles, the buttocks and the small, deep back muscles, giving you a longer, leaner shape, a flatter, firmer stomach, better posture – and helps prevent injuries.
Pilates is suitable for anyone – young or old, fit or not. Ten minutes a day is enough to achieve the considerable benefits. It doesn't involve a huge commitment and sessions can be easily worked into your day, at lunchtime or after work. Yet all you need is space, a little time, a mat, some comfortable clothes – and a good instructor – and you have all the basics. Exercises done correctly will maximise the benefits.
As a physiotherapist, a former nationally-ranked athlete, and a fitness trainer, I see Pilates growing in popularity - because it gets results, improving posture, strength, flexibility and balance while toning, firming and shaping the body. In my 30 years as a physiotherapist, working first in a major hospital, and now in private practice, I see a huge range of injuries and conditions. I believe that pilates can help ease, control and prevent back, neck, stomach, leg and postural problems - throughout ALL of your life. Pilates works by targeting the key postural muscles, building strength from within, by stabilising the torso and building strong, flexible muscles. So it is also an excellent all-round exercise, which helps us deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Pilates exercises give you a longer, leaner shape, a flatter, firmer stomach, better posture, a strong back and more mobility. Yet, unlike other exercise techniques, Pilates will not produce over-developed muscles. So, the bottom line - you look great!
In this course, I’ll show you the most important basic exercises, modified over many years, and reveal just how YOU can incorporate pilates into your daily life.
For those who complete the starter programme, this course also includes a full online class.
Colette O'Flynn, B.Physio, MISCP, Lic. Ac, Pilates Instructor
Chief Physiotherapist, PhysioNow
PhysioNow's Chief Physiotherapist Colette O’Flynn answers YOUR questions…
1: So what exactly is pilates?
Pilates is a total body-conditioning programme that corrects alignment by building strength and flexibility. It sculpts the body from the inside out. Exercises are designed to build what’s called a ‘girdle of strength’ by focusing on abdominal and postural muscles. But there is also an emphasis on breathing to ensure that lungs are used to maximum capacity. The basic principles of pilates work on alignment, breathing, co-ordination, concentration and relaxation to give you a longer, leaner shape, better posture, a strong back and more mobility.
2: Is this a new system?
The origins of the system date back to the 1920s. As a child, German-born Joseph Pilates suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. But, by the time he reached his teens, he had transformed himself into a diver, gymnast and skier. Determined to overcome his illness he combined a number of different disciplines - yoga, meditation, body-building and gymnastics - and came up with a complete body-conditioning programme. He established a New York studio and taught his system to a select group of dancers, athletes and celebrities.
3: Is pilates for everyone?
PhysioPilates is suitable for anyone – young or old, fit or not. And pilates is easy to learn. However, I strongly recommend that anyone suffering from back pain or other injuries may benefit from a one-to-one session with a trained instructor, or chartered physiotherapist, before beginning regular sessions. The trained physiopilates instructor can modify the exercises to suit almost anyone.
4: How often do I need to do the exercises?
No sweat - you don't have to work yourself into the ground. Just 10 minutes a day is enough to achieve excellent results. It doesn't involve a huge commitment and sessions can be easily worked into your day, at lunchtime or after work. Pilates himself said: "In ten sessions you will feel a difference; in 20 you will see a difference and in 30 you will have a new body."
5: Will I lose weight?
This is not a miracle weight-loss programme. However, recent studies have shown that low intensity exercise does increase your metabolic rate, and burn fat – not just at the time of exercise, but afterwards also. You should, though, include some form of cardio-vascular exercise in your lifestyle for your general health.
6: I’m worried that exercises like this will make me muscular and bulky…
Unlike weights or other forms of strenuous exercise, Pilates develops well-toned, elongated muscles without adding bulk. Instead, you’ll find yourself using muscles you don’t know you have. In fact, some people even claim to have grown by as much as an inch, as their posture improves.
7: What should I wear?
Wear something comfortable, allowing freedom of movement. Ideally, though, the exercises should be done on a padded mat.
8: How do I start?
Beginners can join a local class, or sign up for this starter course. It is important that exercises are done correctly or you could damage your body.
If you’re new to exercise, please consult your doctor before starting any new activity.
Stop immediately if you feel any discomfort or pain.
Please complete the basic fitness questionnaire and declaration before starting the course.
If you’re new to Pilates, please complete ALL the Basic lessons in this course before attempting the class.
We recommend that you practice the starter exercises 2-4 times per week for 2-4 weeks before progressing to the full class.
It is your responsibility to undertake these exercises safely. Cease performing these exercises if you experience pain or you feel unwell. The authors and advisors, who have created this course, accept no liability for injury caused as a result of participation in these exercises. All information provided by PhysioNow/Colette O'Flynn is of a general nature and is furnished for information/educational/entertainment purposes only. No information is to be taken as medical or other health advice. Use of this course does not form a professional relationship. By using this course, you agree that use of this information is at your own risk and hold PhysioNow harmless from all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting. Contact PhysioNow for further information or consultation.
Pilates, exercises, physiotherapist, body conditioning, gym, fitness, home workout, physiopilates, home exercise, tips, beginners, basic, at home, without equipment, learn, get fit, flexibility, core, core stability, training, how to, Colette O'Flynn, PhysioNow, physiotherapy, course, strength, workout, health, physio pilates, pilates for low back pain, easy exercises, pilates for older adults, pilates exercises at home, strong