The Power of Progression
Patience and Persistence are the pathways to steady progress in your Pilates workout.
The Pilates Method of body conditioning is an in-depth system consisting of over 600 exercises. When the Pilates exercises are taught and learned with the proper progression and layering you can truly unlock the power of the work. To maximize your Pilates workout look to advance but don’t skip steps. Building blocks are essential to achieving strength, feeling good, moving efficiently and getting the most benefit.
The two main apparatus that you typically work out on in Pilates are the Reformer and Mat. Both are ultimately working towards a specific progression, range of motion, order and rhythm. However, you will not typically learn them in the ultimate advanced sequence and pace. In this systematic approach to layering you will advance by working your way up the levels.
There are many prerequisite exercises you will learn to better prepare you for the intermediate work, and those exercises prepare you for the advanced work. For example, you are simultaneously working on strength and flexibility; you will learn to roll up before you roll over; you will learn to balance on four limbs before you learn to balance on two. Rolling Like A Ball helps to prepare you for Short Spinal Massage.
As you advance, the beginning level exercises do not go away… they become a part of your longer more challenging workout. The more you know the more you will do in the same amount of time. If you are fit and have a healthy range of motion the higher level sequence will come faster. If you have any physical condition that requires modification you will learn the modifications first and build on them. Your overall main goal is to make progress to the best of your abilities. With practice your body, mind and spirit will work together work to take your Pilates to its fullest potential.
6 techniques to help you get there.
- Learn your strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that flexibility plays role in challenge and accomplishment. For example, a tight lower back can make spinal articulation more challenging and make it more difficult to access your abdominals. Long hamstrings can make lifting your leg easier; hyper mobile shoulders can create an unstable joint. As you learn those strengths and weaknesses own them and apply what you need to work on specifically in each exercise. Once you have learned your strengths and weaknesses, with the help of your teacher you will be better be able to chart out a plan for success.
- Your workout should be manageable but challenging. Pilates is such an empowering experience when you feel the success from moving through the levels at the appropriate pace. If it’s too easy there’s no progression; if it’s too hard there’s no progress. Pilates should be invigorating, not debilitating or desperate.
- Be body aware, and both mentally and physically present. You do not have to have “mastered” an exercise before moving up. A level of body awareness and understanding of the exercise along with the key issues may be all that’s required.
- Own your exercises. In class as well as one on one sessions you should learn the names and order of the exercises so you do not need to follow along. You will get more out of your time with your teacher if she/he can give feedback rather than reteach.
- Set goals for yourself and check them off your list. Once you have reached your goal it’s a good indication that you are closer to moving up. Recognize that reaching a goal is advancing.
- Most of all make sure to not rush or slow down advancing your Pilates. Allow yourself to progress. Enjoy the challenge of trying new exercises, but give yourself time and gain the strength, flexibility and understanding. Don’t cheat…. You will get there. Be patient, be focused and enjoy your success.
“Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”- Joseph H. Pilates.