Monday, January 11, 2010

Where Does Pilates & Yoga Fit in to My Program?

Question: Hi, I was just wondering if it is true that Pilates or Yoga actually help to create a long lean body?My client is very adamant about doing Pilates in between workout sessions with me; and  I feel it is detrimental to our program, but she swears by it. All the ladies in the classes have very toned arms and she thinks it works moreso than our actual training.

- CM, Baltimore, MD

Answer: There are 2 issues with your question. I will address both to help you understand your client's thought-process.

"Convincing" a client to accept your ideology is a symptom of a larger problem. You haven't told me if you have been working with this client for a long period of time, so I will assume she is relatively a new client of yours. As a fitness professional, one of the first things you must do with your client is build a relationship. You must sit down with your client from the beginning she walks through your doors and establish a rapport. You need to get to know your client. Right now,  she is having TRUST issues with you or your program. Her trust has been won over by the Pilates class because she can VISUALLY see the bodies of others and equate her goals to them. Trust me, if she has been performing Pilates for a long time, it will be challenging to 'break her away' from it.

Building a LEAN body has more to do with calorie restriction and an increase in physical activity. As far as "long", pilates and yoga will not lengthen limbs--so to speak. When women say they want "long, toned arms"--they don't mean they want a longer humerus, ulna and radius. They want a decrease in fat that is covering those muscles. Any activity can reduce the amount of fat on the body, so long as it is accompanied by a sound nutritious diet. Both activities will help increase flexibility, that will improve posture and movement--thus giving you the ILLUSION of longness. The ILLUSION of longness is simply  the state of optimal static posture. Once kyphosis is reduced in the back,  the person stands much straighter.  When a person stands more erect,  the shoulders retract, the core musculture tightens,  and the chin is tucked. Improving one's posture actually gives the illusion that you added 1-2 inches to their height!

I actually wrote an article in this issue of Training Revolutions on my views of Pilates as a posture fixer. It is not what you think!

I think both yoga and/or pilates will make excellent additions to a program. However, I don't view them as the "meat" of a program. I think they are great auxillary activities to supplement a bigger program.

1 comment:

  1. I've found that the women who do Pilates have excellent core strength and bodily awareness. They take to basic compound exercises very well, much better than people without such a background, keeping a good lordotic lumbar curve, being able to push with their hips rather than knees when told to, and so on.


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