I'm happy to be blogging again and this is a topic that our team has been talking about a lot lately.
When we get new students oriented to their body, gaining awareness and joy of moving it is magic! It makes us feel so purposeful in our craft. There are so many glorious ways to move and they are available to every person. Sometimes a person will come in with preconceived notions of what Pilates is (not challenging, hurts my neck, haven’t gotten results from it) or with a story of how someone they know hurt themselves doing kettlebells. Quite simply- their teacher was doing them a disservice and not teaching them how both of these modalities can CHANGE a person's life when taught properly. To us, it is always about alignment and load. Let's use a simple functional exercise like the squat. For example, when a student cannot squat properly with no weight, giving them weight just loads dysfunction and leads to injury. Another example, a person with MS or a knee replacement may not be able to do deep squats from standing, but on the Reformer, horizontally, they can do Footwork and experience a squat using heavier springs. And they never thought they could. Then they do. It is felt as a huge success by both client and trainer. We helped them re-program their body AND of the mind/mindset.
We work in a unique environment where we can facilitate, functional, practical whole body movement. The Pilates equipment, the TRX, Bodhi Trainer, Rip Trainer all enable our skilled teachers to take load off joints that may be compromised, and teach a range of motion that they presently have and meet them there to progress safely. Taking time to give proper instruction creates self discovery, competence and strength. When people regain a sense of competency and they perceive that they can also move without pain, psychologically, they begin to feel better as they are moving. When someone comes in in pain, and we help them get out of pain by teaching them how, it changes their life. It might not mean that they overcome the factors that created the pain, but they can have a break from the pain they typically experience. Additionally, if they can eventually experience the ease of movement on their own, then that is a victory which decreases their fear and increases their activity level. Our role, really, is to facilitate better movement which leads to a better, longer life.
We can change resistance, line of force, decrease the length of levers, vary proprioceptive feedback, and base of support. We can use the equipment to re-educate clients about proper alignment and load for their bodies, and then they can use the knowledge when they leave the studio. They can have multiple positive movement experiences in the studio which begins to change the wiring in the brain and then begins to translate into their lives outside the studio. It is empowering and that is kinda a big deal.
There are not “good exercises” and “bad exercises”. There are effective exercises and safe exercises and exercises that do not give you a lot of metabolic benefits and those that do. There are dessert exercises, exercises you hate, exercises you love, but there are not good exercises and bad exercises, there is good movement and bad movement. There are exercises that are better for a specific posture or length/strength discrepancy and individual programming for specific goals. There are universals of exercise science and best practices to be upheld. There is working your craft with informed integrity and trying to make as much money as possible by selling crap “weight loss” products and programs that are short sited. There is diversity in body geometry. There are some standards to note and there are trends that are simply stupid. We teach our students how that incredible body of theirs can do incredible things and HEAL, when someone learns how, their world opens....