Each month, we invite you to pick the brains of one of our reformer pilates experts. Here’s this month’s question to our head trainer, Sarah Michael.
I’m a 37 year old guy that would say I’m fit and strong and I train almost daily. Lately I’ve been getting a pretty sore back and my physio has said I should try pilates. I’ve never done it in my life – is it better late than never? Luke
Hi Luke, definitely! As someone who trains daily, you probably think pilates can’t make you any stronger, but I promise it can. The reason being is that it works muscle groups that you’re probably ignoring right now, hence your sore back. By focusing on those neglected muscle groups we can improve your back and add loads of support to your regular training, which in turn will help you to train even harder.
For instance, glutes are a commonly neglected muscle group that can be difficult to target- we sometimes call them ‘lazy’. When your glutes are weak, other muscles such as your hip flexors, quads and ITB can become overactive, and you can also end up with back pain and knee pain. Stronger glutes not only give you an instant lift (hello peaches!) they also improve your overall stability and make you far less prone to injury.
The Transversus Abdominus – your deepest layer of stomach muscle – is another commonly overlooked muscle. One job of the Transversus Abdominus is to stabilise the spine, as it’s the only stomach muscle that attaches to each of the lower vertebrae. That’s why focusing on this muscle makes a huge difference to reducing back pain and lowering the risk of injuring your lower back. Pilates also focuses on the other stomach muscles on top of the Transversus Abdominus for an incredibly strong overall core that helps to protect your back
Doing pilates will also help you develop a new body awareness for your spinal position. Being conscious of your spine for a whole 50 minute class – and having us guide you through on how to hold correct spinal position throughout the class – will help you once you’re outside the studio as you become, even quite unconsciously, more aware of how your back moves and how to carry correct, injury-reducing posture.
As someone who trains regularly, you could probably do with a good stretch too – another benefit of reformer pilates. We stretch in all of our classes but our Vive Stretch class is a fusion of yoga and reformer pilates and it’s particularly awesome for improving flexibility.
It’s definitely never too late to make a start – we have clients in their seventies so you’ve got no excuses!
Have a burning question? Email it to [email protected] and we’ll get it answered for you!