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Floor Pilates

About Pilates

Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition the total body.  It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without bulking up. Pilates works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core (the abdomen, back and pelvic girdle region, sometimes referred to as the "powerhouse").

The focus is on quality of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted after a session.  Pilates takes a balanced approach so that no muscle group is overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sport and daily activity.  Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat or on specialised equipment such as a Pilates Reformer, Pilates Cadillac and Ladder Barrel.

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates can be beneficial for virtually all ages, fitness levels and body conditions.  The method is like a bridge between physical fitness and physical therapy, and can be adapted, modified and customised for individual needs. Some advanced moves and sequences seem to demand youthful energy yet others are manageable for even the frailest physique.  It is more about fitness condition than age.  One's chronological number does not necessarily limit one's movement capabilities - sometimes a 75 year old can perform contortions on the Cadillac while a 20 year old struggles with a simple roll up. With regular committed Pilates workouts you can expect to:

  • Improve strength, flexibility and balance
  • Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk
  • Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core
  • Engage the mind and enhance body awareness
  • Condition efficient patterns of movement making the body less prone to injury
  • Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy through deep stretching
  • Restore postural alignment
  • Create a stronger, more flexible spine
  • Promote recovery from strain or injury
  • Increase joint range of motion
  • Improve circulation
  • Heighten neuromuscular coordination
  • Offer relief from back pain and joint stress
  • Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury
  • Enhance mobility, agility and stamina
  • Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity
  • Improve the way your body looks and feels

Mat Pilates Vs Equipment Pilates

The fundamental Pilates workout can be performed on a Pilates mat alone, and great results can be achieved through beginner, intermediate and advanced moves. However, the various equipment pieces such as the Reformer, Cadillac and Chair incorporate light spring resistance that works like concentric and eccentric muscle contractions to safely sculpt, tone and stretch the muscles. The Arc Barrels and Ladder provide support that allows you to safely manipulate your body to stretch and engage muscles otherwise challenging to isolate.  Smaller Pilates equipment pieces such resistance bands, Pilates circles and exercise balls also provide an element of variety and focus to a Pilates regimen.

A complete and satisfying workout can involve exercises on the mat alone or can be combined with various pieces of specially designed Pilates equipment.  Each session can offer variety so that no two workouts are alike.

How to start Pilates program

Mat-based exercises make a good starting point to those new to Pilates. Take the opportunity to enjoy a group mat class in a club setting.  You will definitely feel it - especially deep in your abs.

Once you have got a better handle on integrating all the principles (it takes a while), branch out and try some Pilates equipment.  Small props like Resistance Bands, Circles and Swiss Balls can add variety and interest to a mat workout, but if you want to experience the traditional Pilates equipment, the Reformer is a popular piece to start with. Try our small group class or a private Pilates lesson with a personal trainer at our Pilates studio.

Pilates as a part of your weekly training

Try to work out 2-3 times a week, taking a day off in between sessions to rest or enjoy some kind of cardiovascular activity (see our Classes Time Table for more details).  This kind of regular, consistent practice will help you make the mind-body connection and integrate the various Pilates principles.  You should start seeing and feeling results in about 10 to15 sessions.

Pilates studio @ Fitness Central

Our Pilates studio is predominantly utilised in 3 following ways:

1. Group mat classes

This is a great place for beginners to start, and a fun, social way to continue Pilates practice.  Our classes have a manageable student-teacher ratio (10-15 students) so the instructor can monitor each individual's form and progress. Our classes cater for beginner, intermediate and advanced students.

2. Group Reformer classes for 2-4 participants

These small group sessions are a little more economical per participant than a private session, but still allows for plenty of individual assessment, guidance and monitoring. Various equipment exercises can be approached in these sessions.

3. Private one-on-one sessions

A personal training session is the most effective way to learn, practice and perfect your Pilates performance.  The instructor devotes undivided attention to your specific needs and develops a custom program for optimum results.

Pilates and weight loss

In essence, Pilates exercise is not a cardiovascular workout and burning calories is not it's main focus. However, in conjunction with a sensible diet and some cardio work such as brisk walking, bicycling, aerobics or swimming, Pilates can factor into a weight loss program. Pilates exercises help strengthen, sculpt and tone the body while building long, lean muscles. Whether the number on the scale goes down or not, you will tend to look and feel better through continued Pilates practice.

Pilates during pregnancy

There is a lot of debate on the subject of Pilates and pregnancy and exercise in general. Generally speaking, moderate exercise is safe throughout a normal, healthy pregnancy and many gentle Pilates exercises are appropriate. However, keep the following cautions in mind.

  • Do not over-exert the abdominal muscles to avoid diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles).
  • Take care of you lower back, which can be strained with the weight of the fetus.
  • Avoid all Pilates exercises that require you to lie on your back. Many doctors caution women in the second trimester of pregnancy against doing any exercises that require this position as it can compromise the vascular system of both the mother and fetus.
  • Do not over-stretch, as relaxin and progesterone levels increase during pregnancy causing the ligaments around the joints to become lax, loose and vulnerable.
  • Be aware that your center of gravity and therefore your sense of balance has changed.
  • Do not start a brand new exercise regimen in the first trimester.

 

That being said, many gentle stretching and strengthening Pilates exercises can be good for a woman's body and mind during pregnancy. Some mat exercises can be adapted from a supine (back lying) to a sitting position, and use of a Spine Supporter can help. Other exercises for the mat, Reformer and Cadillac / Trapeze Table can be performed in a kneeling or standing position. The Wunda Chair can be a useful piece of Pilates apparatus during pregnancy as well, as many moves are performed in while sitting upright.

To be safe during pregnancy, only practice Pilates under the guidance of a professional Pilates instructor who has been trained to teach women in this condition.