10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Pilates Class
1. Forgetting Your Alignment
Pilates controls every single part of your body. The position of your feet, your hands; everything is equally important. In particular it's about controlling your head, your rib cage, and your pelvis because they're your three main body weights.
You need to check your alignment before each move, as you go through the move and then - people forget this - as you come out of the move. You should always come back to the same position.
2. Holding your Breath
Pilates uses different styles of breathing, the main one is called lateral thoracic which involves breathing into your ribs and into your side, this is quite important as doing the movements.
You mustn’t hold your breath - the breathing helps you to use your core correctly.
3. Over Recruiting Your Pelvic Floor
Less is more. You only use your muscles equally when and if you need them to control your movement and alignment.
They shouldn't be engaged the whole time and this is the mistake people often make which causes lots and lots of problems in the long term.
4. Faking Your Pelvic Floor 'Zip'
It's very difficult to identify if you are working your pelvic floor correctly - 'zipping' up the muscles from back to front.
The first thing you need to check for is that you haven’t tipped your pelvis – that you haven’t moved, because that’s a common cheat.
Next thing is that you're not squeezing anything else instead; your bum, your calves or gritting your teeth.
You can actually feel it, if you put your fingers on your hip and the top part of your pelvic bone and go inside the bone and down a bit, feel everything relaxed then engage your core. You will feel it.
It should feel like when you put your seat belt on, on a plane, it should be coming across, it shouldn’t bulge up - if there’s any bulging you’ve over done it and you’ve got the wrong muscles.
5. Doing The Moves You Like, Not What You Need
We tend to do the exercises that we like doing and they're often the ones we shouldn’t do - we actually need to do the ones we don’t like.
For instance, if you're on the computer a lot, you'll naturally become quite round shouldered, so curl ups are really no good.
You have to do your darts, your back extensions to reverse it.
If you know you're in front of the desk all day, do arm openings, do rotations - don’t do more stomach crunches that bring you back to where you started!
6. Not Keeping The Aligned Posture During The Movements
If not working out with an expect, it’s a better idea to work in front of a mirror to see and to be sure your posture is correctly aligned. If you are unable to keep your correct posture it might be highly possible for you to injure yourself.
7. Risking Your Neck With Ab Exercises
For years they wouldn’t let you put your hands behind your head during any sort of crunches, because you’ll pull on your neck but no, when you put your hands behind your head to do a simple curl up, let your head be heavier than your hands, feel the weight of your head and let your hands take the weight of your head then nod your head forward.
Then with the weight still heavy in your hands, make sure it's your stomach that brings you up and then don’t fling back down again. A lot of problems come from on the way back down so really go back down slowly with control.
You can build up to hands-free as your stomach muscles get stronger.
8. Not drinking enough water
Water is a must to hydrate you during a workout. Dehydration leads to muscle fatigue and loss of coordination. Without an adequate supply of water the body will lack energy and muscles may cramp. So, drink before, during and after a Pilates workout. Staying hydrated helps prevent the decline in performance, strength, power, aerobic and anaerobic capacity during exercise.
9. Obsessing Over certain movements
You might need to shape your belly area or make your legs slimmer, but whatever your problematic area is, you should never work on one certain area during a Pilates session. Pilates is a balanced harmony of movements and they should go together to have the most desirable result at the end.
10. Rushing Through Movements
Don’t rush it, it's actually harder to do something slower than it is quick.
If you're doing a hip roll and you're doing it very slowly, you're going to have to really control it over a period of time. If you do it quickly then it's just your legs doing the work.
You should try to focus and work slowly and precisely.