I have taught a LOT of Pilates classes and clients in the 13 years of my career. Every day, I am amazed at how the body moves and responds to simple movements. All too often I see people rushing through their workouts. Push, push, push, pull, pull, pull. With weights or resistance that is too heavy for them. I ask you, is that good for the body or even safe? When we work with resistance or weights that are too heavy, we lose form. When proper form is lost it seems as if there is something in the brain that kicks in as if to say, "Hey weakling, push through. No pain, no gain!" Am I right? This is especially common in a group class setting.
Let's take a closer look at what happens when we stop focusing on simple movements done properly. Take a basic functional movement like the squat. We do this all day long whether it be by sitting then standing up, using the restroom or even single leg squats or lunges by going up stairs. If we lean to one side or disengage our core muscles (abdominals AND back muscles. Yes, both are part of the core), our spine can go out of it's neutral alignment and the lower back takes the brunt of the work. Is that truly functional? Then what happens? Lower back pain. Not to mention the work has then been shifted from the quads, glutes, core and hamstrings and we’ve taught our muscles to not work together. This becomes even more of an issue when you add any type of weight. Ask yourself, what’s the purpose of adding something to a movement if your form isn’t spot on. Earn it!
Knees. I like that I don’t have any knee pain, don’t you? I’d like to keep it that way too! Staying with squats as our example, keep it simple. Slow down. When we rush through the movement it doesn’t allow the smaller muscles, the ones that hep to stabilize the joint and keep them strong, to actually work. Speeding through exercises just to get them done only promotes poor form and the alpha big muscles to push those little guys aside. The same goes for adding weight. Take it slow.
Take your time. Focus on form instead of clouding movements with heavy weight and additional "fun" choreography. You will become stronger faster when you stop and do simple movements correctly and slow it down.
Your homework...slow down and focus on proper form.
KISS KISS (Keep it simple stupid)!