My daughter, Jovelle, brought me to her Pilates Class at the Gold’s Gym at 7th & Figueroa Streets in Downtown Los Angeles at 1:00 PM. The class was held inside one of studio rooms of the Gym where it could accommodate at least 30 people. We entered the room a few seconds before the class started where I was the only male in the group. After taking some yoga mat, roller tube foam, foam blocks and light dumbells from the equipment room of the venue, the class started immediately.
It was my first attendance to a formal Pilates class and it was a new experience for me. There are exercises that seem to be easy but after doing them for more repetitions, I felt that there are muscles on my core and back that are not fully used and stretched.
It was a non-stop transition from one exercise to another and I started to sweat after 15 minutes. I hope I could explain in details the different exercises where you have to use those hard foam blocks, those hard ball weights, and those hard foam tube that you roll on top of your body and arms while making those sit-ups from lying position on your back and other exercises which are mostly on the mat.
Aside from making the core muscles strengthened, the back muscles and spinal bones were also given some exercises to make them in their original alignment and make you sit tall.
I’ve observed that there are some pose that resembles yoga positions but I think Pilates exercises are more intense, though they emphasize also correct breathing cycle through a rythym of inhale and exhale. I like that pose where you lift your back & head & both legs/toes straight up in the air while your straight arms are pumping (and your butt is only the one that touches the mat) while breathing with a rhythm. This exercise really hardens your abdominal muscles!
The ladies, to include my daughter, in the class were very graceful in their movements as if everything to them was so easy but I was there at the edge of the room moaning, breathing heavily and sweating. And I realized that all the ladies, to include the instructress, were all in their 20s, 30s, and I was the only guy who is in his late 50s!!! Ha! Ha! Ha! Well, the instructress noticed me in my predicament and she just made a general statement that “to take it easy if you are new to the Pilates class”! It was nice to hear it and I slowed down with my exercises after hearing her words of warning. (To the Hardcores: Guys, I was surrounded with beautiful ladies!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!)
Due to the smooth transition and continous instruction from the lady instructor, the class and different exercises passed so fast that I wanted to have more of them. The class lasted for one hour. It was a nice experience to attend a formal class in Pilates. I hope I will be able to make Pilates as part of my running exercises. In fact, in my readings from the training of top ultrarunners, they recommend Pilates exercises to strengthen the core muscles and be able to maintain a good running form.
After the Pilates class, I had an additional 30-minute workout with the machines and kettle bells in the gym.
I hope I could attend more of the Pilates classes in the coming days.
If you haven’t tried Pilates, find time to do it in your Gym workouts or better buy those DVDs where you could play and imitate the movements while watching it. This is not a guarantee that it will make you faster in your runs immediately but I am sure it will strengthen those hidden muscles in your core & back which you haven’t exercised before and prevent your body from injuries related to your running and other physical activities.