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Advancing your Pilates Practice?

Long spine on Reformer

How Advancing Your Pilates Practice Is Brain-Building

Building the skills to advance your practice and maximize your movement potential IS the reason to love progressions within your Pilates practice!

Joy Puleo, Assistant Director of Balanced Body’s Continuing Education University addressed the question “Why do advanced work?”

In short, advancing your practice at any level is advantageous to everybody.

What is Advanced work? Is Advanced work simply harder? The answer is NO. Advanced work adds more complexity, ranges of motion, and planes of movement, which requires coordination, control and skill. 

Like building blocks, advanced repertoire can be broken down to specific skills needed to progress clients.  To progress clients to advanced Joy says “Everyone will continue to develop their skill progressions when they are ready.”

When clients have developed the fundamental skills, trust in themselves, and are open to progressing, they’ll be able to go from kneeling to standing, and potentially from hamstring stretch to upside down push up, from long stretch plank to up-stretch pike and some may attempt the snake!  

Does it matter if you do it? No! But progressing at a level you’re ready for and comfortable with feels great!

To progress, one must not only be physically ready but mentally as well. Introducing clients to new movements or repertoire happens when they have developed the skills and when they are open to trying the new movement.

Why advancing your practice is advantageous for every-body. Building skill progression to advance your repertoire is important for the following reasons:

  1. Without skill progression, we would be stuck in the sagittal plane, exercising on our backs the entire session;
  2. Skill progression improves the ability to generate fast and optimal muscle firing patterns;
  3. Skill progression increases dynamic joint stability and coordination of movement in bones and muscles;
  4. You learn or re-learn movement patterns and functional skills necessary for daily living activities and sports;
  5. Skill progression is injury prevention or injury rehabilitation;
  6. Skill progression engages the nervous system building neuroplasticity, creating new and reorganizing pathways, connections and in some cases creating new neurons.

Pilates engages the nervous system, opening up pathways with patterns, repetition and skill progressions building brain neuroplasticity.  

Did you know the human brain is composed of approximately 86 billion neurons and early researchers believed the creation of new neurons stopped shortly after birth?

However, we now know there are many benefits of brain neuroplasticity, allowing the brain to adapt and change promoting the following throughout adulthood:

  • Ability to learn new things and enhance your existing cognitive capabilities;
  • Ability to recover from strokes and traumatic brain injuries;
  • Strengthening some areas if some functions are lost or decline;
  • Improvements that can promote brain fitness.  

You may have come to Pilates to build core strength, and gain flexibility however, that is a great bi-product of Pilates. Pilates requires focused attention which stimulates positive changes in the brain.  

Building brain neuroplasticity and skill progression as you advance your practice will maximize your movement potential and keep you moving for years to come!

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