A long term student said to me the other day: “I feel like I’m not very strong. I do very little strength training outside of Pilates class, and part of me would like to be stronger but not bulky. I know sometimes I need to reduce the springs in Pilates because my form suffers but how do I push myself correctly so I get stronger?”
I wanted to share this with fellow instructors, because I’m sure you’ve had similar questions and I’m interested to hear how you answer your clients. Here’s what I told my client:
As a general rule, the minute your form suffers, stop the exercise.
Then reduce the range of motion, adjust resistance, or choose a slightly less challenging modification. Loss of form is usually a sign that you need to go back to a modification that is slightly easier so you can keep proper form.
Why is form so important when you are trying to build strength?
Form indicates that all levels of muscles are working correctly. If your form gets messy that indicates that the deepest levels of muscles are not doing their part to manage the joint alignment. You will get stronger much faster by simply doing a slightly less challenging version of the same exercise with proper form. As your strength increases, you can modify the exercise to be harder and harder. This will build strength safely.
What happens if I continue to do an exercise with bad form?
Well, not only do you risk injury but you may actually be training the wrong muscles to do a job they were not designed to do. Over time this can lead to a whole host of problems. No one wants to be injured!
One of the reasons that we at Blue Sparrow Pilates love STOTT PILATES® is because proper anatomical form is emphasized in each exercise creating a safe and functional environment for your body to move.
So, what do you think? How do you address your clients’ form versus strength concerns? Do they have other common questions?