Posted November 16, 2021
Pilates may be a low-impact workout that just about anyone can try, but not everyone that does Pilates realises the importance of stretching before your Pilates class. Pilates is a form of exercise which works on strengthening and lengthening the body to align posture, reduce pain and improve flexibility.
Stretching before you work out increases your muscle’s range of motion, which can increase strength and performance during a workout – including Pilates sessions – as well as reducing your risk of injury by warming up your muscles and joints.
Still not convinced? Here’s why stretching is essential for your Pilates workout!
Stretching is the act of lengthening your muscles. Stretching can take place before, during or after exercise, and should be done for both warm-up and cool-down sessions. Doing these stretches regularly will improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension and increase the range of motion in your joints.
Before Pilates: A study found that pre-exercise static stretching reduces strength performance – but only if you hold a stretch for longer than 30 seconds . So shorter holds are recommended to boost flexibility without sacrificing strength.
The best time to do this type of stretching is right before you start exercising . This opens up blood vessels and increases oxygen flow to muscles, which helps prepare your body for exercise.
After Pilates: When you finish exercising, your muscles are in a more flexible state than they were at the start of your workout. This is when it’s important to include some static stretching in your cool-down session . Like before, this should be done in moderation – aim for 15 minutes or less to prevent muscle soreness.
If you’re new to Pilates, it may take some time getting used to these stretches during pre-and-post sessions. Keep practicing! Over time, you’ll gain flexibility and improve mobility which will help you get the most out of each Pilates workout session.
During Your Pilates Class: Each move works different parts of the body so having an increased range of motion in certain muscles is essential.
Stretching your back and legs before and after each session will help you lengthen and strengthen the muscles needed to hold correct posture throughout each exercise. For example, stretching your inner thighs at home or during an evening session could improve the burn you feel when doing leg stretches during a workout.
You can start by making time for two to five minutes of pre-and post-Pilates stretches – such as half kneeling hip stretch, seated hamstring stretch or side plank – before each Pilates class.
Over time, aim to increase this to 10 minutes pre-class. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to maintain good alignment throughout your workouts.
If you’re ready to get started, search for a Club Pilates studio near you using our studio locator. Our range of low-impact workouts will help you strengthen your physique while improving your flexibility and mobility over time. Visit your local studio – we’ll see you soon!