Top 5 benefits of Pilates (including killer abs!)

If you were here yesterday then you know I had Mandee from You Say It Best telling the story of her pilates journey.  And you’d also know that I cut her off right when things were getting good.  Right when she started talking about the benefits of pilates.  So without futher delay, here is pilates instructor Mandee with the rest of her story.

Need to get caught up?  Read part 1 – Pilates Demystified.

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My Top 5 Benefits of Pilates

1.)   Killer Abs. This is true because Pilates works the deep ab muscles—not just the superficial (top layer) muscles that you often work doing crunches. Pilates exercises strengthen the transverse abdominis—the ab muscle that wraps around your middle and has no action associated with it. What I mean by that is that obviously for crunches you are working your rectus abdominis, the ab muscle that goes up and down. And for rotation exercises you can target your obliques. But there really aren’t a ton of exercises that target the transverse except Pilates, and I think that is the key to killer abs. Plus, pretty much ALL of the Pilates exercises use the abs, even if you are doing a leg series your abs are stabilizing and the tranverse and pelvic floor are working, which is toning your abs.

2.)   Cross training benefits. Having a strong core can make life easier in so many ways—you will probably find your other workouts benefit from Pilates. For example, if you are a runner you may notice your posture is easier to control once you master the art of scooping your core and engaging your pelvic floor. The pelvic position you practice in Pilates is similar to the way you’ll want to hold your posture while running. When you run, think about scooping your abs in the same way you did in class. You will automatically stand up taller and have better form. You will notice your core strength benefits you in your other forms of exercise as well, not just running.

3.)   Toned arms and legs without ever lifting a weight again. Yup, I just said that. The reformer provides resistance enough to tone your body from head to toe. You will become strong and lean. Your triceps will be defined, your butt will look better and your legs will be toned. Goodbye reps of arm curls and squats with the dead bar. You will see the same if not even better results by using the reformer 2-3 times a week! The same type of results can be attained from a Mat class, but it helps to incorporate props like the resistance band, the ball and the fitness circle. Yes, your own body weight can tone your muscles, but I am a firm believer that the reformer is what transformed my body.

4.)   Realignment and good posture. Pilates is important for the health of your spine. The exercises work together to create fluidity and realignment of your spine. It isolates the vertebrae one at a time to massage them and puts your body in positions to lengthen and create good posture. I often hear that it is hard for people to stretch before and after a workout. Pilates stretches your muscles as you work-out. After I do Pilates, I feel centered, lengthened, refreshed and balanced.

5.)   Injury recovery. If you have back pain, are recovering from an injury or have other types of physical ‘issues’, I recommend Pilates. Working with an Instructor trained in rehab is hugely beneficial. I have seen clients come in with a large amount of pain from a car accident they had been in or simply from living a sedentary lifestyle for years and years. Pilates sets them free from the pain. I have worked with clients that have Muscular Dystrophy, fibromyalgia, have recently given birth and many clients that have been in car accidents or are hypermobile. In all of them, it is so heartwarming to see that they are healed and feel better by Pilates. When my clients leave their session with a huge smile, a sigh of relief and tell me they feel so much better, I am reminded of the power of Pilates.

If you have more questions, feel free to email Mandee at pilateswithmandee@gmail.com. She offers private Mat Pilates in your home or hers, and group classes in SW Portland on a beautiful rooftop terrace with 360 views of Portland.

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2 thoughts on “Top 5 benefits of Pilates (including killer abs!)

  1. I really need to get into Pilates. I could definitely use the core strength (I’m about to have baby #2 – my abs are gonna need some serious help!), and I’ve had terrible posture for years now. Thanks for the information!

    • Good luck with baby #2! Not sure how far along you are but my pilates class has a special seat from preggo ladies. It helps modify the workouts and takes stress off of certain body parts.

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