Remember when you decided to skip Pilates stretching and went straight to intense Pilates strengthening workout…
How was your muscle the day after? We bet your DOMS or delayed onset of muscle soreness was much more painful compared to the times when you started your workout with proper Pilates stretching.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve heard stories from our clients about how much they regret skipping warm-ups and stretching before an intense Pilates.
But before you go straight to using your Pilates stretch bar, you need to understand that there is a right sequence when performing your everyday workout.
Keep reading as we introduce to you the only real workout Pilates sequence that you should be following to help prevent muscle injury.
3 Benefits Of Stretching Before An Intense Pilates Workout
1. Stretch and relax…
Did you know that when you stretch, your body releases endorphins?
These are hormones that reduce pain and stress and improve your overall mood. This is why you feel positive and somewhat relaxed after you stretch.
2. Lower your risk of injury
According to studies, stretching lowers your risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries when you engage in physical activities.
When you stretch, you increase your joints’ range of motion; giving you the ability to perform different positions without limitation or pain.
That being said, it’s important the stretches you perform are specific to the physical activity you’ll be doing.
A good example is when you’re planning to perform a workout on your Pilates cadillac. This type of Pilates equipment is good for people with great flexibility because they can perform intricate Pilates positions.
So with cadillac Pilates, you need to do a great stretch such as spine stretch Pilates to prepare your core and back muscles.
3. Healthy heart
Passive stretching can improve your body’s vascular function, and decrease arterial stiffness and blood pressure.
The Only Real Pilates Workout Sequence:
1. Warm-up: Stretching Is Not A Warm-Up!
You read it right! Stretching is not a warm-up, as opposed to what most people think.
Warm-up is actually more about performing low-intensity aerobic or cardio exercises. Its purpose is to literally warm your muscles, hence the name.
By doing warm-ups you improve your muscles’ ability to contract and respond to stretching and prepare your body for intense physical activity.
You can do 5 to 10 minutes of brisk walking, light jogging, or leg swinging as a warm-up exercise.
Now that your muscles have already warmed up and are pliable, you’re ready to stretch them without worrying about getting injured.
The first rule of stretching is knowing the proper form.
Too often, Pilates-goers are busy learning different stretching positions without emphasis on proper form. However, you need to remember that improper form can lead to injury.
Second, know the basic types of stretching and when to perform them.
a. Dynamic Stretching
A dynamic stretch is when you stretch your muscles by actively going through a full range of motion without hold. This type of stretching improves speed and agility and is done at the beginning of a workout.
An example of a dynamic stretch is the World’s Greatest Stretch.
b. Static stretch
Static stretching is the traditional way of stretching where you hold a certain position for 20-45 seconds.
You should perform this type of stretching as part of your cool-down to help reduce the risk of injury.
Think of dynamic stretching as a preparation for an intense Pilates workout. While static stretching helps you maintain your flexibility after a workout by helping you relax your muscles.
3. Intense Pilates workout
Hooray! You're now ready to sweat and feel the changes that an Align Pilates F3 Folding Reformer Machine can do to your body.
If you want an intense Pilates workout, you may check our blog Advanced Pilates Exercises.
4. Cool Down: Don’t just stop!
Cool-down exercises seem repetitive! So no wonder why you might want to skip it.
But… Like warm-ups, cold-down is also important to reduce the risk of injury and decrease the effects of DOMS.
The purpose of a cool-down is to slowly bring your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure into a normal state. Helping your body adjust to extreme physiological changes that it underwent while doing Pilates workout.
As we mentioned earlier, static stretching is a good cold-down workout.
Do this 3-Minute Dynamic Pilates Stretching For A Healthier Workout
1. Cat-Cow Stretch
Cat-cow stretch is a type of spine stretch Pilates that…
- Opens your spine
- Improves flexibility of your shoulders
- Strengthens your abdominal muscles
Target muscles: Abdominal spine muscles
- Start on all fours position. Align your shoulder with your wrist and your hips with your knees; keep your toes pointing forward and your back in a neutral position parallel to the floor
- Inhale while simultaneously dropping your belly towards the floor, rolling your shoulder back, and extending your neck with your eyes towards the ceiling
- Exhale while simultaneously engaging your core muscles and arching your back. Move your head between your shoulders
- Do this 10-15 times or for 1 minute
2. The World’s Greatest Stretch
It’s called The World’s Greatest Stretch because it targets multiple muscles all through your body.
A stretch that lives up to its name!
Target muscles: Hip, shoulders, chest, arm, thigh, legs
- Assume a lunge position with your right foot forward and place both your hands flat on the mat. Both arms should be parallel to your right leg. Keep your left leg extended
- Bend your right elbow and try to touch your right foot with it. Reach as far as you can while keeping your back straight
- After touching your right foot with your right elbow, smoothly extend your right elbow and lift it up while rotating your body and head to the right
- Your eyes should be looking at your right palm. Keep your body, left arm and leg straight. Engage your core muscles
- Repeat this exercise 10-15 times or for 1 minute
3. Dynamic Single Leg Stretch Pilates
Time to show off your Elina Pilates!
Things you’ll be needing…
- Pilates reformer machine
- AeroPilates magic circle
Target muscles: Hamstrings, quads, calf muscles
- Lie down on the carriage and place your head between the shoulder support
- Place your left foot on the footbar with your knee bent. Extend your right leg as far as you can, insert your right foot in the AeroPilates magic circle, and press the ball of your foot against it
- Extend your left leg by pushing the footbar and moving the carriage away from it. Keep your back flat on the carriage
- Repeat 10-15 times or for 1 minute
Don’t skip a beat!
Who knew that stretching, a very basic workout requirement, can have a significant impact on your overall health?
So the next time you decide to do a Pilates workout, don’t skip stretching. It can save you from pain, injury, and heart disease.
Make your warm-up and stretching more exciting and challenging! Check our Pilates Reformer catalogue and find the best equipment that will help you become more flexible.