A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


As I've mentioned before, I take a one-hour long Pilates class twice a week at my local YMCA. I've been taking it since January on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The class is small and the instructor is a very nice girl who seems to enjoy teaching. However, she tends to ignore people using bad form and doesn't always tell us what part of our body a specific exercise should be engaging. She never leaves her mat to adjust our posture and rarely comments on right versus wrong execution.

Which leads me to wonder: when a specific move seems easy is it because I've actually gotten stronger or is it because I'm doing it wrong? Since I'm not getting any feedback from the instructor, I really have no way of knowing if I'm cheating myself out of a better workout.

For example, let's take "swimming":

Two weeks ago I arrived at class early and was chatting with a few of the other students. We were talking about the various poses/exercises that we wish we could skip. One of them mentioned that they didn't like the swimming move and that she didn't understand what it was supposed to be working.

Now, I've always found this particular move easy. But why? Do I have really strong back muscles? Or have I been doing it wrong all these months?

Or what about "rolling like a ball"?

I KNOW I'm doing this one wrong. I'm using my legs to give me momentum as opposed to using my core to lower me down and pull me back up. But I'm unsure how to do it any differently. Which must mean that my core is weaker than I think.

But then, how is it that "scissors" doesn't seem so hard?

Do I not have my shoulders high enough off the mat? Should I be tightening my abdominals more?

So, because of all those questions, I'm debating whether I want to continue taking this Pilates class. I love exercises classes because they keep me accountable, especially for core-strengthening exercises. There's also the factors surrounding my schedule. Being able to pair taking a class with using the elliptical at the gym on the same day is nice. However, although the class is held at the YMCA (to which I have a membership), I do have to pay extra for the class.

I've considered dropping the class and just buying a stability ball and instructional DVD (I LOVE the stability ball) but then I'd have to motivate myself to do that at home AND go to the gym for my cardio cross-training. Do I have that kind of motivation? To be honest, not really.

I've also thought about paying to take a Pilates class at a Pilates-specific studio, but I'd still have the problem of needing to go to two different places to get in my cross-training workouts.

In the end, I'll probably just stick with my current class. At least though July. And maybe I'll get up the courage to ask our instructor to help me figure out what I might be doing wrong or what I could do differently to get a better workout. Maybe.


Bayjb said...

Hmm I usually get a big pilates and yoga fail, but that swimming pose, that is just really difficult. No matter what.

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