We often get asked the question why form and posture is important in movement?

And here are the reasons why form, alignment and proper technique are so important in exercise and movement.

I often cringe when I see people doing squats or a plank exercise at the gym or at CrossFit during weight training and fitness training. Many people do not realize the damage they do to their joints and how misalignment can affect their joints.  After all, longevity is all important if we want to have a pain free existence and avoid injury, discomfort, or possible medical procedure/s.

The benefits of proper form and alignment during movement and exercise:

  1. It creates a safe workout.

Whether you are doing a deadlift, or lifting a heavy object, especially above shoulder height, or doing a squat without proper form and technique, it can create a whole series of events leading to injury in the body, and compensation of the wrong muscle group/s.

This is why we insist on your first Pilates session being a private one-on-one training session to teach you the fundamentals of proper technique and correct muscle engagement.

  1. Proper form, technique and posture will make your workout easier.

Instead of compensating with the wrong muscles or being in the wrong position, why would you not engage the correct muscles from the start?  Or why would you not hold a body part in the correct position? Your workout will be so much more effective and focused and of course easier and pain free.  And you will make better progress.

Anatomically our joints are designed to be positioned in relation to each other in a precise way, whether we are moving or not, which will enable the muscles to work efficiently in a sequence and in the way that they are meant to.   For example, we will teach you how to work in a neutral pelvis, versus a posterior (flat back) or anterior (arching) hip and lower back positions.  Why neutral spine and pelvis? Why a level pelvis? Because that way there are no shearing forces, and you are working in a safe position.

  1. The correct muscles will be targeted with proper form and posture.

You want to be able to feel muscle fatigue of the targeted muscles, instead of feeling fatigue and pain elsewhere in the body or in the joints.  In addition, you will be able to perform your own workouts safely rather than continue with private training sessions, saving you time and money.  Now that sounds like an awesome deal!  Certain very important abdominal muscles need to be engaged when lifting the legs off the floor, so that your back is protected.  Also give your ribcage placement some thought.  Elevating or popping the ribs for instance during an abdominal workout will have the effect of pulling your back off the floor and losing abdominal control and engagement, thus creating the risk of injury.

  1. In Pilates we pair muscle function with breathing.

We will teach you when to exhale and when to inhale, based on muscles that are responsible for inhalation and exhalation.  To give an example, we exhale during abdominal work as it maximizes abdominal recruitment.  Trunk extensors assist in inhalation, therefore inhaling during trunk extension maximizes their recruitment.  Of course, other muscles also contract during inhalation and exhalation, BUT muscle contraction is more profound when it corresponds with breathing.

Breath control is important and is very powerful when it comes to exercise.  It cleanses the body and guides the mind by promoting strength, stamina, and endurance. In addition, it will improve oxygen flow and post workout recovery.

  1. What is good form?

Let us take a standing position and view the body from the side.  There are 4 important masses of weight in the body.  These are the head, ribcage, pelvis and feet.  The feet are the foundation and depending on the position of the feet, it will impact the rest of the body.  There is a plumb (ideal) line that goes all the way from the feet to the head.  This line should pass through the following point so that the force of gravity is evenly distributed through the body to prevent stress: –

  • lobe of the ear;
  • through the bodies of the neck vertebra;
  • through the shoulder joint (middle of tip of shoulder);
  • midway through the trunk (middle of ribcage);
  • through the hip joint;
  • slightly in front of the midline of the knee; and
  • slightly in front of the ankle

There is also a back to front component, which will affect the placement of the shoulder blades, which are crucial to prevent shoulder injury.  As we know, the shoulder is a very mobile joint, and as such has less stability.  This is one of the areas that is a big focus in pilates.  Of course, there are many other joints like the knees, which we will focus on as well.

  1. Can a Pilates instructor help me to learn proper form and exercise technique?

Most definitely, we will book a private lesson for you and take you through the process of proper form, alignment and correct muscles recruitment and breath patterns.  If you still don’t get it during the first private session, we will book another private session/s for you until you and the Pilates instructor is happy that you understand what to do and what not to do during your exercise class.  This is extremely important so that you do not end up hurting yourself during a group class or in the gym during weight training or in Cross Fit training.  Strength training is as important as stretching and you will learn various stretches applicable to your body.  It is important not to skip stretching, as a lack of mobility and too much strength will affect the symmetry of your body and joints and cause injury.

Pilates exercise focusses on strengthening the deep stabilizing muscles whilst lengthening other muscles and thereby releasing tension, to create balance in the body and to encourage the quality of movement and alignment of joints to prevent strain and injury.

  1. How can I book my first Pilates Lesson?

Contact Pilates Dynamics on 011-7925459 or 072 999 2229 or email info@pilatesdynamics.co.za to book your first private class.Book your class during the month of April and you will receive a free Pilates lesson, no obligations!  Better still, if you tag us on Social Media you can get the second class for free – no obligations!!