This article will summarize the importance of good posture and warm-up exercises that every Pilates instructor needs to know. Let’s go looking for Joseph Pilates in the video channels on the internet. We will find the method’s creator teaching some exercises that are not among Mat Pilates or Pilates’ traditional practices with equipment.

For example, slow runs exercise to open and close the legs with jumps and movements more dynamic and faster than the traditional ones. In that case, they were exercises used as a way to warm up for the Pilates class.

Warm-up exercises are all modes that serve as preparation for physical activity. The intention is to obtain the ideal material and mental state and kinetic preparation and coordination to prevent injuries. It should be the first part of any physical activity.

Thus, in this text, we will know the importance of warming up for the Pilates class and recommendations for you to perform in the best way with your students.

Importance of Maintaining a Good Posture

When a student comes to the Pilates Studio, he comes with a goal: pain relief, flexibility improvement, posture improvement, only muscle strengthening, or injury prevention for a sport. But one consideration that cannot change is the student’s postural assessment. Every pilates instructor needs to know how to posture a student while practicing the exercises.

Regardless of the evaluation method used or the evaluations made, postural evaluation is critical.

That is what we are going to see throughout this text, as the postural evaluation is critical to create postural awareness and improve your student’s posture with the practice of Pilates.

Definition of Posture

First, we must begin to understand what we are looking for, what is posture.

It is nothing more than a composition of the positions of the body’s different joints at a given moment.

Correct posture is the position in which a minimum of stress is applied to each joint. If the vertical posture is proper, a minimum of muscular activity is necessary to maintain it. We can define it as:

It is the ability to maintain the body’s stability and the body segments in response to the forces that disturb the body balance.

Posture maintenance and control depend on the CNS’s integrity, visual, vestibular, and musculoskeletal systems. Postural control depends on information from joint receptors.

The CNS must detect, anticipate instability and respond to all “inputs” with the appropriate response “outputs” to maintain the balance of the body.

Important Information on Heating

Every pilates instructor needs to know that the goal of warm-up exercises is to increase your body temperature.

Warm-up activities are necessary to prepare the body for physical stimulation because they increase performance and decrease muscle injury risk. Moderate intensity of active warm-up and passive warm-up can increase muscle performance by 3% to 9%.

An increase in temperature by 2º C corresponds to a 20% increase in muscle contraction speed. Furthermore, all biochemical reactions become faster with increasing temperature.

This is explained by the fact that the increase in temperature favors the speed of an endothermic reaction. In conclusion, for each temperature increase, there is a 13% increase in metabolic physical activity, which contributes to a higher caloric intake.

The benefits of heating are related:

  • Increase in muscle temperature and energy metabolism;

  • Increased elasticity of the tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments remain more elastic)

  • Increased production of synovial fluid (increased lubrication of the joints)

  • Increased cardiac output and peripheral blood flow

  • Improved central nervous system function and neuromuscular motor unit recruitment.

  • These modifications promote improvements in fluidity and efficiency of movement, thus preventing joint problems.

Important Information on Heating

Every pilates instructor needs to know that the goal of warm-up exercises is to increase your body temperature.

Warm-up activities are necessary to prepare the body for physical stimulation, because they increase performance and decrease the risk of muscle injury. Moderate intensity of active warm-up and passive warm-up can increase muscle performance by 3% to 9%.

An increase in temperature by 2º C corresponds to a 20% increase in the speed of muscle contraction. Furthermore, all biochemical reactions become faster with increasing temperature.

This is explained by the fact that the speed of an endothermic reaction is favored by the increase in temperature. In conclusion, for each degree of temperature increased, there is a 13% increase in metabolic physical activity, which contributes to a higher caloric intake.

The benefits of heating are related:

  • Increase in muscle temperature and energy metabolism;

  • Increased elasticity of the tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments remain more elastic)

  • Increased production of synovial fluid (increased lubrication of the joints)

  • Increased cardiac output and peripheral blood flow

  • Improved central nervous system function and neuromuscular motor unit recruitment.

  • These modifications promote improvements in fluidity and efficiency of movement, thus preventing joint problems.

Warm Up for Pilates Class

As a Pilates instructor you need to know the importance of warming up in preparing the body to receive a movement stimulus, whatever it may be. How can we introduce these warm-up exercises in Pilates class?

First, we must keep in mind the general objective of the student and what the daily objective of care. Thus we can add some directed exercises to achieve the objectives of our students.

The functional warm-up exercises are well accepted by the practitioners, which makes the warm-up a dynamic part at the beginning of the class.

In the continuation we can point out some of these exercises, many of them are functional, which fit well into that part of the class. Let’s go!

  1. Slow to Start

The stationary race, or the slow forward / backward / side race with changes in directions are good indications to start the ideal class.

With this type of exercise, the student begins to forget his routine and focus on what to do.

In addition, it is important for the student to talk with the instructor about subjective exertion sensation, which can be measured using the Borg scale that assesses pain and exertion.

  1. Increased Mobility

We manage to increase muscle mobility and joint mobility with dynamic stretching, which is the movement of the limb in the neutral position to the final amplitude. In which the muscle reaches its maximum length and immediately returns to its original position.

Dynamic stretching is recommended as an alternative to static stretching. Well, dynamic stretching has a positive and immediate impact on physical performance.

Increased mobility by dynamically stretching the muscles can produce better performance. Well, the exercises are similar to the movement patterns used and, consequently, they increase the activation of motor units and the capacity to produce power.

Dynamic stimulation increases the temperature of the muscle tissue, increases the effectiveness of contraction, thus helping in proprioception and improving the pre-activation of the organism for the subsequent task. Improving the speed of transmission of nerve impulses and muscle work.

  1. Increased Heart Rate

Now the student is already at the highest body temperature and it is time to maintain the heart rate.

The exercises “mountain climb” and the simulation of the Olympic lift with soft load can be performed. Thus, like plyometric exercises (jumps, for example) that work the muscle balance reaction.

Exercises on the speed and agility ladder can also be performed. According to Weineck, the speed of nerve impulse conduction also increases when this type of reaction is worked, generating greater speed of coordination of movements.

  1. Recruitment of the Abdominal Musculature

Begin by training the core before the limbs. That is a concept of the commandments of functional physical training, which means that we need to strengthen the Core or the famous and well-known Power House (lumbopelvic region) before distal movements, because it is in that region that the body produces stability and strength.

In that phase of the warm-up, the abdominals begin in stability. We can facilitate or hinder these exercises according to the level of each student.

Remember that the stabilizing muscles are made up of the four quadrants of the body. That is why four exercises are indicated (ventral, right lateral, left lateral and dorsal).

  1. Specific Muscle Warming Up

Represents specific exercises for a modality or a goal, directing them to large muscle groups.

With the aim of promoting the redistribution of blood, which is found in a large percentage in the gastrointestinal tract, and favoring greater irrigation of the muscles that will be recruited during exercise, providing it with more oxygen and making it possible to reach an ideal temperature.

Here, we must give emphasis to the specific musculature in the class, be it of the upper limbs or the lower limbs. Multiarticular exercises are welcome, we must always remind ourselves of the principles of functional training, which is the work of the body in an integral global way and not in isolation.

In this phase we can involve the entire neuro-muscular system in activities, where synergy is always sought. Like bipodal or unipodal squats (lunges) isometric or with repetitions for the lower limbs.

These exercises are important when associated with movements of the upper limbs, such as pulling or pushing, both horizontally and vertically, using the equipment’s own springs, elastic bands or tonning balls.

Conclusion…

The warm-up is a very important phase of training in any physical activity and in Pilates. We must always pay attention to the exercises oriented in that phase of the class. Well, with them we can prevent injuries, which is very important for the physical condition of the student.

After the beginning of the training with the warm-up, the student will be properly prepared to receive the strength and stretching stimuli that the class will demand.

The periodization of each exercise depends on each student and each instructor, but it can be included between 10 minutes and 20 minutes at the beginning of the Pilates class, the time that will guarantee more safety in your classes.

No matter how intense or light the exercises are, warm ups are crucial when it comes to any form of workout routine. Muscles need to prepare for stretching therefore these exercises will help you with that.