THE PILATES PLOT:
Yes I tried Pilates, and I enjoyed it. Pilates, in my books, was this amazing idea I knew can benefit me a lot, but I didn’t really want to get into it because it lacks the adrenaline dose I always ask for. This perception changed when Miriam gave me some lessons.
Allow me to introduce you to Miriam Vadillo, a marine biologist who left the marine life and career to pursue new challenges. Miriam chose learning Pilates and becoming a Certified Pilates instructor.
I will add, she is one funny Pilates instructor, and will lighten up the class with her hilarious Spanish accent.
THE RISE AFTER THE FALL:
Miriam and I are close friends for years. I have witnessed her mental & emotional fall right after leaving her Marine Biology life; but to my luck, I have also witnessed her rise from that world of negativity. I have seen her pull her shit together and do something about her situation.
Now this is something to admire about her. She was afraid of change, but she did it anyway. She overcome her fear, stepped out of her comfort zones and embraced changes.
If I to describe Miriam, it won’t be far from a typical passionate Spanish woman. I see loads of energy in her and her actions. In one scene, it would be the flamenco dancer wearing the traditional Spanish dress “Trajes de faralaes”, firmly stomping the ground with her feet, waving her hands with pride and with fierce eyes glaring at her next challenge.
One of the valuable lessons I learnt from Miriam is “dedication”. She would not let anything stop her from getting what she wants. It was blissful watching her change her situation from pain to power. To the point it encouraged me to try Pilates.
LET THE FUN BEGIN:
Not really fun but it was kind of fun [at least what I convinced myself with].
I took 2 sessions with Miriam so far. And both were equally valuable to point out my areas of improvement. The first showed me how weak my core strength is [no, I don’t have 6 packs, only 1], and the second reminded me how inflexible I am [yeah, don’t ask me to split yet]
I loved both sessions and I felt their importance. And on the longer run, I strongly believe they will improve my climbing, caving, & all other pleasurable activities I do [Let your mind go wild here].
So here’s what I have done and how it helped me:
REFORMER WORKOUT. AKA Toufic’s core-body is shit.
It was a full body workout on the Pilates reformer machine; the intensity of each workout was controlled by springs that define the level of resistance.
This is when I did all sort of challenging set of different positions. I learnt how to focus my balance on the right places, especially when my body weight was shifting from a position to another. The resistance springs will work against you to take you off-balance, so I had to activate the right group of muscles to be in control of your own body [or else face-plant the floor, which I did NOT].
PILATES MAT. AKA Toufic’s flexibility is null.
The class is based on the traditional series of Joseph Pilates with a contemporary approach. Miriam provided options and different levels of each exercise depending on my flexibility [which is none], acceptable strength and movement restrictions related to my current shoulder injury & few other injuries too [yes I am broken as f*].
We worked on strengthening my core, spinal mobilization, increase flexibility, improve control and balance.
The session was challenging, I didn’t feel pain in the muscles, rather feeling the good pain after a worthy stretching session [we call it pleasurable pain]. Miriam helped me stretch out my inflexible parts [& by “parts” I mean hamstrings and other stuff like that]. We worked slowly on pushing my limits, it worked GREAT, and I loved it.
Technical description of the classes I did:
1. Pilates Mat:
The main focus of the class yesterday was the Core (this involves the abdominals and the lower back- the center of the body). Spinal mobilization is a strong point on the exercises as we performed a lot of flexion of the spine (the roll ups and roll overs). Flexibility is very important in this class.
We worked on pelvis stability, control and balance, all the abdominal group: transversus abdominals, rectus abdominals and obliques. We stretched the whole spine. We also worked on the spine extensors, upper, middle and lower back. We worked on the Lateral stabilization, the outer and inner thighs, on the gluts specially the medium gluts. Strength of the Hamstring too but mainly I focused on stretch cos your hamstrings are very tight. Torso stabilization, shoulder stabilization which is important for your injury.
The class focused on the medium muscles , the hidden ones that don’t require weights to target. We used my body weight and correct position, alignment and breathing.
2. Reformer workout:
It is a full body workout, adding the resistance of the springs. We started with some gentle movements of the joints and some stretches.
We started with the Double Leg Footwork, we worked on the four muscles of the quads. Then worked on the abs starting with the 100’s and a series of 4 more exercises targeting the rectus abdominals, transversus and obliques.
Then Feet in the straps and higher resistance to work on hips disassociation and inner thighs. This exercise was very helpful, it stretched my hamstrings and opened my hips. we did other stretches like the Dancer’s Stretch, and Long Stretch Series starting from the knees with the Down Stretch.
We did the Scooter and the Evil Lunges to work on the gluts and thighs.
Miriam added Rowing Biceps and twist. And we worked on shoulders stabilization.