STUDIO NEWS - Is There a Proper Order for Exercises in a Workout?

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The Proper Order of a Workout
I recently read an article in the local newspaper regarding the best order to exercise your muscles. The author was spot on regarding weighted resistance: major muscles first – the larger ones first as you learn proper form; top of the body first, then lower body since the upper body is usually weaker and requires more attention & energy; then opposing muscle groups. After that, add in compound movements – more than 1 muscle group &/or joint; and then add isolation exercises to target specific joints or muscles. And lastly, always work in the largest range of motion (ROM) possible with proper form.
A Pilates workout is a little different. After a short warm-up, you immediately begin to work in compound or complex movements – more than 1 muscle &/or joint. This is in large part because Pilates is functional fitness. We try to create movement patterns, or correct improper movement patterns, so that we lay a foundation for proper movement as we go through our everyday lives. We don’t move through life 1 muscle or 1 joint at a time. Everything is compound or complex movement.  A couple of examples: while doing hamstrings on the Long Box on the Reformer, we not only work the hamstrings but are also placing a great deal of focus on pelvic stability, hip rotation/parallel, and spinal muscles. Another example is chest presses on the Tower/Cadillac with springs from below. The focus is more than the pecs & triceps. It is really about scapular stability as you move your arms in the shoulder joints.
And I could go on & on. The point is Pilates is different. Sometimes we work the legs at the beginning, sometimes at the end, sometimes in-between, sometimes all 3. And our focus is never just the active muscles creating the movement. There is always stabilization that is just as important, if not more important, in the exercises. And we always strive to create all 4 movements of the spine in the workout. That is extremely important. Again, another way that Pilates is functional fitness.


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Video Highlight - 1 Leg Kick
Here is a great example of what I just spoke about above. The focus of this exercise is not on the active hamstring muscles, although they are working. It is more about alignment in spinal extension and all the muscles that create & maintain it.
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1 Leg Kick
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