How do I know if I'm working too hard? Or that I'm not working as effectively as I could?
Here's 5 quick questions to ask yourself during your next workout.
My back is arching or my ribs are popping
By sinking into the low back or letting the ribs pop from the centre of the body we're putting a lot more strain through the back. Instead, focus on lengthening from the head to the tailbone, pelvis in neutral and keeping the ribs in the body. Think of stacking 3 areas of weight in your body - head over ribcage over pelvis.
2. My tummy is doming
If your tummy is doming, looking like a toblerone triangle or there's a feeling of pushing down you're working too hard. Instead come back to basics - focus on that pelvic floor abdominal connection first of drawing in and up then see if you can maintain this. If you can with good control then start to layer the movement and add load. If not stay where you are and build up your strength - there's no shame in taking a step back in order to be able to progress forward.
3. There's tension in my body
Sometimes if we're working too hard (or holding our breath - see no.4) tension starts to build up in the body. This could be in the shoulders, jaw, hips or pelvic floor. If you feel tension relax the body and come out of the movement. Take a breath and try again.
If we don't release the tension this will keep building and we'll be focussing on that rather than the movement itself.
4. Holding the Breath
This links in with no. 3 above - if we're holding the breath we build tension in the body. Breath is your friend, breathe in fully and breathe out completely and you'll definitely feel the benefits.
5. It doesn't feel good
You know your body better than anyone else and your fitness journey is completely different to anyone else's. You know what does and doesn't feel good. It's fine for a movement to be challenging, as long as you're performing it with good control and are following the points outlined above.
If there's pain or something just doesn't feel good, stop, tell your instructor/teacher who will be able to look at what's going on and make suggestions or offer an alternative.
If you'd like our eyes on you so you can get the most out of your Pilates practice, book a private session or a space on one of our small group classes here