Everyone pictures Pilates routines happening on mats, reformer tables, and chairs. They have seen the long stretching movements and positions which create a long, lean, strong body. Then an ingenious Pilates instructor had a bright idea and decided to create Water Pilates by adapting the Pilates world to water.
Water Pilates follows many of the same movements and motions as regular Pilates, but without getting down on a mat. Many people have found the buoyancy of water helps them to be able to relax further, and to work on stretching further with greater control.
Pilates routines in water are often done near the edge of the pool to allow gripping the edge and using it for balance and focus while performing the movements. Water Pilates is very well suited to elderly people starting off in Pilates since it removes much of the strain on the body. Many people recovering from injuries have found Pilates movements in the water to be easier and aids them in regaining core strength before they head back into their regular Pilates classes. Some of these people decide they love the water so much they never return to regular Pilates routines.
Pilates in the water works in much the same way as traditional standing Pilates movements. You will be working to stretch, lengthen, and strengthen your muscles. Your Pilates class will work on building a balanced and aligned body. Focus on proper breathing, and proper body alignment is stressed in all movements. When you are working in the water it is often easier to allow your body to fall out of alignment because you are not working with a solid foundation under your feet. The added flotation allows your body to move a little more fluidly, so your focus on alignment must be maintained.
In Water Pilates you will utilize the water as your primary resistance instead of relying on other Pilates accessories such as springs or resistance bands. The most common comparison people are curious about is how does this Pilates routine compare to a water aerobics class. The answer is very simple, they are completely different. Water aerobics is about moving quickly to bring your heart rate and breath rate up. Water Pilates is about creating balance, core strength, alignment, and range of motion. Both forms of exercise can give their practitioners great benefits, but very different benefits. If you want a strong core, a long lean body, and a feeling of overall health, Pilates is one of the greatest choices in the world. If you need to work on heart efficiency, then water aerobics should be your first choice.
Water Pilates may not be for everyone, but it is an interesting alternative. You can get a great workout for your body, without the gravitational pull. You can play and enjoy the water, and often times do more complex moves due to the added support of the water. There will be less positions and techniques available, but should be enough to keep up your interest. If you find the idea interesting, give a class at try.