As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Ortho-Kinetics Professional Trainer, and a former 2 sport college athlete, I’ve been strength training with many different modalities my entire life. Olympic lifting, strength training, plyometrics, speed training, I’ve done it all, or so I thought. I was lucky enough to marry a woman who has very similar interests as I do when it comes to fitness. My wife Davianna is a Pilates instructor and has worked in many different physical therapy clinics and last year started teaching here at Island Fitness. I was able to convince her to strength train with me and she has become my workout partner for the last year and not only has it brought us closer, but it made us more consistent and accountable when it comes to our workouts.

I could go on for hours about the benefits of strength training, but one month ago, after months of attempts, she convinced me to do a Pilates session with her once a week, and since she stepped outside of her comfort zone to try strength training with me, I thought it was only fair to do the same for her. Now one month into these weekly Pilates sessions I’m here to tell you that I’m blown away at the difference it has made in not only my training, but how my body feels overall.

Pilates is so far on the other side of the spectrum from what I am used to. With strength training there is a lot of Isolation work where you go to a machine that’s designed to challenge one muscle group at a time. You try to focus on your mind/muscle connection and eliminate other muscles from trying to help out. With Pilates, it’s challenging on the other end of the continuum. When you see a Pilates reformer in use for the first time it can be a little intimidating. It’s one machine, but it’s not isolating one muscle group like I’m used to. There are foot and hand straps, resistance springs, a sliding carriage, tower, foot bar, jump board, the list goes on. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s a machine that allows the instructor to flow from movement to movement and challenge just about every part of the body, through any range of motion possible, using as many or as few muscle groups as they want.

From a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, yet Pilates newbie perspective I’d say Pilates is all about control, mobility, flow, core strength, breathing, and proprioception (the body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location). The first thing I found to be challenging was my ability to control these big multi-joint movements with flow and smoothness. It was like my brain was so used to isolation work that it didn’t know how to multitask and control multiple joints and muscles simultaneously. The next thing I noticed was just how tight and inflexible I was in certain movements. I thought I had a pretty good Idea of where my needs were when it comes to flexibility and mobility. However, my first Pilates session with Davianna was eye opening and revealed quite a few other areas of need to put it lightly. Overall, it helped me connect with my body in a much more in-depth way than I have ever felt. One benefit that came out of left field for me was just how important the breathing aspect of Pilates is. In everyday life we don’t have to be deliberate with our breathing, our brain takes care of that for us automatically. However, being purposeful with how to breathe while moving on the reformer can totally change the exercise and where to feel a stretch and engagement. The timing of your breath can also help aid or challenge certain movements. I’ve always enjoyed challenging myself when it comes to fitness but never really enjoyed dedicating time to flexibility and mobility training. After a month of consistent weekly Pilates sessions, I’ve noticed a difference in my overall flexibility, mobility, body control, and core strength.

The stereotypical Pilates participant in my mind were always dancers, ballerinas or women who want to have the look of a dancer with long toned muscles, and while that may be the case for most people who are comfortable in that setting, I would urge people to consider stepping outside of their comfort zone and implementing Pilates on a regular basis. After doing some research on athletes participating in Pilates, there are surprisingly many professional athletes who swear by the benefits of Pilates (Think Tom Brady, LeBron James, Tiger Woods to name a few). It’s becoming more and more mainstream as a way of reducing the injury rate in higher impact sports and improving muscular imbalances and limitations in movement. As someone who wants to be active as long as possible and prevent future injuries from occurring, I will most definitely be continuing my weekly sessions with my wife. After only a month I’m not only feeling better in general, but I’ve noticed improvements in my strength training exercises as well. If you’ve been considering trying something new, or been on the fence about Pilates, I would recommend you make an investment in your future self. I can promise in a month or two you’ll be thanking your past self for making that decision.

Quinton Agosta

  • Ortho-Kinetics® Professional Trainer
  • B.S. Exercise Science, Central Washington University 
  • NSCA, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • TRX Fitness Instructor

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