In yesterday's blog, we explored the concept of Balance, Endurance, and Tenacity (BET) in Pilates. Today, let's shift our focus to another vital aspect: changing movement patterns and forming new neural connections. As Pilates teachers, we're tasked with facilitating not just physical transformations but also neurological reprogramming in our clients.
Understanding Movement Patterns and Neural Connections:
Movement patterns are the habitual ways our body moves, shaped by years of repeated actions. These can become ingrained, leading to inefficiencies or imbalances. Unlike BET, which focuses on developing physical attributes, altering these patterns involves retraining the brain – a process known as neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is our brain's ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. It plays a crucial role in learning new movement patterns in Pilates, helping our clients move beyond their habitual motions.
Strategies for Changing Movement Patterns:
1. Mindful Movement:
- Encourage clients to move with intention and heightened awareness, diverging from the endurance focus discussed previously.
- Example: In a Roll Up, prompt clients to be aware of each vertebra's movement, connecting mind and body more intricately.
2. Progressive Overload:
- This extends beyond building strength and endurance, challenging the brain to adapt to new movement complexities.
- Example: Progress from a basic Pilates Hundred to incorporating leg movements, asking the brain to manage more intricate coordination.
3. Variety in Practice:
- Unlike BET, where repetition is key, here we introduce new exercises to stimulate continual neurological adaptation.
- Example: Blend classical Pilates with contemporary variations to challenge and engage the brain differently.
4. Visualisation Techniques
- Use mental imagery to deepen understanding and execution of movements, reinforcing new neural pathways.
- Example: Visualise a string pulling upwards during The Teaser, enhancing the mental and physical aspects of the exercise.
5. Feedback and Correction
- More than correcting physical form, it’s about helping clients rewire their brain's understanding of movement.
- Example: In a Side Kick, provide detailed feedback on leg alignment, enhancing body awareness and the mind-body connection.
Changing movement patterns in Pilates is about neurologically re-educating our clients, a distinct approach from developing physical attributes like balance, endurance, and tenacity. As teachers, we guide our clients on this transformative journey, helping them achieve more balanced and efficient body movements, driven by a responsive and adaptable brain.