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Do Pilates Really Work? Yes, HR!!

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  • Do Pilates Really Work? Yes, HR!!

    This is HR, I promise!

    For you riders out there, do any of you do pilates and do you feel they improve your core and help get you in shape?

    I have a gym membership but currently don't have much time to use it because teachers have decided to bombard us with homework! So going tobed at 4am only to get up at 6:30am to go to the gym before school does not sound very appealing.

    I am VERY out of shape right now and hate it. I'm having problems with the tendon in my ankle/foot so I can't go running, and I'm in a boot right now so although I've been doing exercises to build muscle up in that leg it's still weaker than the other one and that plus the fact that I've let myself get into really poor shape does not help my riding!


    My main area of focus is my abs, which is why I thought Pilates might be helpful. Most workouts seem to be 20-30 minutes which would be very doable in the mornings before school. I just want to know if you find them helpful or not. I am not very flexable and really can't see myself doing pilates but if it works then I'll try anything
    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

  • #2
    You should ask our very own robby johnson. He is a pilates guru.
    Last edited by eyesontheground; Jan. 17, 2009, 01:26 AM. Reason: Robby's handle has a space in it!
    There are stars in the Southern sky and if ever you decide you should go there is a taste of time sweetened honey.

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    • #3
      I definitely think it helps with riding. While I was taking a few months off, I took a pilates mat class that used the roller and ring.

      It accomplishes a few other things aside from core strength. Some of the exercises also have the added benefit of freeing up your hips, which is also helpful for riding (and walking...)

      I think exercises on the roller are particularly relevant, because it helps with the balancing/self-correction that we do as riders in response to the horse's movement. I also found, at least for me, that pilates reached some of the deeper, harder-to-exercise muscles that riders use, but I otherwise wasn't able to maintain through other methods of exercise.

      You don't really need to be flexible to do pilates. It can help with your flexibility, but you shouldn't let that stop you from starting.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a pilates floor exercise DVD. It definately helps your riding. The whole workout takes 20 minutes max. THere is also a 15 minute quickie work out on the DVD.

        Comment


        • #5
          I did pilates 20 years ago with a dance instructor and loved it- it helped a lot with my muscle strength, control & balance. These days I'm doing yoga and was surprised to find 90% of the poses are identical.

          Two years of 20 minute daily yoga DEFINITELY has improved my balance and control. It's also helped with my flexibility of areas which never get worked otherwise.

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          • #6
            I bought DVDs for pilates, balance ball, resistance training for balance ball, and yoga. I found I didn't even have the muscle tone in my abs to get through the basic pilates (tho my core is fine in the saddle--go figure), the balance ball makes a GREAT foot stool, but the yoga is exactly what I need to rebuild my muscles & balance right now. Except that my sofa did major damage to my lower back during treatment & have to wait until my sciatic is released before getting back into the yoga

            If you want to borrow my pilates DVD to try before buying one of your own, let me know.

            BTW, you may have some company this summer, finances permitting. Somehow I got myself talked into training for eventing
            I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
            Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

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            • #7
              I am also a big believer in doing a pilates based workout. I have also found that yoga helps improve posture and flexibility. Pilates works the whole core so for those of us who have weak abdominals ,we inturn have weak backs. The exercises whether done on the mat, reformer or foam roller strengthen the core while increasing flexibilty. Especially, after I have done a foam roller workout, horses seem much more relaxed and supple. Which tells me that I must be as well.

              I would say go for it! Whether you have limitations or not! You will benefit from this form of exercise greatly! Have fun!

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              • #8
                ABSOLUTELY. You can't activate your horse's core if you can't activate your own!!

                Get Janice Dulak's book. Fabulous.
                www.specialhorses.org
                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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                • #9
                  My local YMCA has a PiYo class - pilates and yoga. I'm still pretty out of shape from a long illness (riding is still out of the question for me. ). But I'm thinking maybe that the PiYo class might help?
                  The Horsey Set Net

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                  • #10
                    Yes!

                    But start slow. I got the book, Pilates for Dummies and I had to start with the pre-Pilates exercises. And I wasn't particularly out of shape - just have really weak abs.

                    Pilates has helped my riding because it helps build some of the muscles you use for riding and it helps with balance and body-awareness. Plus making breeches a little more flattering - although Lord knows I have a ways to go yet.

                    And it helps a great deal if you suffer from chronic lower back pain - which I used to do, but not any more.
                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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                    • #11
                      As a beginner instructor, I have found that my students who come to me that have done either Yoga or Pilates pick up riding MUCH easier than those who don't.

                      After I have my baby, I'm looking into doing some pilates classes or DVD so I can get back into shape much faster. Not to mention, get rid of some baby fat!

                      Go for it!
                      Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by HighFlyinBey+ View Post
                        BTW, you may have some company this summer, finances permitting. Somehow I got myself talked into training for eventing
                        Haha- as they say on here... "welome to the dark side" . Eventing is a blast (esp. cross country!)- and there is a farm in MD that has elementary level that is perfect to start at. Just plain XC schooling is always fun too... too bad my beast is a PITA to load. I don't think there will be any more events for me before I go to college Still having ankle problems and might have to have another surgery (I find out in February)... so riding is limited at the moment. My thinking is "if it's going to hurt regardless, I might as well ride"- but with mass amounts homework and the COLD weather etc... I'm lucky to get out to ride once a week.
                        "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

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                        • #13
                          I hope your ankle turns out not to need surgery & you can do at least one event this year. You've come such a long way with Milo

                          I envy your once a week visits. Last time I was out was between Christmas and New Year's.

                          I've never jumped Bailey (tell me how it was!) so it'll be a LONG time before I'm ready to do any competitions--and my truck is dead so I can't even tow my trailer. I know so little about eventing that I'm quite happy to stay in the ring and learn (beside, galloping scares the HECK out of me!)
                          I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right
                          Violence doesn't end violence. It extends it. Break the cycle.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                            Yes!

                            But start slow. I got the book, Pilates for Dummies and I had to start with the pre-Pilates exercises. And I wasn't particularly out of shape - just have really weak abs.
                            Sounds like that's where I need to start. Thanks, pAin't.
                            The Horsey Set Net

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lucky me, the Dr just did an MRI this week, looked at it, called me to get a cortisone shot in my knee and told me to see what we got in six months, before thinking surgery.

                              I too have been just doing whatever yoga I can do without using that knee and keep doing what you can sure helps keep you in some kind of shape, be it yoga or pilates.

                              Now, that won't help with weight itself as much as adding aerobics and weight and controlling what you eat.

                              To be in excellent shape for riding is a whole body management.
                              When injured, we can do parts only and keep some good level of function.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                Lucky me, the Dr just did an MRI this week, looked at it, called me to get a cortisone shot in my knee and told me to see what we got in six months, before thinking surgery.
                                Dang. How frustrating that must be. I hope in six months the Dr. sees wonderful improvement.
                                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                                  Dang. How frustrating that must be. I hope in six months the Dr. sees wonderful improvement.
                                  My Dr came in and said: "Well, I see you came in after all" and laughed.
                                  I felt like a horse getting it's hocks injected, except they didn't give me anything to keep me calm, just told me to sit and stay still.
                                  I would have liked to kick, but that would not have been polite.

                                  The shot sure helped, so we will see how much repair we can get on it's own.
                                  I now see how so many horses can keep on going well after their shots.

                                  Exercise sure helps as a rider to keep going and have less injuries, really.
                                  We are so used to riding, take it for granted, just as walking around.
                                  We don't remember that at times riding takes a little more fitness than just moving around on the ground.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by HighFlyinBey+ View Post
                                    I hope your ankle turns out not to need surgery & you can do at least one event this year. You've come such a long way with Milo

                                    I envy your once a week visits. Last time I was out was between Christmas and New Year's.

                                    I've never jumped Bailey (tell me how it was!) so it'll be a LONG time before I'm ready to do any competitions--and my truck is dead so I can't even tow my trailer. I know so little about eventing that I'm quite happy to stay in the ring and learn (beside, galloping scares the HECK out of me!)

                                    Haha I think Laura set up a little x-rail when I rode Bailey two summers ago... and if I remember correctly he was fine... but that was a while ago! I was really nervous to really let Milo go because I used to lease a pony who was a bolter when spooked (and she lost all breaks at that point so all you could do was stay on or jump off!) so all of my previous experiences on a galloping horses were not good ones But you don't really want to gallop the course anyway, esp. at elementary and BN- you could easily trot most of the course


                                    Thanks for the info on the Pilates everyone. I'm not so much worried about losing a bunch of weight (a few lbs would be nice but I wouldn't say I need to lose more than 5-10 lbs), and I already eat pretty well... but not riding much has left me in horrible shape. I'm doing leg exercises on my total gym to help keep me from losing more muscle in my leg than I already have- because when I last rode, it was awful, I couldn't keep my left leg still and it was all over the place! eek!
                                    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Pilates exercises are fantastic.

                                      The key, however, to rider fitness is the program that you use to combine these exercises most effectively. I will admit, my book does just that

                                      The program was developed after watching hours and hours of tapes and live riders in all discipines - primarily Ann Kursinski - it was her personal trainer, Johnny McCully, who developed it. Go to a big bookstore or a library, find one of those deep chairs and read it - you don't have buy it. There is a LOT to be learned!

                                      Use your Pilaties, but learn what you are doing, and understand why you are doing what you are doing when you do it! (That's after you understand what I just wrote!)

                                      Cheers and enjoy!
                                      co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Yes! I started attending a Pi/Yo/Tai Chi class at my gym recently...I think I'm pretty fit/strong....well it kicked my ass! I had no idea how stiff I was. The ab workout was hard too. I can do 100-150 reps of heavy weight on the ab crunch machine and barely feel it but 5 mins into the ab routine and I was dying! Guess it works muscles that I don't use while riding or using the machine. I was really sceptical but I thought I'd try it out. Now I'm a convert. Still can't get into the meditation stuff though. The other thing I found interesting is that I don't even have to think about my breathing when I do weights, guess I have done it long enough that it is automatic but with the Pi/Yo/Tai Chi I really had to think about it and it was hard. It's pretty cool. Can't see how it can be anything but great for you and help in the saddle too.
                                        "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."

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