6 reasons you’re not seeing results from your at-home Pilates sessions

Working out hard but not seeing the results you oh-so desire? Pilates instructor, and owner of Spring Collective Pilates, Jaime Lake-O’Dea reveals the simple mistakes plaguing your at-home workout. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste!

If iso-life gave us one thing, it was a new appreciation for exercise. With gyms closed and limited outdoor time, at-home classes quickly became our new best friend. We got obsessed with HIIP, scoured You Tube for Barre workouts and subscribed to pretty much every free yoga class around. But there was a downside to this fitness frenzy – and it wasn’t just the lack of social contact either. In our eagerness to try everything we missed some kind of important things… like technique.

You know, the kinds of thing that actually get you results. Here, Jaime Lake-O’Dea, owner of The Spring Collective Pilates studio and creator of TSCOnDemand explains the common ways you’re getting it wrong.

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Like many businesses in the pandemic, COVID forced Jamie Lake-O’Dea’s Pilates studio, the Spring Collective, to pivot in a direction that she thought would come much later in her business journey. Only launching her bricks-and-mortar studio six months prior to COVID, she fast-forwarded her plans to prioritise the launch an online product.

“We didn’t want to waste the time in shut-down sitting idly waiting to return to work so we spent the time designing and creating our own premium online product,” she says.

But unlike other on-demand offerings, it wasn’t just a stopgap that would be axed as soon as life returned to normal. There is an art to an online program that takes a little more finesse than a handy cam and an empty space. Jamie says amongst their non-negotiables, were accessibility irrespective of time, space, budget or equipment.

But, despite the carefully constructed online courses, when you throw people – of varying skill levels, comprehension and abilities – into the mix, there are still many things that can go wrong. So, if you’ve been studiously plugging away at your online program, wondering when (or IF) you were going to get results – here are a few reasons why you could be getting it wrong…

#1. You don’t prioritise your workout

It’s amazing how many “urgent” things can pop up when you need to do your workout. Like that linen cupboard reorganisation or the big fridge clean out that suddenly seemed pressing today. Jaime says, “You need to imagine you are in a class, or with a trainer and away from the house. Treat the session like an important meeting.” If part of ‘you getting in the zone’ was heading to the studio itself, Jamie suggests trying to create new rituals that shifts your mind from what is going on at home and focuses it on your workout.

#2. You’re too easy on yourself

It’s not surprising that you workout harder with a partner than alone – even if that’s a virtual partner, as this Michigan University study found. And, according to Jamie, not pushing yourself hard enough is where people often go wrong. “Try to imagine that you are working in a group or working one-on-one with the trainer,” she says. This means not finishing reps early, not skipping sessions and pushing yourself like someone is watching.

#4. You’re moving too fast

This is not a race to the finish line – Pilates should always be performed with control. “If you are moving through exercises too quickly you will not get the full workload,” says Jamie. “Ideally the muscles are under tension for a longer time, and you have taken time to get into the correct position ensuring all the muscles are working properly.” Rushing works against this as momentum is usually powering the movement and the actual muscles that are supposed to be working, aren’t.

#5. Your spinal position is incorrect

One of the classic at-home Pilates mistakes is to do with spinal alignment. Jaime says, “Try and keep the neutral shape of your spine as best you can and as much as you can. Do this by tipping and tilting the pelvis a few times whilst laying on the back, before coming into neutral. If this feels like it is too much pressure on your back, you can flatten it into the mat or floor when needed.” Don’t know if you’re doing it right? Here’s a clue: you should never feel back pain. Doing it correctly will engage and strengthen the whole mid section and should mimic how you move in everyday life.

#6. You’re not setting up correctly

Pilates is all about tiny adjustments for big results. And often, it’s these small changes that make the move actually effective. Obviously this is something that can easily happen when you’re in a class where the instructor can physically see you, but at home, it’s more challenging. “When you are not being physically watched it is easy to not perform the correct adjustment – and therefore the exercise is not as effective. Try and really push yourself to make the changes in your body position, listening carefully to the instructor and paying close attention to your body. This will make the exercise as challenging as possible.”

Jaime Lake-O’Dea is the owner of Spring Collective Pilates and creator of TSCOnDemand.

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