Practice doesn’t make perfect: practice makes permanent, and if you practice doing something wrong, you do it wrong forever. To benefit from Pilates it’s not enough to go through the motions: you have to do it right.
There are, of course, different levels of precision which are appropriate at different times – it would be foolish to give someone in their first lesson an advanced correction. I recently was told to “drop the part of your mid right back which is below your shoulder blade, but not your wing, no, a bit to the left”. Some people have difficulty locating their back in the first class.
Precise Movement is Pilates Movement
Pilates is corrective exercise: it has as its goal to teach the body to move in an efficient and beneficial manner. For this to work we have to be precise. Some people can get this out of proportion and their focus on precision becomes obsessive, but Pilates can never be sloppy.
One of the things we are most picky about is alignment, because, unless the body is aligned in its movement, it won’t use the right muscles for the right jobs. It is important if you want to see real results that you do the real work of the exercise, not just an approximation
The Real Advantage of a Teacher Over a DVD
One of the advantages of having a trained human teacher over a DVD is that the human teacher can make sure that you are doing the exercise precisely. Of course there are other advantages, but a video, as good as it may be, can’t check that you are really pulling your stomach in, relaxing your legs and lifting your head properly.
This is the benefit of doing pilates over a general fitness or sculpting class at the gym. The precision, and, specifically, the precise corrections that you need as an individual are what makes good pilates stand out from other kinds of exercise.