I’ve met up with one of the London’s top Pilates teachers, Fletcher Pilates Master Trainer and BODYMAP studio owner, and my good friend Ronnie Green, to pick up her brain on the importance and benefits of correct posture and alignment, and how Pilates can help us improve the quality and efficacy of our general fitness.
Here's the fruit of our conversation. I'm sure you'll find it helpful and inspiring.
AOT: What is a "good posture" and why does it matter?
Ronnie: Good posture in standing, sitting or lying down is when the skeleton, joints and muscles function in movement without strain. Good posture prevents injury, pain and tightness and allows the body to build strength with ease of movement.
AOT: How does Pilates help with the posture and the way we move?
R: Pilates teaches the body to stabilise to mobilise. To isolate one bone from another thus creating freedom and greater range of motion in all joints, including the vertebral spine. For example swinging your leg forward and back whilst keeping your pelvis stable prevents collapsing through the lower back and moves the focus to stretching hamstrings and hip flexors and gaining core strength and stability. Pilates lengthens and strengthens the spine creating natural vertebral bone rhythms for greater ease of movement. Once spinal muscles strengthen all our core muscles follow.
Bone act muscles react.
Pilates also teaches you the importance of ground force reaction. Pressure down into the ground through your feet stimulates a neuromuscular response of “push and lift” a feeling of energy up to the crown of your head and beyond.
AOT: Would Pilates help me with my HIIT or weight training and could it aid weight loss?
R: Pilates creates greater body awareness which aids in maintaining good alignment whilst performing HIIT or weight training exercises therefore preventing injury and creating a more energised workout with better post workout ease of muscles and joints. When your skeleton is aligned and all muscles are functioning nothing has to work as hard to create a strong workout with 100% benefits. As you build core, inner strength your body tones and gives the impression you have lost weight, slimmer waist, hips, more leg length, waist length. IGNORE your scales, the difference is in the mirror!
AOT: What led you to become a Pilates trainer and what influence it had on your body?
R: As a dancer I developed many injuries. Later as a personal trainer cycling 3.5 hrs per day to clients, with no time to stretch, I was extremely fit but I suffered with cramps, very tight calves and hamstrings with occasional sciatica. Then as a motorcyclist I had an accident, four broken ribs, one rib punctured my right lung with air trapped the surgeons cut me open to release the air. My right side was paralysed for 12 weeks. Pilates was my recovery. As a personal trainer I had developed muscles to “support and protect” my body, but all I was doing was “masking” my old dance injuries. Pilates unwound my tight muscles, my superficial strength, it helped me find release for better joint movement and function and allowed my bones to move into better rhythms with each other without losing my inner core strength. With awareness I gained more inner strength and flexibility, feeling my dancer’s body return.
BodyMap Pilates Studio Director & Founder
Fletcher Pilates Teacher