Yes indeed it can. There are many benefits to doing an uneven Pilates workout. We all have muscle imbalances, postural misalignments and stronger sides due to varying work loads placed on our muscles on a daily basis. Many of our muscle imbalances work themselves out through a regular Pilates practice. But sometimes we need to do an uneven Pilates workout to get the results we need. In the studio we joke about making sure we “do both sides” so you don’t leave lopsided. Sometimes we have to “do both sides” differently to help you make your body more symmetrical.
Here are two examples.
1. Beth had a lower back injury 5 years ago. As a result, she has a tendency to experience tightness in the left lumbar spinal muscles, especially after she has been inactive for a while. This tightness shows up during exercises like Mermaid where her ability to bend is greater to one side than the other. Sometimes it will show up on Roll Up where her left leg might pop off the floor a bit but the right one stays anchored. If Beth always does the same number of repetitions on both sides for stretching and strengthening exercises she may become stronger and even more flexible but she will likely still have that same muscle imbalance. She would get better results if she performed many of her exercises in a 2:1 ratio. For example, 2 Mermaids on the tight side for every 1 on the flexible side. This would bring about better balance in the body.
2. Let’s say you have a hip issue that results in being able to do lunges on the Reformer fully on the right side, but with restriction on the left. If you always do the same number of lunges with each leg behind, you will likely become more flexible, but not necessarily balanced and properly aligned.
What can you do?
- First be mindful. That’s a big part of Pilates, right? When doing a group class, pay attention to which stretches or exercises are easier/harder from side to side. Pay attention to which leg stretches easier, which arm is stronger, which Zsit feels more comfortable, etc.
- Perform your stretches and exercises differently on each side. You can hold a stretch longer on one side, or go back to the tighter side again after you have stretched both sides. You can do more or fewer repetitions of an exercise on one side.
- A great way to discover your imbalances is through a Posture Screening/Movement Assessment. Most our participants at Marlborough Pilates have gone through our “screening/assessment” session when they first started. It’s even more helpful after you have practiced Pilates for a while because now your body awareness and understanding of Pilates is better.
In Pilates we talk so much about balance and alignment. Sometimes it takes and uneven Pilates workout to create better balance in your body.
Please contact the studio to schedule a Posture Screening/Movement Assessment. You will learn more about your body and how to get more out of your Pilates sessions. Check your Wellness Living profile to see if you have enough points for a free or discounted session.