In the fitness industry, there's a huge emphasis on building the bigger muscles (glutes, quads, chest, etc.) and there's a misconception that if you’re not feeling the burn, then you’re not working yourself hard enough.
Often when this happens, you may be strengthening those bigger muscles, but leaving your smaller muscles ignored and weakened by comparison. You don’t want to neglect those important smaller muscles! While bigger muscles are important for strength and aesthetics, your smaller muscles are important for movement and functionality. This is one of the major focuses of Pilates. Strong smaller muscles help prevent injury in the knee joints, shoulders, lower back, and the like.
These smaller muscles, also known as intrinsic muscles, are located deeper in the body and work to stabilize your joints and keep you upright during movements. This includes your feet, ankles, hips, and shoulders. If your body is your temple, then your intrinsic muscles are the support beams. The stronger we can keep these joints, the stronger our overall body and movements are.
Creating a larger focus on the intrinsic muscles while strengthening the larger muscles have major long term effects such as:
- Better balance and stability
- Efficient use of muscles
- Helps build muscle
- Safer movements
- Increase athletic performance
In Pilates, not only do you tone and lengthen the larger muscles, but you also strengthen the intrinsic muscles, which creates a balanced muscle system in the body. A lot of the movements you find in Pilates are controlled and the smaller movements are more important than the bigger movements.
The beautiful thing about Pilates is not where the movement is coming from, but what is working to allow the movement to happen. In short, Pilates elongates, increases flexibility, supports joint mobility while strengthening the intrinsic muscles.
At the Toronto Athletic Club, our Pilates instructors are certified to carefully craft their practice to each client. We put the focus on strengthening and toning all muscles (including those often neglected smaller muscles). Take a moment to revisit your fitness routine and incorporate methods to compliment your bigger muscles - Pilates can be the perfect way of putting the balance back in your fitness. If you have any inquiries regarding Pilates, reach out to Sandi Simoes at firstname.lastname@example.org.