I was first exposed to Pilates during my ballet training when I was a little girl. We would use a number of its movements for stretching and strengthening. These days, I still use the discipline to stretch and condition my muscles. I find that it’s the perfect complement to Muay Thai, which requires a strong, flexible and balanced body.
Developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s as a method of rehabilitation, all of the exercises are carried out with control. Your muscles work to lift your body weight against gravity and also often against the resistance of springs. The aim is to perform each repetition perfectly, rather than plowing through larger volumes of repetitions incorrectly.
The Pilates Cadillac
Certain pieces of equipment are often used during the practice to isolate muscle groups and break down movements into smaller parts to correct motion patterns. The ‘Reformer’ is found in most Pilates studios and used in group classes. Then there is the ‘Cadillac’, which is harder to find but one of my favourite machines.
It’s a functional trapeze table with a range of different features to allow for more detailed and isolated movements. I have used it when training with Sara Colquhoun at her studio Ki Movement Pilates in Melbourne.
As you will see in the video, the movement I was doing on the Cadillac stretched out my spine, opened up my shoulders, chest and hips and also required arm, core and glute strength to support my body weight. It’s one of the best ways I have found to rebalance by body after Muay Thai training.