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THOMAS TESTED PILATES SUSPENSION

When you hear the word Pilates, you probably imagine a bunch of women doing gentle exercises on a gym ball. That's partly true, but there's much more to it than that. Thomas tried out the sport to give you an inside look at it!

suspension header

First things first: what is Pilates? It's a gentle sport that aims to rebalance the muscles in the body, with a focus on those involved in balance and supporting the spinal column. With 500 different exercises, Pilates strengthens the weakest muscle groups and releases those that are too tight.

So what about Pilates suspension? Let's go back a few days before this test...

pilates suspension strap

TWO DAYS BEFORE:

“The day after tomorrow, I'm trying out Pilates!

- Are you mad?! You trying Pilates... You should know what you're getting into!”.

So Pilates was named after the man who created it, Joseph Pilates… but if I start to go into too many details, I'll never actually get to the gym! I tend to go a little overboard with new obsessions—I've already made myself crazy wondering what the difference between “ping pong” and “table tennis” is…

ONE DAY BEFORE:

“Are you really going to do Pilates? You know there'll just be girls there, right?”

Well, mate, that's fantastic! If there are just girls, with my gym-going background and superman-like body (with a little beer belly), this will be like child's play…

But then, I remembered, when I start off over-confident, I usually get taught a good lesson in humility.

And finally, I panic: I can already see myself as the laughingstock in a group of super-pilates-women, the object of pitying grins and mocking smirks due to my lack of experience. I start looking for excuses to bow out.

OK, WAIT!

It's time to let go of unfounded stereotypes: there are (almost) as many men as women doing Pilates! And you shouldn't worry about other people looking at you or judging you—everyone else is too focused on their own movements to be worried about their neighbours. 

But I didn't know all that yet. So, as I was saying...

THE BIG DAY:

Once in the locker room, I try and reassure myself: “Relax, it's going to be fine. Just put on your shorts, then your T-shirt… Actually, is this what I should be wearing?” (yes, I'm known for thinking ahead).

I worried about it for a while, but this is the easy part: shorts and a T-shirt—or anything that's light and comfy—is just fine. You might want a pair of special non-slip socks, but wait until you've done a couple of sessions before you go out and buy them. Unless you're like me and you've put off getting that pedicure for too long...

pilates suspension

Once in the room, it's rather nice: it was such a beautiful day that the regulars skipped out to enjoy the sunshine in the park and or hang out on café terraces. That's just fine by me: fewer people to witness my awkward first attempts.   

“So, has everyone already done regular Pilates or Pilates ball?” asks Kevin, our teacher. Erm, no... I turned to my neighbour who looked like she knew what she was doing and asked, “What do we do here exactly?”

 “You'll soon learn all the secrets: centring, breath, concentration, control, precision, flow."

 Erm…?

“Focus on your posture: keep your core engaged, don't arch your back and concentrate on your whole body and your movements to make the exercises more effective.”

As I did so, I started to “feel” the exercises, to notice the muscles that were working... In short to know what was going to hurt tomorrow.

All in all, as a complete beginner, I could really feel the first exercises in my abs and forearms. And then, with my feet in the straps 30 cm from the floor, the different exercisesand especially the side plankswere really a lot of fun. That's what's most important to me: sport for sport's sake is fine, but it's not enough to keep me motivated. If I'm not having a good time, I won't come back. But this—this is all right!

Want to know more? Try it for yourself. Depending on where you go, it'll cost about €5 to €10 a session.

THE NEXT DAY:

Ouch! I should probably have started with regular Pilates or Pilates ball to learn the basics. Pilates suspension is more technical and aimed at those who are more advanced. But that's OK because I really enjoyed it. My muscles—and my mood—will remember.

TWO WEEKS LATER:

I loved Pilates suspension so much that last week I went out and bought straps to do my exercises at home in the mornings. I don't regret it: I'm even more motivated now!

pilates suspension room
thomas schouteeten

Thomas SCHOUTEETEN 

Communication Leader – Table Tennis

As a free ping pong player, I adapt the rules to my favourite court: the small table (1/3 of a standard table). Every break and every meeting is an opportunity to pick up a racket.~And between rallies, you'll find me on the squash court, handball court, or elsewhere trying out new sports. 

Keep it in play !