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Pregnancy and Pilates

Is there a point when weight training should stop during pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time of great physical change. Certain muscle groups natural weaken as the women’s body changes to accommodate her growing belly. The hamstrings, gluteals, core, upper back extensors and external rotators of the shoulder girdle are all muscles that are vulnerable to weakening during this time. Weight training that is specific to these muscle groups and done with a neutral spine can be done right up until labor. Of course there are contraindications as well. If possible it is best to have a person coach at this time. If that is not a possibility for you, educate yourself with books and find a group class or DVD that follows the safety guidelines.

Is it true that women should keep their heart rate below 150 beats/minute when exercising while pregnant?
The current thinking on pregnancy and heart rate is that women should be careful not to push themselves when working aerobically but don’t necessarily have to count beats. The exerciser should be able to talk without gasping air and should stop if they feel even the slightest bit dizzy or light headed. Pushing too hard can have very negative effects such as vaginal bleeding or uterine contractions. Pilates is a wonderful way to safely stay in shape during pregnancy and also to get back in shape after the baby is born. Because of the attention the Pilates method gives to the inner unit (pelvic floor, transverse abdominus and the multifidi), a women’s pelvic muscles stay toned and ready for the difficult task of child birth.

Pilates in Soho NYC

When I opened my Pilates studio in 1999 there was really only about two well known Pilates studios in the Soho area. Now, eleven years later, there are a dozen Pilates studio in Soho as there is in every Manhattan neighborhood. In the first few years of my business it was more common that a client might travel from a distant NYC neighborhood to Soho because they had heard that Mongoose Bodyworks was an excellent Pilates Studio. Although this still happens, Pilates has mostly become a local business. Many of our clients either live or work in Soho. Being the owner operator of a Pilates Studio in Soho is a great joy. There are a handful of reasons why Soho seems to be the perfect location for a Pilates studio. To start, the unusual aesthetic of the Pilates equipment compliments the dramatic architecture found in Soho. The high arched ceilings and tall windows are a perfect back drop for the metal and wooden creations of Joseph Pilates. Somehow the history of Soho also seems fitting for the location of such an original technique as Pilates. When artists moved into the once derelict Soho in the mid century, Soho became a place for artistic innovation to flourish. The buildings were abuzz with fresh thinkers, new ideas and ground breaking artists. Soon after the artists the galleries found their way into Soho and after that chic shops and restaurants, making 10012 an international destination. Soho had become unfalteringly fashionable. Although Pilates (and Soho) have become household names its life blood is not ordinary. The work’s continuation is fueled by the people who teach it. Many of the teachers I come across, and all of the teachers I hire, I would consider artists. Like many artists, they are focused and almost obsessive about what they do, they have a passion for it, they work from their hearts, and their process with clients is spontaneous and creative. I like to think that those who breathe life into the now 90 year old method mirror the artists and performers who settled in Soho a half a century earlier.

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