Pilates is a fantastic choice of exercise for any fitness level. Whether you are an elite athlete or completely gym-shy, the practice can be tailored to meet personal goals and physical needs. It is often recommended by physios and osteopaths for rehabilitation after injury or operations such as hip replacements, to help rebuild the deep tissue muscle for support and strength. Pilates is wonderfully complementary for athletes such as runners and cyclists who often neglect their core, negatively affecting their lumbar spines. It is part of many athletes’ exercise regimes, including Andy Murray and Lebron James.

Created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, Pilates is a whole-body health system. It aims to promote length and strength throughout the spine and joints by building deep core muscles in the centre of the body, referred to as “the powerhouse”. Born a sickly child and bed bound for years, Joseph took inspiration from gymnastics, boxing and yoga to develop the exercises that form the basis of modern practice. He presented his method as the art of controlled movements, which if performed correctly should challenge the body and feel like a workout. Pilates, when consistently practiced, improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body. Fun fact: it was originally known as Contrology.

I set up Apollo Pilates three years ago after leaving the corporate rat race. I was mandated by my osteopath to have clinical Pilates rehab. I had injured my shoulder in my late 20s and again a couple of years later, that degenerated into spinal issues, affecting my mobility through my spine and eventually my hip. At times I would be in so much pain that I would throw up!

Within 4 weeks of Pilates I was pain free. I couldn’t believe it. When I finished my rehab, I started taking a class a week, then two and before I knew it, it was everyday. Not just for pain and mobility management, but because I genuinely loved it. I decided to retrain and become an instructor with the view to helping people the way it helped me.

Initially, Pilates can seem a little daunting. Laced with nuance, technicality and complexity, not to mention terrifying-looking reformer machines (!), it can be a little overwhelming. However, with practice it can be mastered and deliver incredible benefits. In our modern day lives, many of us spend far too much time hunched over desks and screens, more recently in lockdown over desks not set up ergonomically, inadvertently damaging our spinal muscles and eroding our posture. Practicing the Pilates method helps to rebuild the deep muscles that support our spine and pelvis and correct posture to help avoid back pain and potential injury. In fact, you’ll find muscles you didn’t even know you had! As Joseph himself said: “A man is as young as his spinal column”.

I don’t teach Pilates for fitness. That isn’t to say that my classes won’t give you a workout, they most certainly will challenge you, but I teach Pilates as a method that will improve your musculoskeletal health.

Apollo Pilates is about overall wellbeing.  It isn’t about perfection, it isn’t about being able to get your leg over your head. It is about ensuring that your mental and physical health dovetail to make you feel good about all aspects of your body.  

When working on a 1-2-1 basis with clients I create a full, personalised progression plan taking into account any injuries, lifestyle issues and goals. I also work with a top flight osteopath (formerly the Italian Olympic Rowing team osteo) and a fantastic sports therapist, as consultants to give you a full 360°approach to your physicality. To top it off, I come to you!

People often ask “Which is better? Mat or Reformer?”. But there isn’t really an answer to that question. Generally it comes down to personal preference, but recently I have had clients move from reformer to mat as they have derived different benefits from both and now blend their practice. I find that mat Pilates can be better therapeutically, as you are not distracted by the machine and the conversation with your body is more concentrated. But for more plyometric and cardio movement, the reformer plays its part.

Pilates is suitable for everybody and every body. Whether you just want to be fitter and more flexible, are in need of therapeutic rehabilitation, post-natal strengthening or are looking to build muscle for sport or dance at a high level, there is an option for everyone.

Find out more at www.apollopilates.com and book your first session with code NEW for £15 off your first session