Benefits of High Touch Training and Pilates Equipment
The last few years at RedBird have been about growth – growing into our downtown store front, growing our teacher training program to give depth to our team and finally, growing our online platform to allow RedBird to reach beyond Austin and touch more lives. After much reflection, which comes along with the new year, we have decided it’s time to get back to our roots.
As many of you know, I founded RedBird in my downtown Austin loft. We had room for only six students, which allowed us to have very intimate classes, with a meditation and warm towel treatment to top off the class experience. Everyone would pull their blanket up to their chin after a very challenging Pilates mat class and look forward to the warmth and relaxation of the last few minutes of class. Even KatieBell, my little calico cat (still with me) couldn’t resist the lure of that cozy energy, and each evening she would crawl down the circular stairs and curl up next to a happy, relaxed client. These are wonderful and fond memories.
Now, with our major studio reorganization, we are about to make some new memories—with all of you. We’ve installed new wood flooring in the large classroom and moved the Pilates equipment into that space. We’ve also installed wood flooring in the smaller space and transformed it into our group fitness classroom. We wanted to expose more of our clients to the Pilates equipment and, at the same time, create a more intimate, “high-touch” experience in our group class model.
Now that many of you are more exposed to the equipment room, you may be wondering what the benefits are of these machines that look like medieval torture devices. Contrary to what you might think, the Pilates equipment can help you make drastic and positive changes in your alignment, posture and muscle innervation–changes that prevent injury, reduce pain and improve quality of life.
The Pilates apparatus (equipment) is a signature component of the Pilates methodology. The equipment originated from Joe Pilates’ rehabilitation work in internment camps, where he used bedsprings to create resistance for strength training. Here are just of few of the benefits to working with the Pilates equipment:
- The Reformer and Cadillac allow for resistance training in a supine position that minimizes impact and pressure on joints and spine
The pulley and spring systems provide isokinetic contraction abilities that engage and strengthen muscles through the full range of motion of a movement
- The versatility of the equipment allows for a full body workout that takes the joints and spine through all planes of motion for complete and balanced strength
- The instability of the Reformer carriage challenges balance and proprioception and also stimulates intrinsic core muscles
- Both the Reformer and the Cadillac provide resistance and support to the body, allowing clients to experience the Pilates curriculum in a different way from mat—awakening more of the stability muscles and neutralizing the overdominance of many muscles that can inhibit attaining exercise objectives in the mat work
New neuromuscular pathways can be created and movement patterns learned that can then be applied to Pilates mat work and/or any other modality of movement
Joseph Pilates was ahead of his time in his understanding of the importance of a supple spine and its contribution to long-term health. The equipment tools I’ve outlined above and the additional pieces in our Apparatus program allow us to support and act on his belief (and ours) that spine health is a key component to physical fitness and overall strength and resiliency. We want more of our clients to experience the energizing power of this work, so we brought it into the center of our studio to encourage more participation. We added the Open Equipment classes and Body Engineering Reformer classes to the 2017 schedule to give all our clients more opportunities to experience what this work can do.
Conversely, we wanted a more high touch environment for our group classes, and the smaller space gives us the ability to connect more intimately with each client and give each participant more individual time. This was how RedBird began. Reclaiming those roots felt right. We’ve been blessed to create so many more memories since those early days of RedBird, and we will continue to do so in 2017.
We are excited and grateful to begin this year with such a vibrant and motivated staff and community. Please take advantage of these dynamic new Open Equipment classes, new teachers and new environments at RedBird to jumpstart your year with health, vitality and fun!
This blog post by Lee Vallely, Founder and CEO RedBird Fitness LLC