So what IS Power Pilates then? something I've ben asked a lot since attending the HIP Pilates Teacher Training Foundation Course at Cobham Pilates in November 2015. As we are planning on adding the class to the regular timetable from February, and are trialling it over the next two weeks,  I thought I'd take the time to give you some in depth information.

Teacher Training HIP

HIP stands for High Intensity Power- three words that will either thrill or terrify you! The aim of the class is to get you off the mat and reintroduce you to the 'global' muscles of the body. This will make you stronger which will in turn make you healthier. And I'll explain how a little later.

HIP is the brainchild of Lisa Bradshaw - a Pilates teacher with over 20 years experience. She co-authored best-seller 'The Pilates Bible' and was Education Manager for Body Control Pilates (Europe's largest teacher training organisation) for many years. In her own words;

'I wanted to create a class for my clients that was fun and a little different. I have witnessed my Pilates clients with pride over the years; training their bodies to be aligned, controlled, strong and generally fine tuned. But then what? The body is surely ready to be put into action, to move. I wanted to put mine and my clients learned skills to the test, to use them and to challenge them.'

So HIP Pilates was born: a 50 minute session involving lunge, squat and plank sequences whilst staying true to the integrity of Joseph Pilates.

To make it easier to understand, here is a comparison of regular Pilates vs. HIP Pilates:

SLOW movement vs. DYNAMIC movement
Majority ON the mat lying down vs. majority OFF the mat standing up
smaller, STABILISING muscles worked vs. larger, GLOBAL muscles worked
PREPARE for correct movement vs. EXECUTE correct movement

However, CONTROL is an important element both types of class share and is something even the most dedicated Pilates practitioner and teacher (i.e. me!) finds challenging when taking the class. Doing mat Pilates definitely helps when it comes to HIP Pilates, but it is not a requirement. HIP still focuses on alignment and posture - just at the same time as squatting, lunging + planking! 

So if HIP shares the important elements of mat Pilates, why go to the effort of getting sweaty and doing a different class? Here's just a few reasons:

1. The class is fast paced, but importantly LOW impact. Therefore you will increase your heart rate safely resulting in:

  • lower risk of cardiovascular heart disease
  •  improved circulation meaning regular daily activities can be done without feeling so tired
  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

2. The class involves AEROBIC exercise:

  • burns fat
  • improves mood
  • strengthens heart + lungs

3. The class involves ANAEROBIC exercise:

  • builds lean muscle mass which burns calories even at rest

4. The class involves using lots of muscles at the same time:

  • more muscles worked = more energy burnt
  • muscle recovery burns calories

5. The class involves functional exercise i.e. simulates real life activities resulting in:

  • improved motor skills
  • improved muscle balance
  • improved coordination
  • improved balance

6. The class uses light hand weights:

  • improves bone health as weight bearing encourages bones to adapt to the impact by building more cells, becoming stronger and more dense.

7. The class involves physical exertion:

  • endorphins are released = feeling more alert + positive
  • hormone profile of body changes = ease symptoms of depression and decrease appetite

Perhaps you have tried a 'bootcamp' or 'circuits' style class before and there are certainly similarities to the HIP method. However, the Pilates foundation to all the exercises means you get so much more out of them; crudely translated as more pain + muscle soreness the next day!

So, if all that sounds like something you'd like to try - the next class is on Sunday 24th January, 11.10am, Kitson Hall, SW13 9HJ. Classes are priced at £7.50 during the Sunday Series.