Years ago, Avon Cosmetics’ Latin American division got in trouble about their misleading advertising, promising dark-haired, dark-skinned women that they would look like the blonde, light-skinned models if only they used Avon skin creams. We don’t make that claim at Body Harmonics. You can do Pilates 24/7 and we still won’t promise that you’ll look like our resident “willowy blondes” (unless you were willowy to start with, and only your hairdresser knows for sure what your original hair colour was). Instead, we are proud that we have group of teachers who provide a realistic cross-section of body types.
Because Body Harmonics teachers also fall more or less into one of the three body types, we have the same strengths and weaknesses as our clients and the same preferences for particular types of movement. As teachers, our body types will be reflected to some extent in our teaching styles. This is one reason we encourage clients to work with different teachers. If you always work with a teacher who shares your body type, you may find yourself stagnating and could have a breakthrough if you work with someone with a completely different set of characteristics.
Challenge and reward your Pilates clients
As teachers, we all make a great effort to mix and match types of exercises in order to target capabilities and challenge limitations for all body types. In group classes and private sessions we include different positions and ranges of movement so all body types will feel challenged but also have a sense of success as well; everyone gets a dose of the medicine that’s good for them, but also gets a teaspoon of sugar to help it go down. Everyone works through their individual challenges, and then ectomorphs get a taste of exercises that require flexibility and mesomorphs get a sprinkling of exercises requiring power and endurance. Endomorphs fall somewhere in the middle and benefit from everything.
Although we don’t include much static stretching in our classes, we’re always thinking about balancing exercises that lengthen and open up bodies (great for mesomorphs) with strength and endurance exercises for the ectomorphs and endomorphs. We also incorporate standing exercises in most classes, with special emphasis on standing work in the cardio classes. Exercise physiologists categorize such exercises as functional because they require strength, elasticity, flexibility, balance and endurance. This trains the movements and functions of everyday life. All body types benefit from these exercises!
Help clients make connections
You’ll have noticed Pilates requires some mental focus and we’re often asking people to feel for certain sensations. We know you’re not all going to feel what we suggest – we expect that – and it’s partly due to the fact that different body types feel different things. Ectomorphs will be much more sensitive to certain things than the other two body types. We’re simply guiding you to focus on certain body parts and sensations to plant seeds for what’s possible and challenge everyone out of their comfort zone. There’s nothing like the feeling when the light goes on one day and you can finally say “So that’s what that is supposed to feel like!” (OK, maybe winning the lottery or finding the love of your life feels just as good.)
Another way we work with different body types is by assessing posture. If you’re interested in exploring further, check out our teacher training.