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Pilates For Crossfit

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#1 suzyq



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Posted 17 October 2014 - 12:38 AM

I have been asked to hold some pilates class at a crossfit gym to help their members improve core strength.

Has any body else done something similar? Like to know experiences?

#2 Tom Floyd

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 05:52 AM

Good for them to recognize the need. However, Crossfitters are not known for their attention to good form. They're used to banging out as many reps as possible in as short of time as possible. So, a big part of your challenge will be to slow them down and have them pay attention.

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#3 ChrisInCA



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Posted 17 October 2014 - 10:58 AM

I agree with Tom.  Teaching Pilates to a CrossFit crowd will be a challenge.   The two philosophies are total opposites.  Injuries are a badge of honor at CrossFit.   At CrossFit, the idea is that if some gets hurt, then they must have done something wrong, it is their fault, and they should deal with it like everyone else does. By contrast, the idea of Pilates is to help people fix and heal their bodies.  Pilates should never hurt anyone, and if it does, then the instructor has no business teaching.  They are opposite worlds.


Also, keep in mind something Stuart McGill talks about a lot lately.  The kind of person who survives at cross fit probably has a different spine anatomy than, for example, a dancer or a golfer or a runner.   If a person can do CrossFit for any length of time without busting their spine, then they probably have limacon-shaped vertebrae, and  a thicker spine than a typical person. Stuart McGill has measured all this on powerlifters and football players.  This type of anatomy has less range of motion for twisting or flexion, and can be damaged if forced to far in these ways.  So someone who is well suited to CrossFit, is probably not well suited to classic Pilates.   If you listen to any interview with Stuart McGill over the last three years, he will probably discuss these findings.  

#4 Carole Amend

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Posted 19 October 2014 - 07:51 AM

Hi suzyq: Congrats & go for it! What is really encouraging is that you've been asked!

Body awareness and movements that progress the physical body towards uniform development is beneficial to any endeavor.

Hi Chris: I'm not sure how you define "classic Pilates" (as a side note, I have moved away from using that term). Our definitions are probably different, since the idea that it isn't suited to spines with specifically-shaped vertebrae is news to me. I would use caution in extrapolating the work of Dr. McGill in that way, unless you know of a study he's done...?

You are correct, though, Chris, when you say that pilates should never hurt anyone. The whole point of the work of J.H.Pilates, to me, is to train the body (AND MIND!) to the fullest extent of the limitation (real or perceived!). In other words, pilates practice is not a physical feat in and of itself; it is a start-where-you-are practice which helps to create body~mind balance and reveal one's potential. Certainly, a high level of physical prowess can be obtained from practicing classical pilates, if that is the goal, however, please remember that this is achieved through dedicated practice. If a person's spine--or whatever else--limits them from performing twisting motions, then this will be recognized; this would not be to say, however, that a person is not suited to classical pilates. "Forcing" any movement is not part of the practice.

To my mind, CrossFitters would benefit from embarking upon a practice that provides insight into what those limitations might be, in relation to the tasks at hand during a CrossFit session. In other words, pilates, if taught properly, would identify what I call "the accidents waiting to happen."

For sure, some of the clients who come to see me aren't likely to also be attracted to CrossFit, however, some definitely are! And those who come to me because of pain issues end up realizing that a pilates practice can help them to not only "return to life", but, also, to excel physically in ways they never dreamt possible. Pilates helps these clients to progress towards being more active, just as it helps the athletes who come to me overcome injury, as well as refine and enhance their performance.


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#5 taowave


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Posted 20 October 2014 - 03:57 PM

Hi Suzy,


Thats pretty impressive as I  have never heard of a Crossfit facility incorporating Pilates.Yoga yes,Pilates NO..


I am also pretty suprised that a Crossfit facility is looking to Pilates for core strength..


I am guessing you are going to work with the Crossfit Newbies...Thats the only people who could possibly need "core" work.Have you ever done Crossfit or a WOD? The intermediate to advanced CrossFitters are Beasts....


I think the problem you may encounter(which I did)is the Crossfit culture and philosophy is so counter to what we have been taught in Pilates.Its a very tough sell,untll they get injured in CrossFit.


Thats been my experience..


Good luck,





I have been asked to hold some pilates class at a crossfit gym to help their members improve core strength.

Has any body else done something similar? Like to know experiences?

Edited by taowave, 21 October 2014 - 07:37 AM.

#6 marian24



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Posted 07 October 2015 - 02:43 PM

How about pilates for competitive fitness and bodybuilding? Does anyone here have experience on that?

#7 ChrisInCA



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Posted 16 October 2015 - 07:55 PM

"How about pilates for competitive fitness and bodybuilding? Does anyone here have experience on that?" 


I may be somewhat opinionated about this, but from what I've seen, Pilates is primarily a therapeutic activity, for people dealing with age or injuries or pain. It also appeals to dancers and female celebrities who want to strengthen and tone without bulking up.   If you change Pilates for new audiences, at some point you should just call it something new.  But I'm sure a lot of people will dissagree with me.


In any case, can I humbly suggest that what you might be looking for can be found at my youtube channel




Cheers,  Chris

#8 CRoberts0430



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Posted 20 December 2015 - 03:05 PM

I agree with what Tom said as far as Crossfit and the difference. It sounds like it would be a challenging job.


But on the other hand you might gain a lot of new clients.

Edited by CRoberts0430, 21 July 2016 - 05:11 AM.

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