The Fundamentals of a Foundation Class

Every Pilates studio has or should have different levels of Pilates classes to satisfy their clients needs and wants. At The Cornerstone Pilates, we offer multiple different levels of classes in order to build up the body from the ground up. 

The Foundation class is designed to introduce someone new to the concepts of Pilates, the terminology, the language we use, but also to build the body up in order to eventually be able to move on to the Integration (Intermediate level) and Signature (Advanced level) class that we offer.  If you come to Pilates and want that feel of building bocks and a start to progress, then that’s the path one would take.

What you might not know is that the Foundation class is also designed for elite athletes or sports aficionados for conditioning, strengthening and re-aligning.  Most importantly, Pilates is not running, cross-fit, body-building, swimming, etc… and even if you are a strong athlete outside of Pilates, you should start with a Foundation class. Basically, it’s a new movement for your body and if you want to do it properly, start at the beginning. The building blocks I mentioned before are imperative to a strong, connected core that will support you in all your exercises. 

I have been doing Pilates for 13 years and my favourite class is a Foundation or Restorative class as it brings me back to basics. It allows you to connect to your deep core, focus on the breath, pay attention to each movement, but most importantly to connect different sections of your body so they work in correlation to each other. 

Take a side bridge for example, the goal of a side bridge from Pilates Foundations is to connect the serratus anterior (shoulder stabilizer) to the external obliques which basically work hand in hand, then to get the external oblique to fire the gluteus medius (hip stabilizer) muscle through the lateral sling which in a nut shell help stabilize your shoulders and hips and keep your ribs over your pelvis in proper alignment. When standing, in quadruped, lying on your back or on your belly, this exercise will help keep your ribs stacked over your pelvis, keep your pelvis aligned and level and both sides of your waist equally as long. This is just one example. Every muscle connects and every exercise in the Pilates Foundations repertoire has a purpose in re-aligning and strengthening your body from the ground up.

In an intermediate level class, we tend to challenge strength and add more resistance or props and in an advanced level class, we tend to focus more on strength and larger muscle groups, which make you feel like you’ve worked harder, but don’t offer the same level of integrity as a Foundation class.

When doing an advanced level class, I often find myself misaligned as my stronger muscles work harder and my weaker muscles follow the lead. When I take a Foundation class, every muscle works evenly and the bones are re-aligned which never fails in helping me feel taller, centered, straighter and everything moves well, like a well-oiled machine.

Bottom line, don’t skimp out on the Foundation classes, your body will love you for it. You are never too strong to take it back to basics and you will always benefit more in your intermediate or advanced classes if you pepper in some beginner level classes. So get going and book your Foundation class today!