This is the 4th blog in the Clinical Pilates 4-week challenge.

17/8/15, by Jess Davies

For my second group Clinical Pilates class, Jeremy focused on strengthening and moving my upper body. While I didn’t necessarily get to forget my butt muscles for the hour-long session, my arms and shoulders were definitely the bits receiving the work out.

I haven’t used my arms and upper body much over recent years. My only regular exercise has been running and I haven’t lifted weights or played any sports that require the use of my arms for years. Whenever I find myself needing to engage my biceps, such as lifting heavy pieces of furniture or painting walls, my arms tire very quickly and I feel like a weak little girl.

There was plenty of shaking and wobbly arms as I moved from one exercise to the next and my biceps, triceps and any-other-ceps started feeling the burn. Jeremy didn’t let my lower body off the hook and threw in the odd leg and hip exercise to keep things interesting.

There was plenty of shaking and wobbly arms… and my biceps, triceps and any-other-ceps started feeling the burn.

It was a great challenge for me – I secretly enjoy that muscular ache that you get when your body engages parts that you don’t normally use. It reminds me that I am a human being, made up of many bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves, and that my daily routine and exercise pattern affects how my body functions. These pilates sessions have really made me think about how I walk, sit and stand and how my body naturally moves. Thirty years of repetitious muscle movement is hard to change, but I am slowly starting to feel a difference.

There were three other participants in the class (including a chatty eight year old boy who appeared to be pushing heavier weights than me) and I was interested to see how the larger group would affect my experience. I entered the class expecting that I wouldn’t have as full a work out as I had in the one-on-one sessions because Jeremy wouldn’t be able to spend as much time focussing on each individual. How wrong I was. Jeremy moved swiftly from one person to the next and by the end of the session my arms felt like heavy tree trunks and I had built up a significant sweat. My body was quite relieved when it was told it could go home and get some rest!

I entered the class expecting that I wouldn’t have as full a work out as I had in the one-on-one sessions… how wrong I was.

The following morning as I headed out on my run, I felt as if my shoulder blades had shifted significantly and were now almost touching at the back. My shoulders felt lower and I could have sworn I had grown an extra few centimetres. The repetition of ‘shoulder blades back’ throughout the previous night’s exercises had clearly had an effect and my posture was enjoying this new position.

My arms had recovered from their big workout and I felt stronger and more balanced throughout my body. I am genuinely surprised at how much change I am feeling. At the start of this challenge I was sceptical that Clinical Pilates would make any difference in the short four-week time frame but I am quickly changing my mind and I now have high hopes that my sessions with Jeremy are going to make me run faster and stronger in this marathon.