When working with a new client recently, she told me "I need to change up my workouts or I get bored."
I've heard this more than once, and that same criticism has been directed at Pilates because the system follows specific routines.
If it's been shown for years that a repeatable system allows for massive success,
when did routines become synonyms with boring and no longer challenging?
A Language of Movement
I get what they're saying. If the body isn't constantly challenged in new ways it will grow accustomed to what it's doing. Your body will stop making progress, and yes, you will get bored.
But, there's a big piece missing to this argument.
In Pilates, dance, sports, or any other system of movement, there is a language that must be learned.
It's called your fundamentals.
When learning a language:
- You learn the letters of the alphabet
- You learn words
- You learn to build sentence structures
- Then you finally learn the idioms of the language
- Fluency continually improves over time
Changing up your routine is the equivalent of learning the idioms of a language.
The idioms are the icing on the cake, the spice that enriches the flavor of your food, the fun stuff.
Learning the order of the exercises is step one, not the entire learning process. If you constantly change it up you never know what to expect, so you have no brain power available to know "how" and "why" you're doing something because you'll be stuck wondering, "what am I doing?"
Pilates is an Iceberg
Pilates is based on daily human movement
and the learning goes much deeper than what meets the eye.
For example: When you're falling, you cannot micro-manage how you move. Your reaction is subconscious. Your body's engrained movement patterns control how your body reacts at this key moment.
Embrace Your Routine
Routines are how you practice fundamentals.
They create mental space so that you can identify the core themes in your body's movement patterns that have either hindered or helped your progress.
Routines open up space for creativity and to help layer in the subtlety of your practice.
It's true that changing up your routine will enrich your understanding of Pilates. It will also help you build an appreciation for your routine and lead you deeper under the surface of that iceberg.