F is for Flowing Movement
All Pilates exercises should be performed in a continuous flowing way, aiming to achieve controlled movement through the concentric and eccentric phases, resulting in a balanced and functional training programme.
In Pilates we use all three kinds of muscle contractions: eccentric, concentric, and isometric where the muscle is held in a static contraction. But it is the eccentric contraction that accounts for the long, strong muscles Pilates is known for.
Examples of an eccentric phase would be the roll down part of the roll up or roll over, where we intentionally control the roll down, lengthening the torso against the pull of gravity. Fluidity, grace, and ease are goals applied to all Pilates exercises as the energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. Aim for the grace and fluidity of a dancer.
Fluidity of Motion
Flow, or the fluidity of motion, is something that really sets Pilates apart from other forms of exercise. There are no static, jerky, or fragmented movements in the Pilates method. Each exercise should have a smooth, graceful, dance-like quality to it, with no specific end to the movement only a continuous flow. Concentrate (another Pilates principle) on flow not only during each individual exercise, but also on the transitions from one exercise to the next. Seamless fluid transitions thread the exercises together so that your body is constantly in motion and your muscles are constantly working, even in between the exercises.
Try to perform all exercises in a continuous, fluid movement synchronized with the controlled breath. Each exercise is created to flow seamlessly into the next in sequence, with no wasted movement in transition. This ensures a full-body workout that keeps the heart rate elevated and builds stamina and endurance. Even in a short workout, keep your focus and choreograph the sequence of exercises to flow without resting. Pilates appears balletic, strong, effortless, and not laboured, if performed correctly.
The fluidity of the exercises linked together in a Pilates class will become easier as clients begin to understand the names of each exercise and the need for the class teacher to demonstrate each exercise reduces. Even at a beginner level, the sequence of each exercise within the class should be considered to ensure there is a careful flow and participants move smoothly from one exercise to the next. This is particularly important when working with clients that are less mobile.