By taking it to the water, Boo Pfeiffer added bounce and buoyancy to Joseph Pilates’ traditional moves. More accessible, yet just as challenging, Pool-ates is a three-dimensional aquatic exercise that promises to lean, strengthen and flex your body — just as long as you go with the flow.
“Pool-ates stays true to the work of Joseph Pilates,” explains Pfeiffer. “The difference is that the lower impact on joints and muscles makes it more accessible.”
Being in the water allows people with injuries, arthritis or whose weight prohibits them from carrying out certain moves to participate.
The principle of Pilates is based on precision, control, concentration and breathing and how all of these come together. The key thing is that, contrary to belief, Pool-ates does not involve you floating around in the water. The class is performed standing up, on the pool steps or the side railing. Only once you have reached advanced levels can you engage in horizontal moves.
“Being in the water, you have little or no control of what is going on, all your energy and strength goes into not falling. There may be less impact than on land, but in Pool-ates you have to resist the buoyancy, which is challenging,” Pfeiffer says.
However, fighting buoyancy is a more gentle feeling than fighting gravity, making the exercise more relaxing as a whole.
“You get more of a mind-body high,” explains Pfeiffer. “You are able to relax more and therefore focus and concentrate on the moves more easily.”
Every single exercise during Pool-ates engages your core, stomach, back and waist muscles. If you don’t hold it all together in an integrated fashion and keep the moves precise, then you will be thrown off balance and ‘blown’ away by the water.
In a Pool-ates class the water temperature should be between 86 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit (30/33 degrees Celsius).
According to Pfeiffer, people have a higher range of motion in warmer water, as well as greater flexibility and stretch. Cold water will only shrink muscle.