Pilates helps build long, lean muscles throughout the body, placing an emphasis on regulated breathing to facilitate oxygen flow to muscles. It sounds fancy, but Pilates was developed by a man who grew up sick and weak in early 20th Century Germany as a means of improving his strength and balance with a relatively low-impact workout. In San Francisco, more than 100 studios and fitness centers offer Pilates classes. Whether it’s a mat class or a spring-and-pulley system, San Fran has something for everyone.
The Bendy Bulldog is a small venue with an emphasis on personal core (abdomen, back and pelvis) fitness training. It is designed to create strong, lean and flexible bodies without requiring its athletes to be ballet bendy, or super coordinated. Learn from Nancy Hsu’s more than 10 years of experience in dance, Pilates, soccer and distance running.
The JCCSF Fitness Center offers a variety of daily classes from beginner to intermediate based on fundamental Pilates movements. Advanced classes emphasize jump board workouts, cardiovascular work and resistance training. Some classes have minimum requirements, so schedule a private or semi-private session first to determine your standing for future classes.
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Flow Studios (at the Pacific Heights Health Club) offer Pilates (mat and machine) along with yoga, massage, physical therapy and acupuncture. Practice 500 gentle, low-repetition exercises using a variety of equipment and assistance props to develop a healthy, functional body from head to toes.
In addition to its regular slate of Pilates classes, EHS Pilates offers classes specifically for rehabilitation and pregnant women. Its “core align” classes use special equipment to allow athletes to get into a great cardio workout without running or jumping.
Mighty Pilates specializes in Pilates apparatus workouts and offers classes for core and for pre-and post-natal moms. Start with a private or basics class to get the feel for your needs and applicable classes. Expect to lay down and move in ways that require your clothes to move with you, and feel free to go barefoot to better feel the equipment.
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A classic Pilates center, Dharmaspace Pilates Center has mat and apparatus Pilates classes suited for all ages and abilities. Here, instructors take new students for a one-on-one, first-time class to gauge goals and determine strengths and weaknesses.
Ben Davidson is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His work can be found at http://www.examiner.com/road-trip-travel-in-san-francisco/ben-davidson