Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Pole Body Part 2: Michellates

About a year ago I began taking Pilates in addition to pole dance classes as a part of my fitness routine.  I was initially just curious about how Pilates worked.  I had heard that it did amazing things for the body and I was particularly interested in the blend of stretching and strengthening that the workout supposedly provided. Pilates is a system of exercises developed by a German man named Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s.  Originally designed as a rehabilitative practice, the goal of Pilates is to achieve an equilibrium of strength and flexibility and better balance in the body when moving through life’s activities.  I began doing one-hour sessions once a week with Michelle Blum, certified Pilates instructor.  Michelle trains out of her home and she has a number of exciting machines that she likes to torture me with.   But in a good way!
            Michelle also has an insatiable curiosity about the body.  Because she is compassionate and detail oriented, she is able to provide a very personalized workout for her clients.  In fact, she thrives off of finding what would best serve each of her clients needs, whether it is overcoming chronic pain, healing from an injury or losing weight. Says Michelle, “While my comprehensive training in Classical Pilates is the foundation of my teaching, depending on a client’s needs I also pull from other pilates styles, my yoga certification, and background in sports and personal training.  I am very much about tailoring each workout to the client’s specific needs.  I’ve been told I have a very sweet and gentle way of kicking someone’s butt. “  Case in point: one of Michelle’s regular clients came to her after training for five years in Pilates with other teachers.  After three months with Michelle she dropped an additional dress size and lost two inches off of her waist.
Michelle also has a background in pole dancing.  When I told her that I wanted to use my Michellates workouts as a foundation for strengthening and conditioning my body to do specific pole tricks she leapt into action.  She assessed my strengths and weaknesses over the course of several sessions and then incorporated a number of core strengthening and leg strengthening exercises to create a very personalized workout.  She also sent me home with worksheets so I could train at home.  The beauty of Michellates is that it teaches you to experience your muscles in relation to one another.  As someone who has very little gymnastics background I struggle with understanding what muscles go into which pole dancing trick.  Michellates has helped me tremendously with this.  Says Michelle, “Pilates is very much an overall body workout and while we target specific muscle groups through certain exercises, the workout, on the whole, is a complete body workout.  What someone learns through doing Pilates is how the muscles relate to one another and work together.  In other words, how to use their muscles correctly and how to engage and strengthen parts of the body that aren't working at full aptitude in order to assist the parts of the body that are working at full aptitude.   

Some of the benefits of Pilates include:

-Elongating muscles without building bulk.

-Slimming problem areas, i.e., Hips, buttocks and thighs.

-Increasing flexibility while building strength.

-Improving posture, coordination and circulation.

-Increasing range of motion.

-Promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Since starting Michellates almost a year ago people are constantly asking me if I have lost weight.  In fact, I’ve gained weight because I’ve gained muscle mass.  But my body looks leaner.  And I only see her once a week!  But perhaps the best part of Michellates is seeing how passionate Michelle is about her work: “I love being able to teach people how to properly work with their body while at the same time giving them a great workout. I love being a part of the discoveries people make about their body.  Clients will often arrive sharing a story of a discovery they made while doing an activity in their day to day life, how they were able to feel the difference and move more freely or with more ease. Seeing people awaken to the mind/body connection, witnessing their progress over time, helping them to alleviate some tension both physically and mentally and helping them to feel more energetic is a gift."

So if you are a pole dancer looking for an extra workout that will complement your pole dancing exercise, I strongly recommend looking into Michellates.  Especially if you find yourself struggling with tricks and/or worried about injuries.  As a New Year’s special, Michelle is offering an intro one on one session for 40.00 and a deal on packages to anyone who mentions this article. 

Happy New Year Everybody!

Facebook: Michelle Blum


  1. I had done Pilates for years and never understood it or got the amazing results I get working with Michelle. She is exceptionally gifted, intuitive and wise. I can't wait to get back to LA and into her studio!!!

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