Why repetition is so important


If you have been taking my classes, you’ll have noticed I have some go-to exercises. There are a few of reasons why I always include them:

1) they are specific to strengthening a particular muscle group 

2) they are functional movement based work, which means they mimic movements we do in our daily lives

3) repetition is important

4) they’re fun!

Let’s focus on #3: Repetition is important. 

Think of an overgrown field. At first, the path you walk doesn’t have much structure or leave an imprint showing you have been there, but over time, the more you walk it, the more established the path becomes until eventually you are walking on dirt and not through tall grass.

The same is true for building pathways in the brain, the more we perform an action (repetition), the more engrained that pathway or connection from the brain to muscle becomes.

The connection between our brain and our body is called the neuromuscular system. When we want to move a muscle, a message is sent from our brain through the nervous system to the muscle to perform the action. The more we perform the action over and over again, the easier or more efficient the messaging system and movement become.

I have spent the last two years watching my son learn how to move his body through practice and repetition. He learned to use his hands to pick up objects, and how to make that movement more specific and refined. He learned to lift his head from the floor, get his legs under him to crawl, learn to stand and then learn to walk- all through practice and repetition.

But, of course, the body doesn’t stop learning once we pass the toddler stage of motor development. We are constantly teaching our body to perform new actions.

When we learn a new physical skill, we are building pathways in our brain and neurons to communicate with the body.

This becomes especially important when the communcaiton between the brain, the nerves and the muscles have been greatly affected by a stroke or a neurological disease. Repition becomes very important here, as we need to teach the brain a new way of communicating with the body (it’s like learning a new language). It takes time but is absolutely possible.

This week’s new release on Rebalance Pilates at Home (called Full Body Shake), is a HIIT-inspired class, where repetition is the focus. We repeat movements and series’ two to three times, challenging our muscle groups and our endurance.

As your brain and body begin to understand and anticipate the movement sequence, you will find the work becomes easier (your brain knows how to communcaite with the muscles and that communication becomes stronger with each pass) but also harder (as muscles fatigue and endurance is challenged).

Let’s strengthen our brain/body connection!



Robyn Thaler Hickey Toronto Pilates_2

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