Ada Wells, MPT, PMA ®-CPT, is the owner of ProBalance, Inc. (located in Alameda, CA). She brings nearly 20 years of Physical Therapy, Pilates, and sports performance expertise to her clients in rehabilitation, fitness, and educational settings.
What is the biggest benefit of Pilates for fitness?
When performed correctly, it’s fabulous for encouraging proper alignment, healthy mobility, and optimal efficiency in the body. What that means for you is the likelihood of injury decreases and the potential to get "more bang for your buck" on your current exercise program is increased.
How often should one do Pilates?
Many Pilates exercises can be performed on a daily basis and are helpful for un-doing modern life's postural and movement stressors. These simple exercises can make us aware of how we move so that every activity we do becomes an exercise. As I often say to my patients and clients, "There are more reps in real life than there are in the studio or gym, " so it's important to make sure you make all of your movements count. As far as performing a more structured Pilates workout, I would recommend 2-3x/week depending on what other activities they are doing.
Tip(s) for most active people that can keep them from being injured?
My biggest piece of advice is to learn HOW to move before you add resistance, speed, power, etc. to an exercise. Practice makes permanent, it doesn't make perfect. So, if you strengthen a faulty movement pattern, then that's what you'll get, and eventually injuries will follow. My second piece of advice is to work on the areas that you know are tight or weak, but aren't necessarily painful. For example, I often refer to the knee as the "dumb joint"...it only does what the ankle and hip tell it to. Poor mobility at the ankle combined with weak hip stabilizers create a recipe for poor lower body alignment, leaving the knee joint vulnerable to injury, wear and tear, and eventually pain.
You provide fitness programs for golf, sailing and other sports. What are some specifics you help people with?
Golfers need to understand how the body-swing connection influences performance. For example, if a golfer hits far but lacks consistency, this is often due to a movement sequencing issue, but if they hit consistently straight, with no power, this is a stabilization issue. Sailors can generally be divided into two categories: Hardcore racers whose bodies need to match the physical demands of the sport such as operating a winch in a heeling boat. Or leisure cruisers who may spend extended time on their boats with limited space to workout and store equipment. I’ve developed workouts for both groups, usually using items they already have on their boats. It's a niche market, but definitely a way to bring out my creative side.
You are involved in Pilates teacher training for fitness professionals. What is your favorite part about teaching?
I love being an Educator for Polestar as this particular Pilates Teacher Training program really emphasizes the "why" when it comes to matching a Pilates program to the individual. When a fitness instructor can use the movement tools of Pilates, along with a deeper understanding of what is happening on a physiological and anatomical level, the results are optimal.
Personal favorite workout?
I like to combine high intensity interval training using a great piece of equipment called an Xiser stepper in conjunction with a Pilates based exercise using a simple towel for posture, resistance, and alignment called Fletcher Towelwork®. Not only is this an efficient workout due to the intervals, but the precision of the exercises using the towel are incredible for undoing what our modern society does to our posture.
Favorite pre- and post-workout snack?
Pre-workout, I love a peanut butter and banana sandwich on extra thin slices of whole wheat bread. Post workout and to keep my energy up in the afternoon, I love my raw almonds with dried blueberries to satisfy my chocolate craving along with some Greek yogurt for a protein boost and to satisfy my "creamy" cravings.
Favorite lucy item and why?
I love my Perfect Core Capris and Leggings. The fabric feels fabulous against my skin and it hugs my body in a way that makes me feel like I'm wearing my "skinny pants". The higher waistline gets rid of that extra little bit of "muffintop" that sometimes wants to sneak in there. Paired with a Lucy tank (which I love because they are long enough to fit over my 6 foot frame) and a wrap, I can look put together in the studio or when I need to run an errand afterwards.