Woodstock resident Cathy Huffman has taught Pilates exercise since 2003.

Huffman was the Pilates program director at the Buhler YMCA in Palatine where she also oversaw the gymnastics and dance programs for the past 10 years.

After years of commuting back and forth from Woodstock to Palatine, Huffman decided it was time to put down business roots close to home.

The 60-year-old former gymnast opened Woodstock Pilates about four months ago, teaching classes on the Square and also offering private one-on-one instruction from her home Pilates studio.

Beginning Feb. 1, Woodstock Pilates will offer classes at Young Masters Martial Arts studio in the lower level of the Woodstock Square Mall, 110 S. Johnson St.

Huffman’s admiration for Pilates exercise formed when she was 14 years old, after she broke her lower back during a gymnastics fall. She was a member of the U.S.A. Women’s National Gymnastics team at the time. 

“I broke my back and I never had surgery,” said Huffman, who has completed 1,500 hours in Pilates certification training, holds a Bachelor of Science in sports medicine and has a master’s degree in human resource development. “I started doing Pilates, and it made me feel better. Pilates kept me from needing surgery and it keeps me pain-free.”

Huffman explained that Pilates, created by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, was originally medically based. As years passed, Pilates became more fitness-oriented, she said.  

“A lot of the reasons people take Pilates is because they have an issue,” she said.

Huffman uses a Pilates reformer machine equipped with weights and pulleys in her home studio that allows her to create more than 500 different types of exercises for her clients. If someone has a knee problem, for instance, Huffman can provide exercises that take weight and pressure off the knee, allowing clients to continue strengthening and building their muscles without pain or discomfort.

Woodstock resident Tiffany O’Brien, 47, has been a client of Huffman’s for the past six months and attests to the benefits of Huffman’s individualized approach. O’Brien had replacement surgeries on both her knees as a result of sports injuries after playing volleyball and basketball in her younger days. She had her first knee replacement when she was 26 years old and also suffered a sports-related back injury along the way.  

“The benefit of Pilates is more about whole body health,” said O’Brien. “As you get older, the things that used to be second nature – like balance and strength – aren’t any more.”

“What Cathy gives you is individualized training,” O’Brien said. “She’s very aware of how your body should work, such as bending and proper form. And she’s very willing to make adjustments to accommodate your needs.” 

For information, call 847-421-5244 or visit PilatesofWoodstock.com.

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