What is Pilates
Who Is Pilates For?
All Sizes, Including Overweight
Big, small, tall, short, whatever…. you can do Pilates. One of the great things about Pilates is that it is built around efficient, well aligned human movement – not certain humans, all humans. There are things we focus on like core strength, flexibilty, and balance but the exercises are adapted appropriately for each body using them. This was one of the hallmarks of Joseph Pilates’ teaching and it remains a guiding factor in the evolution of Pilates today.
Men and Women
Its a myth that Pilates is only for women. Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates, and men have been thoroughly involved in Pilates – doing it, teaching it, building the industry – all along.
Pilates helps with balance, flexibility, and coordination as it promotes overall fitness. It is easy to adjust the effort level required for Pilates exercises. And Pilates, as moderate resistance training, is very compatible with bone health programs.
People with Back Pain
Pilates exercises are increasingly recommended by back pain specialists and incorporated into physical therapy programs of all kinds. People with pain or physical limitations often find that including Pilates taught by a qualified instructor in their rehab program makes a positive difference in their comfort and overall fitness.
Pregnant and Postnatal Women
Pilates is a great friend of the pre and postnatal woman. It is famous for preparing bodies for childbirth and helping women recover not just their figures but better physical function after giving birth. There are certain exercises that are contraindicated as a pregnancy moves forward so please take advice from your doctor, and talk to your instructor
Cross Training Athletes
Pilates is a form of fitness training that develops balanced musculature, flexibility and overall functional fitness, making it a top choice as complimentary exercise for athletes in training. Everyone from cyclists to Super Bowl football players and Olympic ice skaters use Pilates as part of their training.
Dancers, who engage in very demanding physical training for their art, are also big fans of Pilates and many go on to become Pilates instructors.
If enhanced strength, balance, flexibility and as Joseph Pilates would say, a “complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit” is what you are looking for in a fitness program, Pilates is the place to start!
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s, which emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement.
Pilates is a body conditioning routine that can help build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core or center, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates’ system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.
One of the best things about the Pilates method is that it works so well for a wide range of people. Athletes and dancers love it, as do seniors, women rebounding from pregnancy, and people who at various stages of physical rehabilitation.
About Joseph Pilates
German born Joseph Pilates was living in England, working as a circus performer and boxer, when he was placed in forced internment in England at the outbreak of WWI. While in the internment camp, he began to develop the floor exercises that evolved into what we now know as the Pilates mat work. As time went by, Joseph Pilates began to work with rehabilitating detainees who were suffering from diseases and injuries. It was invention born of necessity that inspired him to utilize items that were available to him, like bed springs and beer barrel hoops, to create resistance exercise equipment for his patients.
Unhealthy as a child, Joseph Pilates studied many kinds of self-improvement systems. He drew from Eastern practices and Zen Buddhism, and was inspired by the ancient Greek ideal of man perfected in development of body, mind and spirit. On his way to developing the Pilates Method, Joseph Pilates studied anatomy and developed himself as a body builder, a wrestler, gymnast, boxer, skier and diver.
Pilates is Whole-Body Fitness
Unlike some forms of exercise, Pilates does not over-develop some parts of the body and neglect others. While Pilates training focuses on core strength, it trains the body as an integrated whole. Pilates workouts promote strength and balanced muscle development as well as flexibility and increased range of motion for the joints.
Attention to core support and full-body fitness — including the breath and the mind — provide a level of integrative fitness that is hard to find elsewhere. It is also the reason that Pilates is so popular in rehab scenarios, as well as with athletes who find that Pilates is a great foundation for any kind of movement they do.
Adaptable to Many Fitness Levels and Needs
Whether you are a senior just starting to exercise, an elite athlete or somewhere in between, the foundations of Pilates movement apply to you. Building from core strength, focusing on proper alignment, and a body/mind integrative approach make Pilates accessible to all. With thousands of possible exercises and modifications, Pilates workouts can be tailored to individual needs.
Creates Strength Without Bulk
Long, lean muscles are the name of the game here. In Pilates, we are not looking to build muscles for show. We are building toned muscles that work perfectly within the context of the body as a whole, and the functional fitness needs of a person as they move through life.
One of the ways that Pilates creates long, strong muscles is by taking advantage of a type of muscle contraction called an eccentric contraction.
In Pilates, we work toward a safe increase in length and stretch of the muscles and range of motion within the joints. A body that can stretch and bend to meet the flow of life is a very realistic goal.
Develops Core Strength
The core muscles of the body are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. These are the muscles we rely on to support a strong, supple back, good posture, and efficient movement patterns. When the core is strong, the frame of the body is supported. This means the neck and shoulders can relax, and the rest of the muscles and joints are freed to do their jobs — and not more. A nice side benefit is that the core training promotes the flat abs that we all covet.
Good posture is a reflection good alignment supported by a strong core. It is a position from which one can move freely. Starting with Pilates movement fundamentals and moving through mat and equipment exercises, Pilates trains the body to express itself with strength and harmony. You can see this in the beautiful posture of those who practice Pilates.
It might seem like a paradox, but the more you exercise, the more energy you have and the more you feel like doing (to a point, of course). Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with the good feelings one gets from exercising the whole body.
Promotes Weight Loss and Long, Lean Appearance
If you practice Pilates regularly, it will change your body. Known for creating long, strong muscles and a leaner look; Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports beautiful posture, and teaches you to move with ease and grace. All of these things will make you look and feel very fit.
If you want to lose weight, the formula for weight loss remains the same: Burn more calories than you take in. As a full-body fitness method, Pilates help will help you do that. Combined with aerobic activity, Pilates becomes a prime weight loss and body toning tool.