Pilates exercises work several muscle groups at the same time — stretching and strengthening — which eliminates the need for the tedious repetitions found in other exercise routines. The movements are more effective and result in a toned body, without the unnecessary bulk or muscle damage created by strength training programs.
AT THE CORE OF THE PILATES METHOD: THE POWERHOUSE
All Pilates movements initiate from the core, or “powerhouse” — the upper and lower abdominal muscles, the lower back, and the buttocks — which strengthens and supports the body. Pilates exercises stabilize the torso and work the abdominal muscles more intensely, allowing the arms and legs to move freely from a stable spine, increasing flexibility and strength at the same time.
The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is not a new phenomenon. Joseph Hubertus Pilates, a German immigrant who first called his method the “Art of Contrology,” opened the first Pilates Studio in New York City in 1926. Realizing that movement helped patients heal more quickly, he attached bedsprings to hospital beds to aid in patients’ rehabilitation.
“Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.” —Joseph Pilates
WHY IT WORKS
There are 6 major principles that help achieve a long, sleek, and pain free body.
Concentration: That all-important mind/body connection. Conscious control of movement enhances body awareness.
Control and Precision: It’s not about intensity or multiple “reps,” it’s more about proper form for safe, effective results.
Centering: A particular focus on the torso (abs, pelvic girdle, lower back, gluts) develops a strong core and enables the rest of the body to function efficiently.
Breath: Deep, coordinated, conscious diaphragmatic patterns of inhales and exhales initiate movement, help activate deep muscles and keep you focused.
Flow: Smooth, continuous motion rather than jarring repetitions.
Alignment: Proper alignment is key to good posture. You’ll be aware of the position of your head and neck on the spine and pelvis, right down through the legs and toes.