Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates, a physical-culturist, born in Germany in 1883. He believed that mental and physical health are inter-related and developed a system of exercise to strengthen the human mind and body. Pilates focus is on strengthening the core which includes the abdomen, lower and upper back, hip, buttocks and inner thighs.
- Builds flexibility and long, lean muscles
- Increases strength and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back
- Emphasizes spinal and pelvic alignment
- Improves breathing to relieve stress and allow adequate oxygen flow to muscles
- Develops a strong core or center (tones abdominals while strengthening the back)
- Improves coordination, balance, reach, and agility
- Improves posture
PILATES CLASSES may incorporate various resistance apparatuses including: the reformer, mats, foam rollers, stability balls, Fletcher towels, and resistance bands.
SIX PRINCIPLES OF PILATES:
- Concentration – In Pilates, the way the exercise is done is more important than the exercise−requiring focus and concentration at all times.
- Control – All exercises are done in control of one’s body and not at its mercy. The reason you need to concentrate so thoroughly is so you can be in control of every aspect of every moment.
- Centering – To attain control of one’s body, one must have a starting place, the center (or core) –the focal point of Pilates. The core is referred to as the “powerhouse” and includes the abdomen, lower and upper back, hip, buttocks and inner thighs. Movement begins from the powerhouse and flows outward toward the limbs.
- Flow (or efficiency of movement) – Pilates aims for precise movement, creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision is achieved, exercises are intended to flow within and into each other to build strength and stamina. Physical energy exerted from the core should coordinate movements of the extremities.
- Precision – Precision is essential to Pilates with each movement properly completed. You can more strength from a few energetic, concentrated efforts than from a large number of movements done poorly.
- Breath – Breathing properly is an integral part of Pilates. Participants are encouraged to think of the lungs as a bellows — using them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body.
Pilates’ flexible 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. No muscle group is under or over trained.