Pilates is a method of body conditioning which trains the mind and body to work together toward the goal of overall fitness. There are over 500 different exercises performed on five unique pieces of apparatus. The exercises are done in a particular sequence, with a minimum number of repetitions and a high degree of precision and concentration. The movements flow from one exercise to the next, and as the client progresses, the workout becomes increasingly more challenging and aerobic. The classic Pilates method captures the benefits of Eastern exercise philosophies, such as yoga, by emphasizing mental focus, breathing, and flexibility. Pilates also maximizes strength and endurance, which is the focus of traditional forms of Western exercise methods. By blending the best of these approaches, the Pilates method trains the mind and body to work together toward the goal of overall fitness.
Stretch, Strength and Control
Pilates exercises eliminate the need for tedious repetitions and are inherently more effective because they work several muscle groups at the same time. The movements stretch one muscle group while strengthening another, and require a great deal of abdominal control. The result is a toned body, but without the bulk seen in more conventional exercise methods.
At the Core of the Pilates Method: the Powerhouse
Pilates is the godfather of core strength training. The core, or in Pilates terminology, the powerhouse, is comprised of the upper and lower abdominal muscles, the lower back and the buttocks. Conventional forms of exercise and athletic activities develop strength in the arms and legs, but largely ignore this area because these muscles are difficult to isolate and strengthen. This is the same set of muscles that support good posture and, if not used properly, will deteriorate with time. Pilates exercises are designed to stabilize the torso and work the muscles of the powerhouse lower, deeper, and more intensely. All movements are initiated from the powerhouse, which strengthens the support muscles deep within the body; muscles that typically get overlooked in conventional weight bearing or aerobic exercise. By stabilizing the powerhouse, the arms and legs can move freely from a stable spine, increasing flexibility and strength at the same time.
Everyone Can Benefit from Pilates
Pilates is something you carry with you for a lifetime. It can benefit people at all levels of fitness. Anyone can do it; men and women, the young and those of us that are of increased age, athletes and individual with injuries. The benefits range from helping the average person become more physically fit to perfecting the performance of the elite athlete. Regardless of your physical ability the Pilates method teaches you a way of life. You sit better, you sleep better, you stand better, and you feel more in control of your body.
Pilates is not a new phenomenon. Joseph Pilates started developing his exercise method while serving in hospitals during the first world war. In 1926, Pilates moved to New York City where he opened his studio and since that time has maintained a steady and devoted following. After his death in 1967, his work has been carried on by Romana Kryzanowska, master teacher and protégé of Joseph Pilates. Early advocates of Pilates came from the arts and entertainment community. The New York City Ballet’s legendary George Balanchine and dance icon Martha Graham were early adopters of the Pilates method as were the dancers that followed them. In recent years, many celebrities say they attribute their strong toned bodies to the Pilates method.
All Pilates Is Not the Same
The popularity of Pilates has grown in recent years, and many health clubs and sports facilities have begun offering Pilates-inspired or Pilates-based programs. The classical Pilates method is different. It is a unique and powerful method that has stood the test of time and really does deliver results. At Mind Body & Pilates, we offer only the classical Pilates method and we use apparatus built from the original design specifications and mechanics of Joseph Pilates’ own equipment.