Named for its founder, Joseph Pilates, (pronounced puh-lah-teez), Pilates is a fitness and wellness regime that uses visualization techniques and a series of specific exercises to strengthen the body's core, balance the physique, and increase body awareness. Pilates conditions the body from head to toe with a no to low impact approach suitable for all ages and abilities. It requires patience and practice, but results will follow.
Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition the total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training whereby it works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core (the abdomen, back and pelvic girdle region, referred to as the powerhouse.
An Animated History of Pilates
The most popular piece of Pilates equipment is the Reformer.
The Reformer is a rectangular frame with a platform that slides back and forth on metal tracks. On one end of the platform is a horizontal bar, and on the other end is a pair of straps. Springs attached to the platform provide resistance when performing exercises such as pushing against the bar or pulling on the straps with your legs or arms. Exercises can be performed lying down, sitting, kneeling or standing, and work all of the body's major muscle groups.
Some Reformers have a Tower at the end which consists of a metal bar and resistance springs with straps connected to the poles. It provides the possibility of working in multiple planes of resistance. From gentle, spring-assisted sit-ups to advanced acrobatics, the Tower offers versatility to all workout levels.
The Benefits of Pilates
With regular, committed Pilates workouts you can expect to:
"In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference. In 20, you’ll see the difference. In 30, you’ll have a whole new body."
"Among the many benefits of Pilates exercise is that it can be adjusted to fit the needs and interests of all kinds of people. Pilates is for men, women, elite athletes, seniors, pregnant women, yoga enthusiasts, people with back pain, and everyone in between."
"Indeed, 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."