The Pilates Method

The Pilates method, (pronounced pul-LAH-teez ) was founded by Joseph Pilates in the 1920ís. Pilates is similar to yoga in that it requires a strong mind-body connection to direct the movements. Like yoga, the Pilates method stresses proper breathing, coordination, posture, balance, body mechanics, strength and flexibility. The Pilates method has been gaining in popularity as an alternative form of exercise.

Theory

There are approximately 500 different exercises defined under the Pilates Method Nturally the exercises designed for use without special equipment are more popular from a cost standpoint using either floor mats or specially designed equipment. The exercises require the primary muscles as well as the core muscles to stabilize the body during each movement. Pilates exercises can use springs and/or body weight as resistance rather then weights.

The number of repititions is another difference between conventional weight training and Pilates. In weight training, the goal is to isolate a particularprimary or primary group of muscles using a higher number of repititions. The more complex movements associated with the Pilates exercises indicate less repititions through more than one plane of motion. The low impact nature of Pilates exercises make it an excellent choice for rehabilitation.

Equipment

There are many different types of equipment used in Pilates exercises. The use of each piece of equipment varies according to the manufacturer. The Reformer, which is the most common piece of equipment, uses a moveable platform with a series of pulleys and cables for pushing and pulling the body through the different motions of exercise.

Benefits

As stated above, the Pilates exercises utilize less impact than traditional weight training. Each Pilates exercise develops and strengthens not only the primary muscles but the stabilizers or core muscles as well. Emphasis is placed on posture and coordination and the mind/body awareness called proprioception. Proprioception helps to isolate specific muscles to improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.