Pilates is great for building strength, flexibility and endurance as well as aligning your spine and pelvis. It is a body conditioning fitness routine that helps you improve coordination and balance as well as focus on your center or core.
This type of exercise has become more popular with women looking to try new fitness routines and that need to work on their flexibility and stretching as well as build muscle and it starts with beginner moves and increases in difficulty.
The principles of pilates are:
- Concentration - You have to pa attention to the movements so that your body can perform the moves with efficiency and 'flow'. When you are concentrating, you make that ;mind-body' connection we hear and know about and it makes for a better workout when more muscles are engaged.
- Control - Being in control of your movements ties into the concentration aspect; you are fully engaged and are moving them against gravity.
- Centering - in this type of exercise, all of the moves come from what is known as the 'powerhouse' or the central muscles of the body: the abs, the back, hips, butt and inner thighs.
- Flow of movement - basically all of the movements start with the core and flow out from there.
- Precision - the focus here is to do the moves correctly and get the full benefit of the exercise instead of doing it incorrectly or halfways.
- Breathing - with proper breathing you engage the deep ab muscles as well as the muscles on your pelvic floor, engaging more and further strengthening your core.
Pilates is actually a fitness plan that is good for a wide range of people, from seniors, women bouncing back from pregnancy or in rehabilitation, athletes and dancers.
The benefits of doing these movements are:
- Get stronger, longer, leaner
- Able to do more with ease and smoothness of movement because of learning to move from the 'center'
- Most of the exercises are able to be modified
- Helps you to overcome back pain due to the strengthening of the trunk muscles and stability
- Use a floor mat
- You can also use equipment designed with pulleys and resistance from your own bodyweight
- You can also use a reformer (pictured above), a piece of equipment that is used in this type of exercise
Here (below) is a full no-equipment-needed routine that you can try...see if you can through it!