Most of us have heard about pilates and tens of millions of people all around the world practice it on a regular basis. Although it has a great reputation and is recommend by doctors and health care professionals for helping people to recuperate from back pain and injuries, there is some confusion by many to what pilates really is.
Most people think that pilates is merely some stretching involved along with some core strengthening. It is true that the core muscles are a vital element of pilates training, but the stretching part is not particularly correct because it is more to do with the flexibility and movement. However there is much more to it in reality.
To comprehend what Pilates will do for you, here a quick account of how it came into being.
Joseph Pilates was very ill throughout his childhood, way back in the 1880’s. However, he was very single-minded and chose to conquer his problems by getting to grips with physical activities like gymnastics, martial arts, diving and bodybuilding.
He began to teach the police force in self-protection and during the 1st World War, where he was put into prison for his own safety and duly went about training the inmates while he was there. He was certain that ill health was due to the way people were living their modern lives and that breathing incorrectly and bad posture had a bad effect on the body. It was in prison that he crafted “contrology”, his corrective exercise system.
He trained the other inmates with the technique that he had founded and during 1918 influenza pandemic where tens of millions died, not a single inmate who was taught with this system of exercise caught the dreaded virus.
It is not necessarily the exercises per se that are the most vital factor with pilates, and if possible, they ought to differ depending on the necessities and requirements of the person. Every person has unique physiology and so the exercise should be complemented to fit individuals. Therefore, if pilates is performed in large groups where a one size fits all, it won’t be as effective as when it is performed in smaller groups where each individual can be trained accordingly.
It is rather the implementation of each exercise that is more important than the exercise itself that will give most benefit to the participants. This is where the pilates principles are important.
Exercises that are carried out without following the principles thoroughly will not be as effective. Exercises completed with the principles are much more fulfilling and advantageous. It is a real skill to adhere to the core principles and to master them completely will take a lot of practice and dedication. Yet, when completed properly with the exercises is where most benefit will occur.
Doing an exercise once or twice properly will be of a greater benefit that doing that same exercise fifteen times incorrectly.
What does pilates do for you and your body
Below is a list of the basic principles that are crucial to the pilates method.
- Diaphragmatic breathing (deep breathing) – Quality deep breathing stimulates steadiness and control because the diaphragm is part of the inner unit muscles that promote stability.
- Exactness – Practising each exercise in the precise way that they are meant to be done will make the exercise much more effective and advantageous.
- Position /Posture – Good posture will create equilibrium between the muscles and skeleton that will safeguard the body framework from injury. Briefly put, if our posture is bad, some body parts are at risk of being over worked and some are at risk of being under worked.
- Connections – Having the ability to connect and recruit all muscles of the “inner abdominal unit” to provide stability from the inside.
- Attention & Self-control – The capacity to be able to completely focus on every step to make sure the basic principles are being followed and the exercise is being performed successfully.
- Combined segregation – The skill to be able to segregate muscles yet at the same time combine them along with other muscles to create a chain or sling of muscles.
There are other minor principles that other forms of pilates use but the ones above are the main ones that are used in all forms and the ones that should be followed closely.
This is just a short article explaining briefly what pilates will do for you and what it is about. In short, it is a remedial exercise system that helps to improve strength from the inside.