ALL ABOUT PILATES
ALL ABOUT PILATES
Many people believe pilates is just for women when in fact, it was developed by a man, for men! Joseph Pilates, the original founder, was a boxer, gymnast and trained both Scotland Yard and the Hamburg Military Police in self-defence and physical training before coming to New York in 1926. The adaptability of the Pilates method to different levels of fitness and body types has made Pilates an accessible and effective fitness and rehab choice for both men and women. From top triathletes to our very own Brisbane Broncos boys, men and women everywhere are discovering the benefits of pilates.
While the goal of uniting body, mind and spirit may be the same in both techniques, getting there is quite a different path depending on which modality you practice. While Yoga and Pilates have some similarities (they both work on strength, flexibility, postural alignment and stability) they utilise different breathing styles and the way they approach movement differs.
Yoga has a big emphasis on flexibility and can often push the body to its limits – particularly with extension of the joints. It can sometimes be too extreme for some body types or people with injuries.
Pilates, on the other hand, was developed as part of injury rehabilitation and focuses on strengthening the muscles. Pilates takes a controlled and monitored approach and is full of movements that support a healthy back and joints through strengthening core muscles and stabilising any weaknesses in the body.
One of the best things about pilates is that it can be adapted to suit people of all ages and abilities – including both those who struggle to touch their toes and those that are overly flexible! Pilates can teach someone how to move their body and gradually improve mobility and flexibility and for those overly flexible people, the core conditioning creates joint stability, so the goal is a balance of strength and flexibility. This results in a reduction in pain and risk of injury, which is way handier then being able to do the splits!
Pilates focuses on building you a strong core, but it also benefits the rest of your body and mind as well!
While most pilates sessions include a focus on pelvic stability and core strengthening the emphasis is also on exercises for the whole body. Pilates was created as a functional strength system to build strong, aware bodies, capable of moving efficiently. Pilates was also originally called Contrology so it’s no surprise that control and body awareness are also a big part of this type of training. The Pilates system teaches a balance of strength, flexibility and mind muscle connection, or as our friend Joseph used to say, “the uniform development of our bodies as a whole.”
Anyone who says this has clearly never done pilates before! If you are going through the motions without applying the principles of control, centering, concentration and precision, it may feel easy, however you most likely won’t be getting the full benefit of the exercise. Because the exercises engage the deepest core muscles, you need to understand how to do them properly to get the most benefit. That’s why it’s great to take a class with one of our qualified instructors who can watch and correct your form as needed.
Pilates is different to other forms of exercise like running or gym training and therefore may also feel different because it works by strengthening the smaller, stabilising muscles, as well as incorporating full body compound movements to create a balanced workout. It’s still challenging, but perhaps in a different way than what you’re used to.