Barrel– This equipment is primarily used for stretching, although there are great abdominal exercises here like all the other equipment.
Pilates is a system of toning, that incorporates some cardio cardiovascular exercise, and should be compared to strength training. It will raise your heartbeat and warm you up and show you muscles you didn’t know you had.
Pilates will change the shape of your body, . It is not uncommon for clients to drop a dress size, even if their weight is the same on a scale. If you want to lose pounds, you must also address your diet. We highly recommend seeing a nutritionist who can help you pinpoint where you are hiding the extra calories in your diet in addition to your Pilates training.
Pronounced (Pi-la-tes), Pilates is an exercise technique that focuses on strengthening the trunk muscles and creating long strong muscles in the arms and legs. Pilates is an exercise methodology developed by Mr. Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara. The method focuses on controlled movements, especially using the abdominals and coordinating the breath, for this reason he originally called his method “contrology.” Mr. Pilates ran his New York studio, where he trained many dancers and others, from approximately 1925 well into the 1960s until his death in 1967 at the age of 83.
Modern Pilates focuses on teaching people healthy biomechanics while using the traditional Pilates vocabulary of movements. The Pilates method is touted as a way to create longer leaner muscles, improve posture, strengthen the spine and reduce the incidence of disc herniations, and is a sure-fire way to a great butt and toned arms.
Gyrotonic is a movement practice similar to Pilates or yoga, it uses special equipment using pulleys vs pilate’s spring resistance.
The method was developed by Julio Horvath and contains elements of ballet, swimming, martial arts, and yoga. Gyrotonic movements are very fluid, and there is a focus on spinal articulation and mobility. These exercises are three dimensional, so they challenge coordination and use complex patterns to challenge the nervous system. There is a special focus on the opening of the chest and many Office Tight Shoulders have found relief through the circular movements. To find out more about Gyrotonic visit gyrotonic.com.
The six key benefits of Pilates
Proper alignment balances your skeleton so your muscles are held at their ideal length, without tension. If your body is constantly held out of proper alignment, it places a great strain on your muscles, ligaments, and joints. Improper alignment will reduce your body’s ability to react to the force of gravity, resulting in aches and pains and inhibited movement. Pilates gives you an opportunity to learn to correct your misalignments and allow your muscles to work as efficiently as they should.
As you exercise, you should always strive to correct your alignment because it will directly impact on the effectiveness of your workout. Use a mirror where possible to check your alignment and develop your ability to observe how your body moves. Check your feet are in line with your knees and hips, your shoulders are level, and your waist long. For floor exercises, use the mat as a guide. Work in the center and keep the distances between the sides of the mat and your body equal during the workout.
- The impact of gravity on your spine and joints will be reduced every day, whether you are moving or at rest.
- The risk of strain or injury is lessened with good alignment, particularly with more challenging and dynamic exercises.
- Improvements in your posture, how you carry yourself, and how you move every day result from awareness of body alignment.
Pilates is a wonderful body-conditioning program because you don’t need any equipment in order to strengthen your body. You can simply use your own body weight to create resistance for your muscles and to tone up. This means that your workout will be only as effective as the effort you put in to the exercises. Strength begins with a determination to achieve the best. Over time, you will see your muscles gaining tone and looking sculpted, but you’ll also feel much stronger and more energized.
Pilates strengthens the whole body, targeting each muscle group evenly with a mixture of dynamic and static strength training. No body part is neglected. You also work on all planes of movement – sitting, lying, standing. This means that the muscles are worked from many different directions, producing a uniform and very deep strength and tone, even without using heavy weights.
- You are less likely to suffer from muscular and joint aches and pains, or to injure yourself, because your balance and the way you carry yourself will improve.
- You rev up your metabolism by building muscle, so that even when not exercising your stronger body burns more calories.
- Strength leads to greater health: by committing to a Pilates way of life, you will lower your blood pressure and reduce your cholesterol levels.
- Pilates builds strength from the inside out, from your deep core muscles, so that they support your body effectively in movement, and outwards to the limbs.
- Reduced tension and strain in the body results from a strong core, which will also allow your muscles to be free to work with an intensity that will create great results.
We all want to achieve a strong body, but there must be a balance between strength and flexibility. Pilates is the perfect exercise regime to achieve this balance. Tight muscles hinder your mobility and can lead to tension, aches, and pain. Flexibility is essential for your overall fitness and vitality. It ensures a greater range of movement in your joints, and will in turn mean your joints remain healthy and fare better against normal wear and tear as they age.
Pilates makes most use of dynamic, rather than static, stretching: this involves taking your body into and out of a stretch repeatedly, in a choreographed movement. It warms up the muscles so that they respond more effectively. As you progress through the exercises in this book, you should find your range of movement increasing and your flexibility improving.
- Your muscles are free from tension, and your movement is unrestricted, when you achieve good flexibility.
- Your posture will improve, because you will be able to hold your muscles correctly.
- Better blood circulation results from improved flexibility, because it helps the muscles to align more effectively. Improved circulation also gives you a boost of energy.
- Joints stay healthy as you age: they resist wear and tear better if they are flexible and move freely.
4. Shape and tone
For a lot of us, our muscle tone while at rest may be quite weak. Muscles respond quickly to regular exercise, and after a few weeks of Pilates you should notice visible muscle tone and see your body begin to evolve. Pilates uses your body weight and the occasional prop as resistance for shaping your muscles, but it trains every part of your body evenly – front, back, and sides.
For example, during an abdominal exercise, don’t think only about engaging your centre or belly, but be aware of lengthening your limbs, lifting your buttocks, and connecting your shoulders. If you also combine exercise with proper diet to reduce body fat, you’ll notice your muscle tone become even more defined.
- Develop more muscle definition through Pilates exercise – sculpt your waist and shoulders and tone your abdominals, arms, thighs, and your buttocks.
- Change your body shape completely with regular practice of Pilates. With work, you should see a beautifully toned and lengthened body emerge.
Pilates builds endurance within individual exercises and also within workouts. Focus on improving your concentration to build strength for both – endurance comes first from mental strength and therefore requires determination and persistence. Visualize your success and becoming stronger, and stay strong through challenging exercises.
You should practice Pilates sequences without breaks, like a choreographed piece of movement. Initially, you may need to take breaks to perform a linked sequence of exercises. Your muscles will begin to tire after several repetitions, but you need to stay focused and to complete the set. Over time, work towards completing a sequence without pausing.
- Pilates builds stamina, not only physical, but mental.
- Immense strength and tone in the body is developed in Pilates by using your own body weight.
- Improved concentration results from focusing on completing each repetition, exercise, and sequence.
6. Stress Relief
Stress is one of the biggest negative factors of modern life, affecting your physical and mental wellbeing just as much as disease does. Frequent exercise is one of the best remedies for stress and has many benefits. Pilates focuses on breathing – a deep, mindful pattern of breathing that instantly enhances feelings of calm and release in the body and mind. We also work constantly on posture: a poised and lifted body, free from tension and pain, creates a calm mind.
- A sense of calm and wellbeing is encouraged by the relaxation of tense muscles during Pilates.
- Pilates releases endorphins, which naturally cause the body and mind to feel more relaxed and positive.
- Your sleep will improve with regular Pilates, which will greatly reduce any fatigue and stress.
- You will feel energized and invigorated, because Pilates forces you to focus on the present moment and the movement you are performing, to the exclusion of your everyday preoccupations and stresses.
Reformer– The Pilates reformer is the most popular piece of Pilates equipment. It is a flat bed that slides back and forth, and the resistance can be changed by using more springs or fewer springs.
Cadillac– The Cadillac is a long table with springs attached to either side, and bars that attach to the springs. Many therapeutic exercises are performed on this piece of equipment.
Chair– The chair is a small versatile piece of equipment preferred by many gyms or for home use.
Excellent posture is something we all desire, everyone’s mother chided them about it, and it seems illusive in modern office culture. But, there is hope. Pilates is designed to strengthen, stretch and align. First you will strengthen the abdominals and muscles around the spine, giving your spine the support it has been craving. Then you will stretch the shoulders, chest and upper back, opening the shoulders that so often roll forward, finding space through the chest, and mobilizing the often frozen thoracic spine. Last, teaching your body to stand in a healthy alignment using your new mobility and strength to feel supported in great posture.
So, why did your chiropractor send you to Pilates? Because it works!
A strong body holds adjustments. A weak body will not hold an adjustment.
We work closely with a chiropractor, working with his clients. Together we have greatly reduced or eliminated the lumbar back pain in many patients. The stronger your abdominals the stronger your back will be.
A common complaint of the modern office culture is cervical pain, or excessive shoulder tightness. Both of these conditions can be repaired or greatly improved through stretching and gentle strengthening exercises of the neck and upper back.
Pilates and yoga are different yet very complementary. Practicing Pilates can give you the strength and flexibility to help yogis enhance their practice.
Yoga is a spiritually based movement practice that uses breathing, meditation, chanting, stretching and careful control of the body by focusing the mind to achieve enhanced states of consciousness. There are many different types of yoga; the most popular types of yoga in the United States use the technique of moving slowly into a pose and holding the pose while taking slow deep breathes in order to achieve a quieting of the mind.
Pilates is a movement based practice and uses breathing, stretching and careful control of the body by focusing the mind. Pilates focuses on abdominal strengthening and functional use of the muscles and joints. There is a large focus on anatomy and learning how to feel and differentiate different muscles in order to achieve healthy and strong hip joints, shoulders and spine. Pilates uses the ideas of stability and mobility to teach practitioners how to keep themselves from being injured even when they are doing very complex actions (like ballet or kite surfing) and the focus is fitness.
Most Pilates studios are casual. Keeping your attire simple will help you figure out what works best for you. One exception however, is fitness attire that is too loose. Baggy is a problem in Pilates as well as yoga classes because it can be too revealing, and because an instructor must be able to see your alignment and muscle use.
Jewelry should be kept to to a minimum when you workout. Bracelets, long necklaces, and even dangling earrings can be distracting or get caught in the equipment. As a courtesy to others please refrain from wearing strong scents.
Modern Pilates has two main groups, classical Pilates vs. contemporary Pilates.
Classical Pilates sticks as closely as possible to Joseph Pilate’s original work. This means his original exercises and the order in which they were performed. There are slight variations according to different sources what the exact order or the exact way that certain exercises were intended to be performed and so there is contention about whose version is the “real” or the classical version. Another key feature of classical Pilates is the position of the pelvis in in the mat work. Classical Pilates will generally teach abdominal exercises in a “posterior tilt” meaning that, when laying on one’s back the lower spine is completely pressed into the floor, creating a tuck in the pelvis. Example: if there were a small flat board on the pelvis and a marble were placed in the center, the marble would roll towards the belly button.
Contemporary Pilates is based on the work of Mr. Pilates but has been modernized by adjusting the exercises to fit with modern research and has a heavy influence from physical therapy and bio-mechanics. Many exercises remain the same, but a whole new slew of exercises have been added, or variations have been added allowing for injury rehabilitation and creativity by the instructor. Contemporary Pilates will generally teach exercises in a “neutral pelvis” or the position one’s spine is in when standing upright in a healthy posture. When lying on one’s back the lower spine will have some space between the back and the floor, and the hip points and the pubic bone will all be in one plane. Example: if there were a small flat board on the pelvis and a marble were placed in the center, the marble would not roll in any direction.