Pilates is a method of exercise that was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Originally designed as a method to rehabilitate WWI prisoners of war suffering from disease and injury, the Pilates exercises evolved into what is now known as Pilates mat work. This Pilates method is extremely popular because of its ability to adapt to the needs of many different people. Pilates can easily be modified, so it can be as hard or as easy as one needs. From professional athletes to seniors, or those recovering from injury, Pilates exercises are an excellent way to get in shape and tone the body.
Today Pilates is commonly known for its emphasis on core strength and flexibility. It is one of the fastest growing fitness trends and for good reason. Pilates concentrates on structural integration and the creation of a strong, flexible body that can move freely and efficiently are fundamental goals of the Pilates fitness method. To accomplish these goals, Pilates works all parts of the body in a very balanced way.
To the uninitiated, Pilates for beginners can seem a bit daunting. There’s the new language or terminology, new ways of thinking about moving your body, and sometimes even new equipment. An assortment of Pilates workout videos or Pilates DVDs can provide an element of comfort and assurance that you can master these techniques.
There are 6 basic principles in Pilates:
- Breathing – This is the most fundamental principle in Pilates or any exercise. Concentrate on your breathing. Exhale during exertions and inhale during the release or relaxing motion.
- Centering – Every Pilates movement originates from your core or center, the muscles of your abs, hip flexors and lower back. Focusing on these core muscles will help ensure you get a tight, toned mid section.
- Concentration – Every movement in Pilates should be focused and controlled. Concentrate on each movement and you’ll get more out of your Pilates workout.
- Control – Proper muscle control is essential. To be sure you’re using proper form and control a Pilates DVD or Pilates video can be extremely helpful.
- Precision – Gaining precision will not happen overnight, it will definitely take some practice, but with time precision will come. Your goal is to try and make your movements as precise and controlled as possible.
- Flow and Efficiency – Ideally your movements will flow from one exercise to another. This too will take practice, but when mastered will give you maximum benefit from your Pilates workout.
The Pilates method is more than mere exercises; it’s a complete mind/body fitness program. Developing a balanced rhythm requires more than an exercise or spot reduction program. You’re working on creating a body that works together as a harmonious whole.
When introducing Pilates for beginners it’s often helpful to utilize exercise videos or fitness DVDs to ensure you’re following the correct movements and to build confidence in your training.
Learning and implementing the basic principles of Pilates will help guarantee that your Pilates workouts are as efficient and effective as possible. You’ll soon start to notice amazing results. Some of these principles are going to require time and practice to master, so be patient and stay motivated. Never give up!
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