What is Pilates

“CONTROLOGY” is what Joseph Pilates called his method of exercise, which was defined by him as being able to coordinate body, mind, and spirit during movement. Contrology, today known as Pilates, is indeed an art.

A Pilates program emphasizes core strength, but strength alone is not the goal. The goal is to use that strength to create functional and sustainable movement patterns throughout the body. The exercise involves coordinating movement and breath (based on muscle function).

In addition to aligning, your body’s structure and supporting your joints, Pilates is an ideal low impact exercise that builds optimal strength through muscle balance. What may seem simple can be deceptively challenging and incredibly effective when done correctly.

When Pilates is practiced consistently, the strength you gain is nonrigid and balanced between strength, mobility and flexibility.

What is involved in a typical Pilates class

Pilates exercises can be done on a Mat with small equipment like a TRX, Bosu, Big/Small Balls, Weights, Bands, Kettlebells, Rings, etc.  It can also be done on Large Machines like the Reformer, Cadillac, Towers, Wunda Chairs, and Ladder Barrels.  These machines work with spring tension.  An added benefit is that the Reformer also has a Jump Board, so cardio can be included in your workouts.

A typical Pilates class involves a 55-minute workout class.  The program is usually structured in such a way that you get a full body workout.  Intensity levels vary from medium to difficult, depending on the client’s ability and objectives.  Will I sweat during a Pilates class?  Yes, definitely – the objective is to challenge your body without harm.

5 Benefits of Pilates

  1. Improved body awareness.

In addition to improving proprioception and body awareness, Pilates is a mind-body practice. A lot of attention is paid to the muscles working, the sensations you feel while working, and your breathing pattern, understanding where to place your limbs in space and allowing one to be more aware of their body as they move and do daily activities.

A person with enhanced body awareness is less likely to get injured or fall because the body responds better to stimulus. To be in tune with your body, you must improve your body awareness.

  1. Improved posture

Pilates allows you to align your spine, maintain an ideal range of motion at your joints, and have a strength and flexibility balance between opposing muscles that will help you maintain a good posture.

  1. Improved core strength

In Pilates, the core plays a key role – the center of the body from which all movement originates. The core is composed of all the muscles surrounding the trunk, which supports and stabilize it when pliable and strong.

The Pilates method improves core strength and function. As a result of core strength, back, neck, shoulder and hip pain are reduced, pelvic floor dysfunction is reduced, and explosive movement is derived from it, thus the nickname “the powerhouse.”

  1. Reduced joint pain

Both the upper and lower back are supported by Pilates’ deep abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. They lift and support the organs and protect and stabilize the back like a brace. The muscles contract and release during Pilates, strengthening the pelvic floor, spine, and other parts of the body.

  1. Enhanced sports performance

The benefits of Pilates can be felt by anyone who exercises regularly, whether you are a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or an avid gym-goer. Balance is achieved through Pilates, which strengthens muscles, mobilizes rigid areas, and lengthens tight ones. As a result, you are able to react faster and prevent injuries.

Pilates also focuses on strengthening the smaller muscle groups which are often neglected allowing your musculoskeletal system to function optimally. Pilates will help to enhance muscle control and strength in your back, limbs, and the sides of your body. With every movement, you build on stamina and improve physical coordination and balance which improves sports performance.

  1. Prevent Injury

Pilates helps prevent injuries by keeping the muscles in balance, strengthening your core and – perhaps most importantly – enhancing body awareness, co-ordination and mental concentration.  Pilates is also a great rehabilitation tool, which is why physiotherapists and biokineticists add a Pilates qualification to their existing qualifications.

How does Pilates training fit in with any other fitness and strength training regime

Pilates is the ideal training method for any type of sport or activity – or non-activity – at any age.  Learning about the correct placement of the body and limbs, the correct muscle recruitment and alignment, will assist with any type of fitness regime and prevent injury.  Whether this is just daily duties and movement or sport-specific movement.

Creating harmony in terms of strength, mobility and flexibility in the body makes for good quality movement and performance.  Top sports coaching always involves Pilates training for this purpose.

How do I get started with Pilates training

Contact Pilates Dynamics on: 072 999 2229 or 011 792 5459 or email us on: info@pilatesdynamics.co.za to book your first “try-out” class.

It will make you wonder why you have not started earlier.