What is the Pilates Difference? It’s the original resistance training. Let’s explore the history and the Six Pilates Principles to learn why this exercise system is so effective.
The Pilates Method of exercise was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s and originally called “Contrology”. Joseph Pilates created this system as a rehabilitation program for prisoners of war and was credited with keeping all of them alive after a devastating flu epidemic. After the war, Mr. Pilates came to the United States and opened his studio in New York City where it became a popular way to rehabilitate dancing injuries. As its benefits spread by word of mouth so did the practice around the world. Pilates exercises are done on either on a mat on the floor or on exercise equipment developed by Joseph Pilates. The equipment used in Pilates uses spring resistance along with your body weight.
All Pilates exercises are easily modified and are adaptable for all ages and abilities
The Six Pilates Principles
These principles are the keys to a Pilates workout. The Pilates method has always emphasized quality over quantity–a key difference between Pilates and other exercise systems. Pilates exercises do not include many repetitions or heavy weights, another difference. In fact, some of the most difficult moves are performed with the lightest resistance. Performing each exercise with control and intention will accelerate your progress.
- Centering: Physically bringing the focus to the center of your body, the core/powerhouse area is between your armpits to your pelvis using the muscles of the abdomen and back. Pilates exercises are driven from your core and flow outward to the rest of your body.
- Concentration: Focusing full attention to the exercise and performing it smoothly with full commitment and intention.
- Control: Every Pilates exercise is done with complete muscular control. The Pilates method teaches that “you are in control of your body and not at its mercy”–the true meaning of “Contrology”.
- Precision: In Pilates, mind/body awareness is maintained throughout each movement. You will gain more strength from fewer precise movements than many half-hearted ones. This can carry over to your everyday life as grace and economy of motion.
- Breath: Joseph Pilates emphasized using a full breath in his exercises, especially the exhalation. Breathing in Pilates exercises comes from the posterior lateral regions–the ribcage and back, not from the upper chest or lower abdomen. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercises. Correct breathing is cleansing and invigorating. Joseph Pilates referred to the breath as the “internal shower”.
- Flow: Pilates exercise is a flowing movement from the core. Fluidity, grace, and ease are the goals for all exercises. The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and evenly flows through the body.