If you have ever entered a Pilates studio, you might have noticed the most basic workout exercises being performed in the most glorified manner, and said to yourself, “This is something I can do.” or perhaps, “This doesn’t look like something I can do at all.” Well, before you come to a conclusion about whether, or not, this workout is meant for you, here are some basic guidelines to help you make an informed decision about trying this hugely popular form of workout that’s been gaining popularity by the minute.
What is Pilates?
Pilates (pronounced as puh-la-teez) is a mundane yet ethereal, simple yet complex form of workout which has been around since the beginning of the last century. It is one of the most sought after forms of exercises today.
Pilates is named after the German Physical fitness specialist, Joseph Pilates, who had originally developed the exercise system with the hope to strengthen the mind and body. Just as Yoga, Pilates, too, requires a considerable amount of focus and concentration.
Aside from the fact that Pilates comprises of a number of original movements, a few of the techniques are borrowed from yoga, dance, and gymnastics. Originally, the workout was introduced as a series of mat exercises designed for abdominal strength and body control. As time lapsed, equipment was introduced to enhance exercise results, and further on, strengthen the muscles and joints.
The Powerhouse Muscles
The abdominal muscles, the butt, back and inner thigh muscles, when working together, constitute the powerhouse that protects the back from injury. In case of a weak or problematic back, strengthening the powerhouse is essential to help alleviate the problem.
The Six Essential Principles of Pilates
Stated below, are the essential principles of Pilates that were distilled from the famous works of Joseph Pilates.
Physically bringing the focus to the center of the body.
Since all Pilates exercises are done keeping the deep abdominal muscles engaged to ensure proper centering, the ultimate and most essential cue of the practice is to pull the navel inward, towards the spine. In other words, pull the belly in.
The ability to keep a part of the body still while another part of the body is challenging it.
For example, maintaining stillness in the spine as the arms or legs are in motion requires stability of the torso, which is mainly accomplished by the abdominal muscles. Thus, one must pull the belly in to stabilize the ribcage so it does not rise up when raising the arms or legs.
Focusing on the exercise helps maximize the benefits from each movement.
Focus, while working on each part of the body, helps in the better alignment of the posture, assists in the correct form of breathwork and thus, helps keep the eye on the prize.
Slow and steady control is the key to performing all exercises in order to maximize results.
Pilates is a conscious, deliberate movement based on focus, thus, controlling the pace of the exercise helps better target the muscles and areas of the body being worked on.
As most of the exercises coordinate with breathwork, breathing correctly is an essential part of the exercise.
While practicing Pilates, one must remember to breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling to the maximum the body permits.
Each movement should be slow and graceful.
The fluidity, grace and ease with which the exercises are performed makes the energy flow evenly through the body.
How often should one practice Pilates?
While the minimum weekly recommended schedule for taking up Pilates at the beginners’ level would be 20-40 minutes, three times a week, we must keep in mind that each person responds to a workout in their own, unique way. What works for one might fail to work for another. Thus, listening to the body and adapting to its wants and needs should be of utmost importance.
It might take a while to get accustomed to a new form of workout, but once you do, a tremendous body transformation is what you can look forward to. So, if you think you are up for a fun-filled, challenging-yet-exciting workout, reach us right away. Our effortlessly knowledgeable, well-trained and highly professional trainers at Wellintra are here to guide you through every step of the fitness way. Remember to forget your setbacks and any qualms related to exploring a new workout and leave your well-being to our exceptionally skilled trainers.