When new clients come to me to set up a fitness regime, the first thing they ask is what is Pilates? What will it do for me? Or they might say I have back problems and heard that Pilates will help. Pilates is a form of fitness training that improves total body strength, endurance, flexibility, enhances body awareness for improved balance and coordination.
This form of fitness training was invented by Joseph Pilates in the first half of the 20th century and is now a worldwide recognized form of fitness training. Pilates require total mental focus throughout the entire workout. This concentration assists you to engage the specific muscle groups, so that your movements are smooth. Technique is extremely important in Pilates. It is not just the exercise that is important, it is how the exercise is executed so that you are getting the most benefit from the exercise in a safe manner, using the proper muscles in the most efficient way. Pilates teach you body awareness so that you are in control of your movements at all times.
You always hear about the “powerhouse” in Pilates, those are the group of muscles in the center of the body that work together to assist with the movement of the limbs. You build a strong powerhouse in Pilates which provides you with a strong foundation for total body movement. This strength then carries over into everyday life enabling you to move around more easily. Breathing is very important in Pilates. The breath is laterally directed into the rib cage so that it doesn’t negate the engagement of the abdominal muscles. This sounds difficult, but after a short time is easily adapted.
Safety is a major factor with Pilates and that’s where I come in, the instructor. It is the instructor’s job to make sure that not only the equipment you might be working with is in proper working order, more importantly to guide you the client through the exercise repertoire in a safe manner. This involves verbal cuing of the exercise, providing modifications or variations when needed, cuing of the breath, hands on correction if required. Depending on the needs of the client, Pilates can be done in a private session or small class setting.