Pilates is a form of exercise originally developed in the 1930s but has exploded into the main stream over the last 10 years to become one of the most popular and accessible ways to keep your body strong. Pilates helps flatten, tone and strengthen your abdominals and gives you longer, leaner muscles. Pilates provides a long streamlined body shape due to its amazing focus on strengthening muscles in their lengthened and stretched out positions. Pilates can also help improve posture by bringing balance back to the muscles in the chest/upper back and the abs, back and hips and help realign and restore proper posture.
Another benefit of pilates is injury prevention. By incorporating pilates into your regular training program, you will be able to lengthen tight muscles, improve range of motion and injury proof your body. Rehabilitation from injury using pilates is also ideal because the exercises are non impact, low resistance and gentle on the joints. It creates greater balance, strength and flexibility: The unique combination of stretching and strengthening exercises improves muscle tone and creates greater balance of muscle groups throughout the body.
Pilates is practiced in one of two ways: using larger apparatus based on a system using springs for resistance such as the Reformer, Stability Chair and Cadillac or as a free body exercises using only a mat or small equipment such as toning weights, flex bands, flex balls, fitness circles and much more!
There are numerous benefits to Pilates and they can all be realized in a mat class- you don’t need to use the larger apparatus to see results. Mat classes can vary in difficulty or focus. For example, you can have a class using a BOSU ball and toning weights to really target your core muscles while providing a cardiovascular component and leg strengthening – think running, jumping or squatting on a BOSU ball. You can design a mat class to focus more on the stretch element and incorporate gentle core exercises for people with back issues. Class design options are unlimited!
Another great benefit of pilates is the ability to enhance athletic performance, more and more professional and amateur athletes alike are turning to pilates for the core strength, increased flexibility and create greater body awareness required to give them the upper edge. By using stability, medicine or BOSU balls, you can really give your core a major challenge while incorporating all the principles of pilates.
By incorporating smaller pieces of equipment in a pilates mat class you can challenge your body in different and creative ways. The possibilities are endless!!