Pilates: Road To A Balanced Body Structure

by Jamie Kibbe
Woman doing pilates with a ball

The Pilates workout routine was developed by German physical trainer, Joseph Hubertus Pilates in the 20th century.

Joseph Pilates’ father was a metal worker a gymnast while his mother was a housewife.

As a child, Joseph Pilates was sickly and he battled asthma, rheumatic fever, and rickets.

The older he got, however, the more he began to believe that factors like modern lifestyle and bad posture were responsible for poor health.

He developed a series of exercises and training techniques. He also engineered all the equipment specifications required for teaching each training routine.

The Pilates routine of physical fitness was his brainchild.

The ultimate aim of the Pilates routine is to strengthen the body evenly, with special attention paid to core strength, in a bid to improve well-being and general fitness.

The workout routine is not for building muscle mass but rather, its focus is on increasing the participant’s endurance, physical strength and flexibility.

As of 2005, over 10 million people were practicing the routine regularly with over 14,000 instructors in the United States.

In the early days, the Pilates fitness technique was referred to as Contrology and despite the fact that some claim that Joseph Pilates drew inspiration for the technique from yoga, there has been no historical evidence to support this.

Yoga group classes inside the gym

The benefits of Pilates include:

Whole Body Fitness

Unlike other routines that pay special attention to a specific region of the body, the Pilates workout technique develops the body as an integrated whole.

Pilates enhances whole-body muscle development by concentrating on core strength and full-body fitness.

The Pilates technique is favored by rehabilitation centers and professional sportsmen for this very reason. It offers a solid foundation for flexibility and an enhanced range of movement for the joints.

High Adaptability To Varying Fitness Needs And Levels

Pilates can be modified to suit different exercising scenarios. Due to its emphasis on core strength and appropriate body alignment, Pilates is readily accessible to any class of participant.

The uncomplicated foundational movements characteristic of the Pilates technique can be readily adopted by different classes of people. From Olympics athletes to the regular housewife.

Strength Without Bulk

Pilates aids in the development of long, lean muscles.

The technique does not seek to add extra muscles to the person but rather to develop toned muscles that will function perfectly according to the requirements of the body.

Pilates is credited with achieving this feat because it utilizes eccentric contractions.

Portrait of beautiful young woman doing pilate exercise with fitness ball at home.

Increased Flexibility

One of the aims of the Pilates technique is the development of a safe increase in the length of the muscles and the range of the motion of muscles within the joints.

Improved Posture

The Pilates technique shapes the body to move with the perfect blend of grace, strength, and harmony.

The resultant good posture is a product of good alignment aided by a strong core.

Improved Heart And Lung Health

Breathing exercises associated with the Pilates technique can increase the capacity of the lungs.

Also, the combined rigor of the exercise and rapid breathing causes a direct increase in the heart’s BPM and the flow of oxygen in the blood.

Increased Mental Awareness

Joseph Pilates argued that the Pilates technique he developed, then referred to as Contrology, could bring about the “complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.”

The rapt attention the slightest movement of the body garners during the execution of the Pilates technique is proof of this. The routine forces a unity of the mind and body to extract the most benefit from each exercise session.

The more popular companies for purchasing Pilates exercising equipment are Balanced Body (based in Sacramento, California), Stott Pilates (based in Canada) and Winsor Pilates (established by Los Angeles-based Pilates instructor, Mari Winsor).

Fitness. Beautiful Woman Smiling Face Enjoy Work Out with Fit Ball in Fitness - Sport and Lifestyle Concept

Equipment for executing Pilates include:

The Ladder Barrel

This device is employed for core strength and flexibility exercises.

The ladder barrel is replete with the aforementioned barrel surface and a short ladder rung.

This surface is used for the relevant exercises; stretching, strengthening and flexibility exercises.

The barrel has an adjustable base for accommodating people of varying torso sizes and leg lengths.

The device is available with a 5-year warranty on the virtual Balanced Body store.

CoreAlign

The device is advertised with a bold claim on the Balanced Body website as one that works the whole body.

The machine is designed to enhance the posture of the participant and also to develop the body’s locomotor movement.

CoreAlign was designed by Jonathan Hoffman a  physical therapist who said that CoreAlign exercises would enhance the rehabilitation of the entire musculoskeletal system by triggering the relevant core stability muscles to work in synchronization during the performance of tasking exercise routines.

Unlike other fitness routines, Pilates does not have age restrictions. It can be executed by people of different levels.

However, before embarking on the routine, it is advisable to consult a health professionalist.

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