Why Should You Try Pilates?February 27, 2023
Back in my 20s when I was dancing and training to be in a world-famous dance company, I had a serious injury-I tore a tendon in my right hip. I was very frightened I would never be able to continue dancing again, but luckily, I found a physical therapist who was certified in Pilates, and this is what saved my dance career. Pilates exercises work all core muscles including glutes and thighs. By strengthening the core, the body automatically is free to do other movements because the weight is lifted off of the hips and knees preventing injury and increasing motor movement. The Pilates method works the core, back, glutes, and thighs.
Joseph Pilates began this method back during World War 1 when he worked as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man where he worked with patients unable to walk. He attached springs to a bed to support patients’ legs which lead to the creation of his first Pilates apparatus called the Cadillac. He came to the US in 1926 with his wife and they began teaching their rehabilitation method in their conditioning gym in New York City which became very popular with people of all careers but particularly dancers.
Pilates created many machines to help in the strength and conditioning of the body, particularly the Reformer. In recent years many of Joseph Pilates exercises from the machines have been converted to mat exercises. The Pilates method on mat concentrates on Breath, concentration, centering, precision and flow. Pilates also improves balance, strength and flexibility. It works on creating long lean muscles rather than bulky ones. Also, the method emphasizes quality over quantity. For example, four reps done well and with correct placement is much more important than performing ten reps badly, or with incorrect technique. Of course, it is always better to do more reps with the correct technique! Deep breathing is also a large part of the Pilates method and often choreographed into the routines to enhance muscle use and of course not holding your breath during exercises.
If you want to google Joseph Pilates and other Pilates instructors you may be surprised to find the photos of their abs are particularity ripped, so Pilates has an aesthetic appeal as well. If you haven’t tried a Pilates class yet, now would be a fantastic time to start!