Joseph Pilates Method has become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s essentially a system of exercises that focus on improving your flexibility, strength, and body awareness, without necessarily building bulk. Pilates is a resistance exercise, which means it’s more similar to strength training than aerobic activities. It’s also a very low-impact workout method, so it’s a great option if you’re recovering from an injury.
The History of Pilates
A physical trainer named Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method of exercise in the 1920s. He originally designed pilates to help patients rehabilitate and recover from injuries during World War I. When you do pilates, you’ll focus on controlling your mind, body, and spirit. Joseph Pilates called this concentrated focus “Contrology,” or the science of control.
What to Expect in a Pilates Session
During a Pilates session, you’ll focus on your core muscle strength and spinal alignment. Your core musculature is loosely defined as your spine, abdomen, pelvis, and hips, and the muscles that support these structures. Some of your main core muscles are your:
- erector spine, which is located in your back along your spine
- internal and external obliques, which are along the sides of your abdomen
- transverse abdominis, which is located deep in your gut—this muscle pulls your belly button in toward your spine
- rectus abdominis, also known as your six-pack
- hip flexors, which are in your pelvis and upper legs
Some of the Health Benefits of Joseph Pilates Methods
In pilates, you’ll do a series of controlled movements to work each of these muscle groups. There’s a variety of specially designed spring-resistant exercise equipment that you might use in your pilates session. But, you can also practice many of these movements on the floor at home. You just need a yoga mat! Some of the most common moves that you may do are the Reformer, the Ladder Barrel, the Cadillac, the Spine Corrector, and the Wunda Chair.
During a Pilates session, whether it’s on the machines or the floor, you’ll focus primarily on strengthening your core muscles. But, you’ll also focus on your breathing, muscle contractions, and the quality—not the quantity—of your movements.