With a strong emphasis on muscle strengthening, stretching, and balance of the core muscles, Pilates quickly became very popular among dancers and gymnasts. Today, interest in this unique fitness method spreads from professional athletes to stay-at-home moms.
As a child, Joseph Pilates suffered from respiratory diseases and rheumatic fever, which made him weak and unable to engage in strenuous activities. As he got older, his goal became to create an exercise system that would focus on the use of the mind to control the muscles. He incorporated this new methodology into his training habits with great success, and soon become an accomplished boxer, wrestler, and gymnast.
Photo: Marcin Balcerzak / 123RF Stock Photo.
Principles of Pilates
Pilates focuses attention on the core postural muscles that keep the human body balanced and provide support for the spine. It teaches breathing awareness and spinal alignment to strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles.
Pushing energy outwards from the central torso will help all the muscles of the body to function more efficiently.
You must concentrate on your entire body for smooth movements. If you concentrate while performing the exercises, you will develop a stronger awareness of your bodies’ responses.
Nothing about the Pilates method is haphazard. You have to be in control of every aspect of every movement. Once you’ve learned to control the entire body, you’ll be better able to conduct the movements.
Full inhalations and exhalations help to activate our muscles and keep us focused.
Each movement has a purpose and a place. Take time and care to be as precise with the movements as possible for better results.
The Pilates method should be performed with fluidity and grace.
Better Muscle Synergy
If you are trying to shed those extra pounds because summer is upon us, these simple exercises based on the philosophy of Pilates can be done in the comfort of your own home.
CENTERING THE SPINE (3 sets 10 reps)
Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat, arms straight by your sides and the palms of your hands downward. Draw your navel toward your spine and inhale deeply as you center your spine. Exhale and repeat
BEGINNER HUNDRED (3 sets 10 reps)
Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat, and your arms straight by your side with your palms down. Lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Pulling your chin to your chest, draw your navel toward your spine and pump your arms up and down about 12 inches as you breathe in. Repeat the same motion as you breathe out. Keep your head and shoulders up throughout the exercise.
BEGGINER TICK TOCK (3 sets 10 reps)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet raised to just above knee height. Place your arms straight out to the sides to shoulder height. Whit legs together, roll your hips to one side, almost touching the mat with your outside knee, Using your core muscles, lift your legs back to the mid-position, roll your hips to the opposite side, again almost touching the mat with your knees. Keep your knees bent and your upper body stable throughout the exercise. ■