“Pilates targets the muscles that support good posture, shoulder and pelvis stability and core strength to help you develop a much stronger, more flexible body.” Vikki
Osteopaths, physiotherapists and general practitioners recommend pilates as one of the safest forms of exercise. It can be beneficial for just about everyone regardless of age and fitness level. Many professional sportsmen and women regularly use pilates to prevent and rehabilitate injury.”
Pilates was founded by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, a series of exercises focusing on the local stabilizing muscles that lie underneath the bigger global muscles that give us definition and aesthetically look good. Without strength in these small local stabilizers, we really have no internal strength. Well-known fans of Pilates include Jennifer Aniston, Sharon Stone and Pippa Middleton.“Core exercise” is a bit of a buzz phrase at the moment but most people think that your core means your stomach and back. In fact, if you imagine no head, arms or legs, the remainder is your core.
Quite often people have back pain but it actually stems from their shoulders, an unstable pelvis or lack of strength in the gluteal muscles. So a proper initial assessment is essential to get the best from your Pilates class. Pilates gives you an awareness of your body and helps to correct forward head posture, stabilize your shoulders and develop strong pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Pilates makes you feel longer, leaner and younger. The exercises are suitable for everybody, from complete beginners and post rehabilitation to professional athletes. Many professional football and rugby clubs now have regular Pilates classes as part of their training.
Another important focus of Pilates is on breathing. Joseph Pilates dedicated part of the introduction to his book, Return to Life through Contrology, to what he called “bodily house-cleaning with blood circulation”. Full inhalation and complete exhalation are key and, as a result, dedicated Pilates practitioners can see an increase in lung capacity and circulation improvement. Pilates during pregnancy is claimed to be highly valuable and beneficial but, as with most types of exercise, it should only be performed under the instruction of a fully trained expert.
The exercises can be performed on a mat or, for more intensity or to help rehabilitation, on a reformer or Gravity Training System. The social aspect of Pilates is very important to some, which is why classes are seen as integrating the Mind, Body and Spirit.
Power pilates using the Gravity Training System is a dynamic but safe and controlled way of exercising. It dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs, whilst supporting your head, neck and spine. It is beneficial for all levels of fitness.
The Gravity Training machines for pilates gives a more intense, all-round workout, they utilise a person’s own body weight against gravity to include an element of resistance training. It’s like doing an pilates class while weight-lifting at the same time, so results are achieved more quickly.
The beauty of the system is that, because the user performs exercises lying or sitting on a moving glide board, their core strength muscles are worked while their spine is fully supported. It makes tough exercise feel easier to do and the adjustable incline means the system suits all ability levels.