The Pilates Workout & Exercises

by Lieu
March 10th 2004

You will find that everyone is doing Pilates - from Hollywood celebrities to your next door neighbour.

Pilates is a fast growing phenomenon that's destined to stick around. Pilates is also an acronym for Proximal Integrating Latent Agile Toning Exercise. Pilates is not just a form of exercise, it is a method of stretching and strengthening your body.

Although Pilates is a physical activity, it is not a cardiovascular workout. You will not have to worry about over exerting yourself. By that token, Pilates can still be quite strenuous. Pilates exercises is a systematic practice which is designed to develop your body’s core through balancing, stretching, strengthening and breathing.

It is recommended that you take Pilates in addition to aerobic workouts and resistance training.

The History of Pilates

Pilates was the brainchild of Joseph H. Pilates, a German who was born in 1880. During WWI, Joseph Pilates was an intern at an English hospital. Joseph Pilates observed that the injured soldiers, who were confined to their beds, could not exercise. So Joseph Pilates created a machine (out of old hospital beds and springs) and designed a method of exercise which would assist the soldiers in rehabilitation get stronger and regain their strength.

In 1926, he moved to New York and brought along this method of exercise, which he termed ‘Pilates’. Since Pilates was introduced, it has appeared everywhere from ballet schools to the local gym.

How Does Pilates Work?

Pilates works by combining breathing techniques with special stretches and a machine. It is a method of exercise which focuses on improving the body’s core by making the body more flexible and stronger.

It is more dynamic than Yoga because it pushes the body through stretching and targets flexibility, posture and strength.

By using the Pilates machine, individuals have to go through systematic moves, whilst holding their torsos in place and moving their limbs in different directions. This movement challenges the individual’s balance, strength and flexibility.

The Benefits of Pilates

The benefits of Pilates are noticeable and a lot of Pilates fans have reported that by doing regular Pilates classes, their bodies are toner, well balanced and stronger.

After a Pilates workout, individuals instantly feel the difference in their abs, backs and legs. Other associated benefits to Pilates are weight loss, increased energy levels and a general sense of well being. Pilates is gentle and very effective.

Pilates is an ideal workout for athletes recovering from injury, older people who may not have the capacity to do strenuous exercise, or pregnant women. Generally, Pilates is a great supplement to any exercise routine.

The Benefits:

  • Assists in aligning your body
  • Helps in rehabilitation of injuries
  • A great work out for abdominals, really targeting on this area.
  • Streches and strengthens the body
  • When modified, Pilates is great form of exercise for pregnant women
  • Weight loss
  • Well being
  • Increased energy levels.

Pilates Exercises

Below are some simple pilates exercises, to learn more about pilates and pilates exercises please visit our forum. A big thankyou to our members for contributing.

The Ballerina Arms

  1. Sit cross-legged
  2. Straighten the spine as though resting against an imaginery wall
  3. Bend the elbows at a 90 degree angle to protect the shoulder in its socket
  4. Take the arms back (without hiper extending) to connect the shoulder blades (works the rhomboids)
  5. Take the arms down so the shoulder blades slide down your spine
  6. Raise the bent arms above your head (as a ballerina would-hence the name of the exercise)
  7. And end with arms as first started in front of you

Do a repetition of 3 every day and in one week you will see a major difference in how you walk and sit with a more longated spine.

The Roll Up

  1. Lie on your back with legs straight and arms stretched above your head, shoulders down.
  2. Keeping your back flat on the floor, slowly lift your arms toward the ceiling as you breathe in.
  3. As you breathe out, slowly roll forward, peeling your spine off the mat. Head remains straight, eyes focused forward. Stomach remains taut, not crunched.
  4. Breathing in again, stretch out over your legs. Breathing out, slowly roll back down to the floor.
  5. Do not pause, but as you breathe in roll up again, to begin the second repetition. Do 10 repetitions.