Pilates Method

What is the Pilates Method?

The Pilates Method is a dynamic form of resistance exercise using specialized equipment with variable springs. A workout involves strengthening and stretching all of the muscle systems of the body in different movement combinations and patterns with the emphasis on range of motion, controlled movement with breath, utilization of the core muscle system, and stability of the joints.

Designed to strengthen the entire body, the Pilates method is unique in its focus on stability in the core muscles including the pelvic floor, diaphragm, lower back and abdominals. The exercises balance the body musculature so that postural alignment and coordination are improved this results in less effort and stress in movement for the spine, arms, and legs. Pilates exercises were developed from yoga, boxing, the circus, gymnastics, and dance. Attention is given to performing only 5-10 repetitions of each exercise in a precise and controlled manner with proper breathing.

Who Developed the Pilates Method?
Joeseph Hubertes Pilates was born in Mönchengladbach, Germany in 1880. His father, was a prize-winning gymnast of Greek origins and his mother who was German worked as a Naturopath. He was a sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. He was greatly influenced by holistic medicine and exercise, both of which were employed to heal him so much so that by the age of 14 he was posing for anatomical charts. In 1912 Pilates moved to England, earning a living as a boxer, circus-performer and self-defense trainer. As an Internee in Lancaster during WW 1, Joe developed a series of exercises for his fellow inmates, all performed without equipment called Mat Work. Post-war, he worked in a hospital where he developed specialized equipment by attaching springs to the beds of immobilized patients and helped facilitate their rehabilitation. In 1926, he and his future wife Clara moved to New York. Together, they worked with the physical elite including circus gymnasts, professional athletes and dancers, as well as the physically frail during post-operative recovery and injury rehabilitation. Their method, which he and Clara originally called "Contrology", related to encouraging the use of the mind to control muscles. It focuses attention on core postural muscles ( the powerhouse) that help keep the human body in balanced and provide support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, and strengthen the torso muscles, aiming to alleviate and prevent back-pain. Joe and Clara refined the method for over 50 years, developing over 500 exercises on 10 different apparatuses. Joe Pilates died of emphysema in 1967 at the age of 87; Clara Pilates continued to run the studio with Romana Kryzanowska into the 1970’s.

Principals of the Pilates Method:

  • Concentration: You engage your mind to move your limbs, stabilize your torso, and coordinate your breath. Control You control your entire body in all the movements when you work from the core with concentrated effort. Centering You connect to the power center in the lower torso and you move with a grounded body and mind, experiencing awareness throughout.
  • Flowing Movement: You move with efficiency and ease through a wide range of movement patterns performed in a fluid sequence.
  • Precision: By performing each exercise and paying attention to the form and structure, you develop the body uniformly and improve posture.
  • Breathing: The breath is co-ordinated with each movement, tension is released, your consciousness expands and you feel