Pilates has its origin in Germany invented by a man named “Joseph Pilates“. Pilates is based on 9 principles which are Breathing, Concentration, Control, Centring, Flow, Precision, Postural alignment, Stamina and Relaxation. Pilates usually comes in two-forms: Mat Pilates and Reformer pilates. Reformer is bench which has other attachments for different exercise and the springs are used as the form of Resistance. Pilates differs from other modalities of physical training in certain aspects. I found the following 5 things which make it different from the rest.
- Mind-Muscle Connection
- Low Impact training
- Structural Balance
- Core centric movements
- Endless Variations
Mind-Muscle Connection – Pilates teaches you how to control various muscles in a synchronised manner while performing a movement. Most of people don’t know how to engage pelvic or core muscle to perform certain movements. Core provide stability during any limbic moments while pelvic floor provide stabilisation to the lower body movements. Without strong pelvic and core muscles there is high risk of injury due to instability. It teaches you how to execute the upper and lower body movements with proper activation of core group and pelvic floor muscles. The Breathing is an important aspect of Pilates training because if your breathing pattern is not synchronised with the movements, you are not able to activate the core and pelvic floor muscle & create stable posture to execute a movement effectively and safely. This is true for any sport where there is high force generation required with stabilisation and ability to effectively decelerate the movement in order to prevent injury such as throwing a javelin or shot put. The carry over effect of Pilates is great to sports and people having difficulty in stabilisation while executing any movement. It is being in rehabilitation phase after any injury or surgery nowadays.
Low Impact Training – Pilates is considered as a low impact training and can be used to train people from all walks of life such as elderly or children. Now it’s being used as a preferred training during any Rehab phase after injury to strengthen the muscles around the site of injury to create stabilisation of the joint. The resistance created in pilates is through springs or bands which is more likely to have less impact on joints as compared to barbells or dumbbells. Even lot of Physical therapist and Physiotherapist use Pilates as a tool to reduce the recovery time and for strengthening of muscles around the joints.
Structural Balance – Pilates is a great tool if someone is facing structural or muscular imbalances. When applied correctly under supervision of a qualified and experienced instructor one can see profound results. Most of pain and injuries occur because of muscular imbalances. Muscles work in agonist and antagonist fashion (one muscle group contracts while other muscle group relaxes) to create a movement around joints. If one muscle group becomes more stronger than the other it create imbalance in strength curves which ultimately put excessive strain on other muscle group’s structural components. The Pilates can be used safely and effectively to correct those imbalances after structural and postural assessment. Pilates use these assessments tool to create workout according to assessment results and helps to improve posture, strength, joint stability and balance in different muscle groups.
Core-Centric Movements – In Pilates all exercises are based on core activation while performing any limbic or full body movements. Core provide stabilised platform for effective movement and prevent any injury when performed at speed or with force. The Core strength, endurance and stability is required for the proper transfer of force from lower body to upper body. The Pilates does this job perfectly by teaching our body how to engage core and pelvic floor muscles while moving limbs or any movement.
Endless Variations – Pilates uses different kind of props like stability ball, head cushions, arc barrel, jump board, bands, magic circles and list is endless. It provides you the endless variation of exercises with use of one or more of props alone or in combinations. You will never get bored and will be challenged progressively by using different tools and props in pilates training. The exercises which seems easy to perform while watching someone, are actually a challenge when you do it yourself. There are progression principles to follow when doing pilates training for adaptions to occur without losing the 9 basic principles stated above.