Pilates: What is it? And Why Do I Care?
by Diane Peterson
Joseph Pilates developed a method of exercise that coordinates body, mind, and spirit. Mr. Pilates created a program, originally called Contrology, which he said, “develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit... It is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work.”
Joseph Pilates was a German national living in England when WW I broke out. He was put in an internment camp during the war. His background was in physical therapy, yoga and martial arts, so he was placed in a rehab center to work with patients. He would pull springs off of the beds to use as resistance to help is bedridden patients get stronger. This would be an early form of the Cadillac Tower and beginning of his equipment design.
After the war, he took a steamer to New York and set up shop near the ballet companies. Joseph Pilates wanted his participants to completely focus on the execution of their exercises; he wanted people to be revitalized from their workouts, especially after work. He believed real life began after one left the job and came home to their families.
The Pilates method embodies key movement and alignment principles, used in everyday activities and athletics. As a trainer, I can’t separate my Pilates self from my trainer self. These ten principles are always a part of working out. Even if my client never sets foot in a Pilates studio, I always use these principles in their program. They are:
- Core Activation
- Neutral Spine or other optimal starting position.
- Abdominal Strengthening
- Lumbopelvic Stability
- Strengthening and Mobilizing the Spine
- Scapular Stability and Mobility
- Correcting Alignment
- Release Work
To get the most out of any program, Pilates or otherwise, these principles must be implemented. Otherwise you’re not getting 100% out of your workout. And who has time to work out for an hour and not get 100% of the benefits?
I will describe in detail the 10 Pilates Principles and how the influence your personal workout program in Part Two. For now, know this. The exercises and how you perform them will increase the amount of weight you lift, decrease faulty mechanics and the injuries that come from that, and increase efficiency of movement. You can add it to your strength and cardio repertoire or use it as the complete strength component with your cardio program.
The principles behind the Ortho-Kinetics assessment, program design, and training match perfectly with Pilates. Principles 1-3 are utilized while performing the exercises. Principles 4-8 are implemented in program design. And 9-10 keep the body refreshed and recovered for future work.
There are four Ortho-Kinetics trainers who are also Pilates instructors: Loretta, Jordan, Carol, and me. Contact one of us to see how you can raise the bar on your workout.