Pilates is a method of movement training invented by Joseph H. Pilates in the 1920s that continues to evolve today as an effective exercise to achieve uniform development of the body. Pilates is a core strengthening exercise
that delivers ideal posture. The Pilates Method is designed to lengthen and strengthen you at the same time. By unloading the spine from gravity and cleansing the body with breath, one leaves a Pilates session feeling longer, stronger, and more balanced.
Pilates energizes you as you exercise. Pilates is performed on spring-resistance equipment as well as on the mat, with just your body weight and gravity as resistance. The mat work is a great barometer for how in shape you are!
In his book Return to Life Through Contrology (1945), Joseph Pilates notably said: “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”
This means maintaining a flexible and strong spine will keep you young! The spring equipment encourages your muscles to create connections between them, achieving not only stronger muscles but also stronger tendons and ligaments, and may even increase bone density. The goldilocks resistance of the equipment (not too hard, not too easy) qualifies for strength training and can build bone density, yet it is a low-impact exercise without the side effects of fatigue or soreness.
Pilates equipment is specially designed to give you biofeedback of where your bones are in space and will train your fascial connective tissue to embody proper postural alignment. While training with a comprehensively trained and certified instructor, you will learn how to move efficiently with support from your core.
Train smarter, not harder. You will be able to pick up heavy items such as luggage, groceries, or grandkids without the fear of hurting your back. You will also decrease your risk of injury and falling, enabling you to age gracefully.
Pilates is a functional movement. By training your mind to synchronize with your core and adopt correct movement patterns, your body will automatically make better movement decisions and go through your daily life with grace.
Pilates is the best cross-training ever for improving your sport. Since Pilates is full-body training, your smaller core muscles strengthen to balance your coordination in addition to engaging the larger big-muscle movers. As a result, your golf swing becomes more accurate and powerful, your tennis serve becomes faster, your soccer kick more swift, and your basketball jump higher. You will be able to achieve that triathlon or marathon you want to participate in without suffering from overtraining in one plane of movement and repetitive movement stress.
The Pilates method is recommended once a week for fitness maintenance, twice a week to get changes in your fitness, three times a week for three months for a complete overhaul of your fitness, and four times a week for a pro-Pilates body of optimal fitness.
Photoshoot by Matt Debruycker, 2018 courtesy of Epic Pilates Studio, McLean and The Pilates Center of Rockville. Images copyright Insight Pilates, LLC.