About Pilates and The Many Healthy Benefits Pilates Offers
Pilates has become an extremely popular form of exercise and for very good reasons, it works to strengthen, lengthen, align and tone our bodies and much more! About Pilates and The Many Healthy Benefits Pilates Offers is an introduction to pilates and what it can do for our health.
It is something I have personally been practicing for many years and at the age of 45 I am finding it more beneficial than ever.
I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Jenni Guest, the President of the Pilates Alliance of Australasia. Read on and find out all you ever wanted to know about Pilates.
An Introduction To Pilates
by Jenni Guest
Physiotherapist and Pilates Practitioner, Smart Health Training and Services. President of the Pilates Alliance of Australasia
What is Pilates?
Pilates, or Contrology, is a form of exercise, utilising the principal of breath and activation of the core group of muscles (Diaphragm, Transverse Abdominis, Pelvic Floor Muscles and Multifidus)
Contrology is a complete coordination of body, mind and spirit (Return to life through Contrology, Pilates, JH)
How many variant forms of Pilates are there?
Historically, Joseph and Clara Pilates taught 8 key disciples, whom learned the exercise art and teaching format from the pair.
Each disciple learned repetoire and emphasis according to their own physical needs. In turn, these disciples became teachers of the technique, and went forth to teach others. The Pilates Family Tree, so to speak, grew from there with variants of the method now being taught around the world. A true variant form of Pilates, must come from a direct lineage to the elders, following the principals, repetoire and choreography of that specific line. In the modern day, Pilates follows an authentic form or a clinical rehabilitative form.
How long does it take to become a certified Pilates instructor?
To achieve your Diploma in Pilates Instruction, you must enroll with one of the Registered Training Organisations of Pilates.
The part time course will take approximately 18 months to complete with 666 Nominal hours and an additional 1280 hours of logbook assignments, observation, practice and apprentice teaching. There will be a series of written assignments and case studies through this time, in order to enhance learning, and concludes with a theory and practical exam for each component. The Diploma level of education covers the matwork and all apparatus repertoire, as well as programming, client screening, working with pathologies and business and scope of practice modules.
What is the difference between floor work and reformer work?
Floor work is Pilates exercise on the mat and is commonly performed in a class format, but can also be presented as an individual rehabilitation program.
Floor work utilises the resistance of gravity both concentrically and eccentrically, as well as the small props such as the magic circle, theraband, rotator disc, chi balls, gym balls, springs, foam rollers and wobble boards.
Joseph Pilates held approximately 67 mat work exercises in his traditional repertoire. Each of these exercises are taught with progressions and regressions to allow an individual to work within their physical limits and perform safely and efficiently.
The reformer is one of the traditional pieces of equipment created by Joseph Pilates. It has a lay down bed that glides along carriage runners with a resistance provided by springs. The Reformer provides either resistance or assistance with the variance in spring tension. Many different exercises can be performed on the reformer utilising all muscle groups across all planes of movement and variants in base of support.
Individuals can attend a reformer class, somewhat like a mat class where everyone follows the same exercises, but more commonly we see the reformer utilised with the other pieces of traditional equipment (Trapeze Table, Wunda Chair, Ladder Barrel, Pedapull, spine corrector) in a more individualised program setting.
I could not really say if one was harder than the other, as both have a number of variations and adjuncts that are utilised to assist or resist a client and provide any person with the correct challenge for their individual needs
What benefits does Pilates have?
Pilates exercise works on the core group of muscles aiming for them to work ”as much as necessary as little as possible” (JH Pilates).
Its key benefit is coordinating the use of the body, mind and spirit to become balanced and stable throughout.
Once the core muscle group is working efficiently, the exercises progress to work the global muscles in a coordinated sequenced manner. Pilates improves respiration, circulation, lymphatic drainage and muscular coordination. In achieving this, one gains postural strength and endurance, improved coordination, balance and skeletal stabilisation. Pilates improves flexibility and the sequenced coordination of muscle groups within our body. In doing this we gain symmetry and muscle balance, thus preventing injury or the development of abnormal movement patterns. Although Pilates is based on a series of movement exercises, it’s aim is to create life changes and good habits; effects lasting beyond the time spent in class.
Is Pilates safe for everyone
Pilates is definitely safe for everyone.
A Diploma level instructor will be able to modify for any given pathology or injury. Pilates is of for the young and old, novice to elite level mover, female and male, beginner to advanced. This is the fantastic point about this form of exercise. It can be adapted so to allow for any individual to gain the maximum benefit for their individual needs.
Who founded Pilates
Pilates, previously known as Contrology, was developed by Joseph H Pilates, a German man born in 1880.
In his youth Joseph suffered from Polio, Asthma and Rickets. He was a sickly child, whom through circumstance took it upon himself to study about health and well being. He volunteered at Medical Schools and gained knowledge listening to the Professors whilst posing as a model. He studied the movement patterns in animals, observing that they recovered quickly from injury. He studied boxing, gymnastics, and forms of Martial Art. Collectively developed an exercise method that focused on Breathe, Whole Body Health and Whole Body Commitment (Your Health; Pilates, JH.) Post World War Two, Joseph moved to the United States. On this journey he met a nurse Clara, whom shared his philosophies. They married and started their Studio in the same building as the New York City Ballet. This is where Pilates is often associated with dance, but that is purely because in the early days it were the dancers who attended the Fifth Avenue Studio more so. As well as treating clients, Joseph began to officially teach disciples the method and thus The Pilates Method was begun. To this day, his works continue in both authentic forms and also rehabilitative clinical forms.
Since Joseph’s passing in 1967, the method was renamed The Pilates Method. In recent times academics have begun research in the use and importance of the core group of muscles in supporting the lumbar spine and coordination between those individuals with back pain and no back pain.(Professor Paul Hodges, Dr. Steve Saunders, QUT 1996). Joseph’s works continue to be developed, researched and validated in clinical based research.
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