by diane g. | certified instructor, trainer | pilates by design
Think you can't get in shape if you don't sweat bullets while you're doing it, right? Wrong! Truth is you want to work Smart, Not Hard...and Pilates is one of the most comprehensive & intense exercise forms out there that will give you astounding results without feeling HARD. There are the Nine principle reasons why this is true... based on founder Joseph Pilates' teachings. All of these principles should be incorporated into a well designed and instructed Pilates workout. Plus, because Pilates is not HARD in the classical, sweaty sense of the word, you'll actually enjoy the refreshed and relax feeling afterwards and look forward to the next session. And what that means is that practicing Pilates will be something that you'll want to stick to.
9 PRINCIPLES OF PILATES
Mindful movement- Concentrating on what is being done as you move and control your body so your are not just performing tasks...you are an active participant. Concentrating on the quality of the movement not the quantity, i.e. “ten reps.. Practice produces “muscle memory” results over time as patterns of movement are repeated and the brain relearns and creates new neuro-pathways. Practice does not make perfect if the exercise is poorly performed. “Practice makes permanent”.
Relaxation - Controlled movements and deep breathing lead to calmness and centering. After a Pilates you will feel refreshed and relaxed at the end of the workout...not exhausted.
Postural Alignment - Ideal posture is essential for health in general, not only joints and muscles. Poor posture leads to pain, accelerated wear and tear, muscular imbalance and energy drain. Pilates work is towards a postural ideal so that muscles will learn to support a balanced, natural posture as we were all intended to have.
Stamina - Flow of exercises from one to the other, similar to circuit training, requires endurance. Sustaining the Core connection and proper alignment requires stamina that will improve over time.
Core - The components of the Core (Transverse Abdominis , Pelvic Floor, Diaphragm and Multifidus muscles) act as stabilizers for the rest of the body; body movement and muscle contractions will be impaired when these components are weak. The Core is the primary focus above the movements of the extremities in Pilates. That the work is from the “inside out”.
Pilates is different from other exercise forms because of its focus on eccentric exercises that strengthen while muscles are lengthening. Pilates accesses the slow twitch fibers of muscles or stabilizers which are largely untrained and difficult to control. Accessing these muscle fibers, which are closest to the bone, has many benefits including increased bone density and assisting & providing a base for the Strength muscle fibers (which are responsible for movement, and activities like sprinting, power lifting, and body building.)
Breathing - important since the diaphragm is involved in the Core. Breathing changes posture because it puts pressure on the entire thorax.
Balance- connection between alignment and balance...when alignment is right, sense of balance is stronger. Balance work activates the small twitch fibers of muscles that support the base for Strength muscle fibers and help those muscles do their job better.
Form/Control - Intention and Attention...help focus the mind on all the principals. You participate in the work, not just do a task. This focus achieves results by making the work more interesting and involving.
Flow - Dynamic movement from one into the next - without long rests in between works out the entire body. Focus on grace and fluidity. “Beautiful movements make beautiful muscles”.