What is Pilates?

Pilates is a physical fitness system composed of over 1000 variations of exercises drawn from a range of disciplines which include yoga, calisthenics, and ballet. It is generally divided into two forms – mat-based Pilates and equipment-based Pilates. Mat-based Pilates involves exercises performed on the floor using your own body weight and gravity as resistance and sometimes small props such as hand weights, balls and exercise bands. Equipment- based Pilates involves pieces of specialized equipment that use loaded springs to create resistance. 

Movements in Pilates are slow and controlled with a focus on precision, form and technique, rather than number of repetitions.

A brief history of Pilates

The system of Pilates was created in the 1920’s and subsequently named after its founder and originator, Joseph Pilates (1880-1967).  Joseph Pilates was a physical trainer and created Pilates for the purpose of rehabilitation. Indeed, some of the very first people treated by Pilates were soldiers returning from war and injured professional dancers.  Joseph Pilates came to believe that the "modern" life-style of bad posture and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of our poor health. He ultimately devised a series of exercises and training techniques and was responsible for introducing the concept of equipment-based Pilates, developing a suite of spring-loaded furniture to assist practitioners in isolating specific muscle groups. After his retirement in 1966 and death the year after, Pilates continued to be taught in its original form by Joseph Pilates’ own students which would define the ‘classical style’ of Pilates. A competing style referred to as ‘modern (or contemporary) style’ Pilates purports to integrate more modern research in physical therapy and bio-mechanics into practice, resulting in a greater number and variation of exercises. All instructors at Options Pilates Studio are trained in the contemporary method of Pilates.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

The health benefits of Pilates are plentiful and include increased muscle strength and tone, enhanced muscular control, improved posture and greater physical coordination and balance.  These benefits not only offer value in your day to day life but also in other sporting activities. Focus is placed on developing flexibility, muscle strength and muscle control and balance.  Mat-based Pilates aims to condition small stabilising muscles located deeper within the body, resulting in improved core strength, posture, balance, and coordination. Equipment-based Pilates offers more of a strength workout due to the spring-loaded tension of the machines such as the reformer, cadillac and chair.

Who can do Pilates?

The slow, controlled and safe movements make Pilates accessible for most individuals regardless of age and/or fitness level. To name a few, Pilates can benefit those who have recently had surgery, pre and post natal women, people with a pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, people with pre-existing musculoskeletal injuries or disorders and anyone who has not exercised for a long time. However, it is vitally important that anyone considering Pilates after a musculoskeletal injury or following pregnancy consult their doctor before starting to determine suitability.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to book in your private trial session with one of our certified and experienced Instructors.


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