Friday, March 09, 2007

Pilates for Strong Core Muscles and Lean Body

Pilates has been gaining popularity in recent years in yoga studios, health clubs and fitness centers. About ten million Americans have tried Pilates approach. Some people have tried it to help relieve their back pain or stress. Some others want to have dancers' long and lean body. Some facts about Pilates:

  • Pilates was developed by Joseph H. Pilates prior to World War I to help injured soldiers regain their mobility.
  • Joseph Pilates developed hundreds of exercises to be performed on resistance-spring contraptions such as the Reformer and the Tower.
  • The principles of Pilates are all about mind, breathing, centering, control, precision and fluidity.
  • "Mat Pilates" moves are developed based on exercises performed on the floor without any apparatus.
  • The dynamic sequencing movements benefit the whole body, in particular target the core muscles. The goal is to stabilize the body and improve strength, flexibility, balance, posture and alignment.
  • Pilates movements are performed with concentration with focus on a specific "imprint" breathing method.

When working with Pilates movements, you'll almost work on every muscle group directly or indirectly with an emphasis on balance and strengthenging of core muscles (abdomen, back and buttocks). It's more than just physical movements. You'll learn proper breathing, posture and positioning.

The unique Pilates "imprint" breathing creates body &mind connections and make the core movements much more effective. You'll learn how to activate and engage your "transverse abdominus" - the very inner layer of your core muscles that acts an safety belt around your waist to protect your core.

Pilates can help you build a well-around balanced fitness training program. Want your six pack abs to show? Give it a try as part of your complementary cross training program for improving strength and flexibility.

Resources:
Pilates Method Alliance
Stott Pilates
Winsor Pilate
AFAA - Practical Pilates (TM)

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