Everything learned in Pilates can be translated to a higher quality of work outs including proper form, more efficient movement, more power, and less pain. Plus, its a chance to shake things up in your routine and learn something new!
Pilates builds and strengthens the core
Your core muscles play a critical role in every movement that you do, whether it’s working out, playing sports, getting out of bed, or taking food out of the oven. Most importantly, they literally keep you upright! The core muscles connect your upper and lower body so no matter where the motion starts, it transfers up and down through the core. If these muscles are weak it can impair the motions of the arms and legs. With improved core strength, you can improve the power behind your extremities. This will translate to better work outs, support better posture, and provide ease and efficiency of motion throughout your daily life. Pilates uses ALL of the abdominal muscles, not just the outer layer that are targeted during sit ups. True core muscles are much deeper and extend all the way around and to the lower back. Pilates will teach you how to use all of them effectively.
Pilates lengthens and strengthens the muscles creating a longer, taller look.
Traditional resistance programs often builds short and bulky muscles. This is due to a higher repetition range of weight-bearing activity and focus on the concentric contraction of the exercise. Pilates focuses on the quality of the movement versus quantity and pays more attention to the eccentric muscle contraction. The eccentric contraction is the “release” part of a moment, such as lowering a weight to its starting position. In Pilates, you create resistance by actually using your muscles instead of using momentum. At times, you are almost playing tug of war with your own body while you stretch and strengthen the muscles simultaneously creating the lengthening effect. Don’t let the low repetitions fool you into thinking Pilates is easy. Each exercise contains 5-10 reps of controlled, high quality movement and immediately moves on to the next exercise without rest time to develop strength and precision without bulk.
Pilates can assist in injury prevention and in rehabilitation
Most injuries are caused by muscle imbalances, muscle weakness, improper movement patterns, and hindered ranges of motion. When a physical therapist addresses these issues they focus on posture awareness, body alignment, muscle movement, motor development, and improving core strength. All of these concepts are essential in Pilates exercises. Individuals with greater core strength and body awareness have better dynamic control over their movements and reactions and thus less likely to sustain injury.
Injured individuals can partake in Pilates as it is a low impact form of exercise and can be modified to any level or area of concern. Slow, controlled movements are emphasized in Pilates which allows an injured person to safely build back strength and range of motion.
Pilates enhances your focus and concentration
Pilates practice is not the time for a wandering mind. Concentration is one of the six Principles of Pilates laid out by Joseph Pilates. Moving with control, precision and strict attention to the working muscles while coordinating breath requires a high degree of focus. This level of mindfulness translates into every day life with the increased ability to act with awareness as opposed to autopilot-like responses. Your
Pilates teaches you how to breathe more efficiently and effectively
There are three types of breathing practiced in Pilates including Lateral Breathing, Set Breath Patterns, and Active Breathing. Lateral Breathing differs from diaphragmatic breathing as it allows emphasizes lateral expansion of the rib cage while maintaining a consistent inward pull of the deep abdominal muscles during both inhalation and exhalation. This keeps your core engaged and working at all times through the exercises.
Set Breathing Patterns prevent you from holding your breath which could dangerously increase blood pressure and create excessive muscle tension. Breathing patterns can also influence muscle recruitment in a given exercise such as the deeper core muscles.
Active Breathing dramatically influences the dynamic and intensity of an exercise. It also helps target active muscles and produces higher energy as it contracts the abdominals in stages.
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Love and light,