What is Pilates and what does it do?

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a very popular training form developed Pilatesby Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. At the core of Pilates are movements and postures that activate deeper muscles and lets them work together in better unison, the so called muscle chains. The original training method was specially developed for well trained, professional dancers. Current Pilates classes however are better suited for the average gym visitor.

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is a very effective training form and has several very important benefits.

It strengthens the core muscles

Practically all Pilates exercises require stabilization of the spine and therefore it is a very effective method to strengthen the core muscles. This is not only important to show of your abdominal muscles, but is useful in most daily tasks and other sports and exercises as well.

It increases flexibility

Flexibility of the body depends for a large part on how well muscles work together and their ability to stabilize the joints. If a joint can’t be stabilized in a certain position, the muscles will stiffen to prevent the body from reaching that position. When properly exercised and when they can work together sufficiently well, the joints can be stabilized in a larger range of motion which helps increasing flexibility.

It improves coordination and balance

Pilates exercises target many muscle groups at the same time which improves their ability to co-operate during difficult movements. This leads to more efficient and less jerky movements. This in addition to enhanced proprioception, also known as ability to sense the position of the body, leads to improvements in balance.

It decreases low back pain

Pilates exercises target the deeper core musculature and therefore help stabilize the lower back and the pelvis. Strengthening these muscles increases joint stability and therefore decreases low back pain considerably. It is therefore an effective method to help treat a specific low back pain.