It's a common
misconception that Pilates method exercise is
really only good for strengthening and
stretching the core muscles of the body. Many
people use it to tone their abs and improve
their posture but, in reality, Pilates can do
much more than that. In fact, when combined with
an aerobic “cardio” exercise component (e.g.,
jogging or Spinning) Pilates can provide you
with a fantastic full-body conditioning workout!
Pilates Exercises for
Many Pilates exercises are
great muscle-toners that work large muscle
groups beyond just the abs and lower back. The
Plank position, for example, effectively works
the chest and triceps muscle groups. Leg kicks
work the glute and hamstring muscles very well.
Free squats are one of the best lower-body
exercises around, working the quadriceps, the
hamstrings, and the glutes. And don't think
these are “sissy” strength-training exercises.
Many of the world's top martial artists practice
them on a daily basis to toughen their bodies
and reduce the chance of getting hurt.
When it comes to workout
equipment, it's hard to beat Pilates devices
like the Reformer and Wunda chair. Not only do
they stretch and strengthen muscles –- providing
great full-body conditioning -- but they “teach”
you how to use the different parts of your body
together efficiently. Efficient body movement is
a key to great overall fitness, injury
prevention, and high-level sports performance.
Portable Pilates equipment like resistance bands
and the Pilates circle are also effective
fitness tools. They're inexpensive, easy to
travel with, and can easily be incorporated into
many of your current muscle-conditioning
routines for increased benefits.
The muscle-control and
mental-focus gained from doing Pilates on a
regular basis can help you in all areas of
fitness. This is one reason why so many
professional athletes are now taking Pilates
classes. Few exercise system help you to
coordinate your mind and body as well as
Pilates. The benefits of this coordination are
increased strength, improved posture,
alleviation of pain, improved mental focus, and
(obviously) improved physical coordination... to
name just a few!
Putting It All Together
Simply put, Pilates
exercise is a highly-effective method of
total-body conditioning. No, it won't put slabs
of new muscle on your body. But it will make the
muscle you have look great, while providing an
array of benefits that typical weight-training
can't give you. Throw in some good cardio
training and you've got a complete solution for
great fitness and health!