Wednesday, April 18

Principles of Pilates II


Every movement in the Pilates method has a purpose. Every instruction is vitally important to the success of the whole. To leave out any detail is to forsake the intrinsic value of the exercise. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. Eventually this precision becomes second nature, and carries over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.


Pilates mat exercises are supposed to be performed fluidly. There are no static, isolated movements. Concentration and body awareness replaces the quick, jerky movements of other exercise regimes. Grace of motion is emphasized over speed; ultimately the movements are meant to feel as fluid as a long stride or a waltz. Uniformly developed muscles are then developed to complement good posture, suppleness, and natural grace. However, with the usage of the apparatus, clients will need to take at least some time to adjust their equipment settings and props.


Because of the extensive and expensive education that most Pilates instructors must complete, plus studio rentals and equipment, instruction can be costly. It is possible for the method to be taught in a class setting, but this will not allow an instructor to take the individual students personalized needs into consideration. Ideally new trainees will be given close, personally tailored supervision until they develop sufficient knowledge to continue their training in a class or group.

In recent years the term "Pilates" worked itself into the mainstream, and following an unsuccessful intellectual property lawsuit, a US federal court ruled the term "Pilates" generic and free for unrestricted use. Whilst this ruling prevented artificial restrictions on the use of the term "Pilates" by legitimate, qualified Pilates trainers, it also permitted a small number of untrained or under-qualified practitioners to capitalise on the name. Consumers now face extensive and conflicting information about what Pilates really is, how it works, and what credentials they should seek in an instructor.

Another less obvious drawback to Pilates is that while it can tone the rectus and transverse abdominis muscles, when performed wrongly or too often, certain of the exercises can also cause over-development in the external and internal oblique muscles of the abdomen, resulting in a flat stomach and a thick waist. This is because much of Pilates is practiced through extension with the torso moving in a linear, forward fashion.

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