Who wouldn’t want a strong and lean body like Wonder Woman, or a muscular frame that’s oozing with sexiness like Superman? We’d probably think their fitness secrets are cardio and weight training.
After all, what seems more intense makes for a hotter body, right? Well, wrong, because you can get that superhuman body by doing a non-impact system of exercises.
We’ll show you the insane benefits of Pilates that would have you running off to grab a mat in no time. But first, what’s the deal about Pilates? It’s just yoga. But actually no, it’s not. Here’s a simple analogy.
Yoga is similar to Pilates as Boxing is to Running.
You exert effort and work your muscles as you do these exercises. Sometimes, the method complements each other well.
You are able to develop greater boxing skills by having an awesome footwork technique and spatial positioning. You are also able to do an up-stretch easily because you are familiar with the downward dog from your yoga sessions. But that’s where the similarities end. Yoga is more spiritual, while Pilates is more from a rehabilitation standpoint.
The Principles of Pilates Explained
If you belong to the beginners’ class, there’s nothing to worry about. We can get you that dream body with Pilates. But first, you need to know the principles that govern this exercise. You know, just so you understand how they all interact with each other and how they improve your posture, develop flexibility, and strengthen your core and spine.
There are 6 principles of Pilates. Breath, concentration, center, control, precision, and flow. Come on, let’s just go over these briefly.
It is described as the “fuel of the powerhouse,” or the engine that drives Pilates. Joseph Pilates (the founder), regarded this as the keys to life itself, yet it is so often taken for granted. An understanding of the anatomy of breath can help you facilitate its use more efficiently.
Next is Concentration, which is defined as the direction of attention to a single objective. A Pilates practitioner should perform the exercises as correctly as possible, and to the extent his or her skill level will allow. To do this, you obviously need to concentrate. Interestingly, you can take a few seconds or minutes to work on your breathing pattern and the muscles that are about to be worked.
The next principle is called the Center. We know for a fact that each person is built differently, therefore, each has an “own” center of gravity. That center really affects how an exercise feels or how easy or difficult it is to execute. That’s why it’s a mistake to assume that a person is weak just because he cannot execute a particular exercise successfully. Hey, what’s easy for you may be tough for me!
In mastering any skill, it is important to have Control. If you start doing Pilates, you’ll notice that at first, it’s a bit difficult to control your body. But as your skill increases, your control becomes more refined. You’ll achieve that “better control” over time as you practice the exercise day by day, so don’t be in a hurry. Soon, you’ll be committing fewer and smaller errors (or none at all), greater coordination, greater balance and greater ability to do the exercise.
The fifth principle is Precision, and often, it is the key to distinguishing Pilates from many other exercise systems. It’s mainly defined as the “exact manner” in which an action is executed. This can make the difference between accessing a muscle or not and between achieving your (fitness or recovery) goal or not.
Last but definitely not the least is Flow. It is the smooth, uninterrupted continuity of movement. For Pilates, the flow comes from a strong center. As the movement proficiency develops through practice, each movement and each session should flow.
Is Pilates Just For Women?
Let us give you a quick fun fact. Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates (a man) — for men! Now if you’re not convinced, Joseph had a list of “occupations,” or “hobbies.” He was a diver, wrestler, bodybuilder, self-defense teacher and a professional boxer. Isn’t that manly enough for you? In fact, plenty of athletes (even men) including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Tiger Woods incorporate it into their fitness regimen because they know all about the benefits of Pilates.
It is highly recommended for everyone, and at any fitness level! Some Pilates instructors are frequented by a range of men and women from 8 years old to 80 years old, and we’re not even exaggerating! The good thing is that this exercise can be progressed or regressed to suit your needs (and pace!).
So, what do I get from doing Pilates?
There are tons of benefits you can get from doing this exercise. Once you start, we bet you can’t stop!
1. You can achieve those toned abs.
You can easily get your dream body with Pilates, and it starts with the abs! Some exercises responsible for giving you the abs include “The 100,” “Criss-Cross,” “Elephant,” and the “Swan.” While it may seem simple, they actually take a lot of precision and control. Pilates best target the core, unlike any other workout. Just count to 36 weeks starting from your first training, and you’ll see your strengthened rectus abdominis a.k.a. Six-packs!
2. You can get rid of back pain.
A strong core means a better back. That’s what Spine Health Doctor Beth Glosten, MD, assures. According to her, Pilates can assist with the neutral alignment of one’s spine, thus, strengthening deep postural muscles. Researchers believe that by stabilizing the core’s lower back region, stress is alleviated. That is all thanks to Pilates!
3. You’re up for many rounds with your partner.
The moves and practices exercised in Pilates strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which is surely evident when getting kinky with your partner in the bedroom. Some Pilates instructors even say that you can have better orgasms with Pilates, because it’s that amazing for sex. It makes you stronger and more flexible. Not just that! It’s also a way for you to feel more confident about your body.
4. You can be a better athlete.
By simply incorporating Pilates into your daily (or even weekly) workouts, you’ll be rewarded with 3 key advantages. Specifically, it includes reducing the frequency and severity of injuries, increased body controls (and awareness of which muscles are working), and increased power output or powerful movements even from a position of instability.
5. You are also doing a mind workout.
Pilates is called a “thinking man’s exercise.” By doing training for weeks, you can increase your brain’s alpha peak power and improve memory performance and other cognitive functions. Enough said, right? Not really, there are more benefits of Pilates waiting to be discovered!
6. You can achieve your dream body in a gentle and safe way.
In Pilates, many of the exercises performed are in reclining or sitting positions. It is relaxing in its own way because it has a low impact and is partially weight bearing. This is one of the main reasons why this exercise is being practiced in many physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries.
7. You can improve your posture in an instant.
Just with a mat and the willingness to do Pilates, you can achieve that beautiful posture you badly wanted. Good posture is a reflection of the good alignment of your spine, which is supported by a strong core. We can connect the dots for you, but we bet you already know the amazing-ness of Pilates.
8. You can trim that extra inch off your waistline.
Regular practice pays off. Pilates is known for creating long and strong muscles, balancing musculature, and giving a leaner look. Just see for yourself. After a few training, you’d be losing weight and looking fit both at the same time. Of course, it needs to be combined with a healthy diet (not fasting), and you can enjoy doing the exercise as a prime weight loss and body toning tool.
9. You can enjoy the improvements in overall health and well-being.
From the toned abs to better flexibility, athletic performance, increased body controls and healthy mind workout, the benefits of Pilates seem to go on and on, proving that it is a mind and body exercise. There’s nothing to lose in trying this, don’t you think?
Now that you’ve learned all about the benefits of Pilates, doesn’t that make you want to start doing it now? You’re just a training away from that sexy and superhuman bod.