Developed in the 1920s by the legendary
physical trainer and founder of the Pilates Studio ,
Joseph H. Pilates, The Pilates Method is an exercise
system focused on improving flexibility and strength
for the total body without building bulk. Pilates is
a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage
the mind and condition the total body. It is a balanced
blend of strength and flexibility training that improves
posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles
without bulking up.
The focus in Pilates is on quality
of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel
invigorated rather than exhausted after a session. Pilates
takes a balanced approach so that no muscle group is
overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic
system in sport and daily activity. Pilates works several
muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous
motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening
and stabilizing the core (the abdomen, back and pelvic
girdle region, sometimes referred to as the "powerhouse").
Some Pilates exercises are performed on specialized
including the Pilates Reformer, Cadillac and Ladder
Barrel, but the basic system can be done on a standard
floor mat. Small accessories including balls, bands
and rings can be added to the repertoire for more variety.
Ideally, Pilates is practiced in a Pilates studio under
the careful supervision of a certified Pilates instructor,
either one-on-one or in small group sessions. There
are also plenty of Pilates videos
on the market.
Mari Winsor's unique Winsor Pilates program
is designed to tone and sculpt your entire body and
help you lose
weight, all while giving you a low-intensity, calorie-burning
workout. Winsor Pilates has been purchased by over 4
million people worldwide - from people like you and
me to celebrities who can afford to go anywhere, but
choose Winsor Pilates to get fit fast. The key is Mari
Winsor's dynamic sequencing technique - an easy to understand
combination of exercises done in a specific order and
rhythm to produce maximum results! Unlike some fitness
programs, Winsor Pilates does not require any equipment
and can be done at home or while traveling. Some people
even practice it at work!
- Improve strength, flexibility and balance.
- Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk.
- Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the
- Engage the mind and enhance body awareness.
- Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy through
- Restore postural alignment.
- Create a stronger, more flexible spine.
- Promote recovery from strain or injury.
- Improve circulation.
- Improve the way your body looks and feels.
Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat,
with literally hundreds of beginner to advanced moves.
However, there are five major pieces of specialized
Pilates equipment - plus a few smaller accessories -
that can add a whole new level of interest and intensity
to the Pilates experience.
Pilates Reformer is the most renowned of all
Pilates equipment. With its sophisticated system of
springs, straps and pulleys, more than 100 exercises
can be performed on this surprisingly versatile apparatus.
The crux is in the gliding platform on which one can
sit, kneel, stand or lie on their front, back or side.
The user pushes and pulls off the foot bar using the
arms, legs, wrists and ankles to slide back and forth
along the rails in a controlled manner while the tension
in the springs gently works the muscles.
The Pilates Reformer helps one establish torso stability
and postural alignment while working peripheral limbs
in a range of motion. The adjustable springs allow for
progressive resistance, which helps to lengthen and
strengthen the muscles rather than building bulk. It
makes for an effective, no-impact stretching and toning
workout that is friendly to the joints.
The Cadillac (also known as the Trapeze Table)
is one of the most effective and versatile pieces of
exercise equipment ever to be engineered. The Cadillac
was originally devised by Joseph Pilates to rehabilitate
bedridden patients back when he was working as a hospital
orderly. The Cadillac is essentially a raised horizontal
table-top surrounded by a four-poster frame on which
various bars, straps, springs and levers are fixed.
The Cadillac repertoire of exercises truly challenges
the core abdominal muscles, develops spinal flexibility,
works the shoulder girdle, strengthens the back and
stretches the total body.
Swiss Ball, Stability Ball, Gym Ball, Fit Ball
- whatever name it goes by, these balls are a great
addition to a Pilates workout. The larger inflatable
spheres come in 55 cm, 65 cm and 75 cm diameters to
accommodate a range of body sizes. Pilates exercises
usually performed on a mat can be adapted for the ball.
Pilates Resistance Bands
The Resistance Band, also known as the Flex-Band
or Thera-Band, is simply a stretchy strip of latex that
can add an element of light resistance to a Pilates
workout. The Resistance Band can be used for stretching,
toning and sculpting from ankle to wrist - the versatility
is incredible for such a simple item.
Pilates conditions the body from head to toe with a
no- to low-impact approach suitable for all ages and
abilities. It requires patience and practice, but results