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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 Pilates equipment 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.

Winsor Pilates
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!

Pilates Benefits

  • Improve strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk.
  • Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core.
  • Engage the mind and enhance body awareness.
  • Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy through deep stretching.
  • 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 equipment
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
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.

Pilates Cadillac
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.

Pilates Balls
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 will follow.

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