What is Pilates?

Pilates has been around for almost a hundred years, but some people still have the question "What is Pilates?"

Pilates is a series of exercises developed by the late Joseph Pilates in the early 1900's.

joseph pilates exercises image

Pilates Origin

Pilates exercises originate from yoga, gymnastics, and animal movements. 

Joe Pilates loved to study how animals move and stretch and even named some of this exercises after them.  Such as the "Cat", "Swan Dive", "Seal", and "Clam".

Pilates Principles

A good Pilates routine includes the principles of breathing, concentration, precision, focus, exact and flowing movements. 

These principles are epitomized in the beauty and concentration embodied in the teaser shown here.

good pilates teaser image

What is Pilates? From the Inside-Out

Pilates exercise is unique from other movement forms in that it works our muscles from the inside out. 

The goal is to work the deep stabilizing muscles that support our skeleton, in particular the back and joints (hips, shoulders, knees, ankles, etc.)

Space and Pilates Exercise

Good Pilates Instructors cue the student to create space in the body, in particular between the ribs and hips while flexing, bending, and rotating the spine.

Such as in the Spine Twist shown below.

pilates spine twist image

Pilates Teaches to Stabilize then Mobilize

Finally, good Pilates routines incorporate learning to stabilize the core, everything from the shoulder girdle complex to the pelvic girdle complex and everything in between.

good pilates leg circles image

The Pilates Leg Circles, as shown here to the left are a good example of stabilizing the pelvic floor muscles as well as the shoulder blades, while freely mobilizing the thigh bone to rotate in the hip socket.

We stabilize the shoulder blades for freedom of arm movements and better range of motion.  This also helps to prevent injuries to the joints.

When we stabilize muscles that support the spine we are better able to flex, side bend, and rotate the spine with less risk of injury.

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