Pilates is becoming a more and more popular form of exercise and rehabilitation. We are seeing Pilates increase in popularity in the health, fitness and rehabilitation industries, and it can be very hard to know IF you should do Pilates and WHY you might give it a try.
Joseph Pilates originally developed what we now call Pilates as a way of rehabilitating prisoners of war during WWII. What we know as Pilates today, are actually variations of his original method.
The reality is, Pilates offers another means of exercise and rehabilitation, just using different equipment.
But there are a few things about Pilates teachings and Pilates movements that can have very particular benefits! I’ve created a list of the main reasons I might encourage someone to try Pilates;
1. Very specific control of movement
Pilates instructors can be VERY fussy with position, technique and control. Little tweaks of body position can make all the difference to the understanding of a movement and the activation of involved muscles. For this reason, it is GREAT to add into a heavily gym-based program; you might find it helps you get more out of the gym!
2. Isolated Gluteus Medius strength
A common thing people say about Pilates is that it does a great job of isolating stabilising muscles, and the perfect example of this is the Gluteus Medius. The ability to use straps, springs and vary resistance, as well as stand, sit and lie means it can be targeted in all sorts of ways. You won’t quite get a glute burn as good as you can get from Pilates!
3. Isolated Adductor strength
A slight variation in spring or strap tension will have your glutes burning one minute, and your adductors (inner thighs) burning the next! Adductor strength is a big contributor to avoiding, or rehabilitating groin injuries in sport, and is a hard one to target in the gym.
4. Spinal articulation
A concept very particular to Pilates; spinal articulation is spinal movement. We aim to roll up, roll down or bridge moving segmentally through the spine. This can feel amazing and be a fantastic teaching tool for people who are stiff or lack body awareness!
5. Low impact
Pilates offers resistance in a low impact way and this can be amazing for so many people; new Mum’s getting back into exercise, early stages of rehabilitation for sports people, or if you’re looking for a lower impact but still resistance-based way to exercise.
At the end of the day, moving is the most important thing! Adding in Pilates can give you a different perspective on movement, it might target some stabilising muscles a little differently, and it might reduce some load from your body if you normally have a heavy gym routine.