What is Pilates?
The Pilates Method is a physical fitness system which was developed in the early 20th century by German-American Joseph Pilates . Joseph Pilates called the method The Art of Contrology , which refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles.
In World War I, Joseph Pilates served as a medic for the German forces, and was investigating ways that soldiers could rehabilitate themselves while being bed ridden. Thus the creation of a series of movements that could be done in this position was created. The Pilates Reformer is based on this concept, and one will note the militaristic movements throughout Pilates.
Instead of performing many repetitions of each exercise, Joseph H. Pilates preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring proper control and form. He designed more than 500 specific exercises. The most frequent form, called "matwork", involves a series of calisthenic motions performed without weight or apparatus on a padded mat. Pilates also designed five major pieces of unique exercise equipment that can be optionally used. In all forms, the "powerhouse" (abdomen, lower back, and buttocks) is supported and strengthened, enabling the rest of the body to move freely.
In terms of physical exercise Pilates exercise resembles yoga but without the spiritual element. As with yoga, the human body itself is used as "weights" in training, to build strength, and flexibility is targeted, without a focus on high-powered cardiovascular exercise. It was originally used to bring injured dancers back to full fitness, the idea being more to build bodily co-ordination and flexibility than stamina or muscle strength.
It has been used to train dancers in flexibility and physical strength . In recent years it has become a popular fitness modality. It has also been combined with yoga to form Yogilates .
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