Pilates: the method that changes your body

The discipline invented by Joseph Hubertus Pilates in the middle of the 20th century to overcome the physical problems he was born with – he was a thin, sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever- is experiencing a renaissance according to the annual report of the American College of Sports Medicine on the fitness trends for 2018 and it has once again appeared in the top ten.

With a little yoga, Swedish gymnastics and martial arts here, and classical ballet there, Pilates offers “a method of training in which the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. Only in this way are the innermost muscles of the body toned with the help of breathing.

Devised to improve the daily movements for which our musculature is designed, introducing elements like the bosu (a balancing board), elastic fitness bands or the fitball (a giant ball on which different exercises are performed).”

“The core (the body’s centre of gravity). You are able to tone to a large degree a musculature that is difficult to activate and important for the female body, like the transverse musculature (abdomen), the multifidus (back) or the pelvic floor.”


How are the muscles exercised?

With machines or on the floor. All the work comes, as explained by the trainer, “from the epicentre of the body, from where the strength is generated and the stability to do exercises that need postural control and flexibility.” Although the basis is the same, there is a big difference between the two ways. Pilates is so technical and effective that it is worthwhile investing time and money in a few classes with machines (Cadillac, Reformer, Barril, etc) to fully appreciate how to do the exercises without bad posture. Also this way is a more intense workout using the resistance of the machine’s springs. We’ll look later at group classes on the floor.



What is a Pilates session like?

“We start releasing tension through breathing. In this way, we connect the three key bases of the neutral Pilates posture: pelvis, shoulder blades and spine. Breathing has to come from an imaginary cylinder located between the pubis and the sternum. So each time we release air through our mouth, we close the ribs, pull in the navel and connect with the pelvic floor, tightening the vagina, urethra and anus. Once this technique has been mastered in a static position, we can start the exercise sequence: first working on mobility, without too much resistance, gradually increasing the work, leaving the part that increases flexibility until last.”



What body will we get?

The expert says : “Toned and slim. We’re looking for a balance: to strengthen tissues that, being so deep, rarely get used and to stretch the ones that are shortest through excessive use – this happens when you exercise a lot without stretching afterwards, they lose elasticity. It’s like a system of cables .. loosen those that are tight and tighten those that are too loose. In this way the skeleton is harmonised and repositioned.



Does it help weight loss?

“Of course” confirms Maria Giner. Increasing muscle mass without excessive volume accelerates endocrine activity. That is to say : “When we are more muscular, we burn more calories, even when we’re resting.”



What are the trends?

“It’s a method that tries to remain as pure as possible although different elements from other activities are introduced.”


Fragmento extraído del diario El Mundo

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