Joseph Pilates first brought his namesake form of exercising to the US in the 1930s. In his approximate thirty years of living and working in NYC, Joseph and his wife, a nurse, helped many people improve their health, recover from injury and prevent new injury. The same benefits that the Pilates’ students found from Joseph during his life, and in the years since his death, are found by Pilates students today! Here are some of our favorite benefits.
- Core Strength – Core work is really the core of a Pilates workout. Pilates students start using their cores early on in the class, usually with warm up ab exercises, and continue to use their core for the rest of the class. According to J. Pilates, the “core” consists of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, multifidi, and transverse abdominis, though some Pilates teachers also include muscles like obliques and lats in their own definition of core.
- Full-body Workout – Don’t be fooled, core may be the heart of Pilates, but a good Pilates session is a full-body workout!
- Modifications for everyone! – From professional athletes to people recovering from injuries, from the regular exerciser to the regular couch potato, modifications allow EVERYONE to get something out of Pilates.
- Helps with Injury Prevention and Recovery – Pilates has long been used by dancers, 2nd in injuries only to American Football Players, to help prevent and recover from injury. J. Pilates himself worked with injured dancers in recovery and with injured and bed ridden soldiers in England during WWI. The control, full-body focus, and modifications that Pilates offers are great for prevention of and recovery from injuries.
- Helps Relieve Lower Back Pain – The alignment, core work, and spinal mobility and stability that come with Pilates can help improve back pain by a) mobilizing and strengthening the spine, allowing for better movement and b) by teaching and strengthening the ab muscles in order to help support the upper body, instead of letting the back muscles do all the work.
- Works Small Underutilized Muscles as well as the Big Ones – Learning to use the muscles in the body that don’t like to work or are out of practice helps prevent the muscles that do like to do all the work from getting overly tight, pulling, tearing, causing imbalances, etc.
- Stress Relief – The precision of Pilates allows clients to focus on themselves and their bodies in the moment instead of worrying about outside life and all the things on their to-do lists.
- Helps Improve Shoulder Pain – Scapular mobility and stability are an essential part of Pilates. This mixed with good alignment and muscle isolation can improve neck and shoulder pain.
- Helps Teach Muscle and Bone Isolation – Through Pilates, clients learn how to move one set of bones while not moving others, e.g. leg bones but not hip bones. Learning, also, how to engage one set of muscles while relaxing another set helps prevent pain and injury, unnecessary wear and tear, and over worked and strained muscles as well as improves body awareness and control.
- Increases Body Awareness – Breath work, muscle and bone isolation, and working small, underused muscles as well as big muscles all help improve body awareness!
- (Because we just couldn’t stop at 10!) Joint Mobility – Along with the bone isolation previously mentioned, the spinal, scapular, and hip mobility that are incorporated in Pilates exercises help with joint mobility. Also, the full-body strengthening helps protect joints from unnecessary stress and damage.
- Versatile and Easy to Take With You – Mat Pilates does not require any large, heavy or expensive equipment. It can be done anywhere clients have a level floor or table! (Cushy mat suggested but not required).
- Applies to Daily Life – Everything clients learn in Pilates including how to breath, use their muscles, bone/muscle isolation, etc, applies to their daily life and can reinforce other exercise programs.
Interested in trying Pilates for one of the reasons listed above? Check out our current schedule of Pilates semi-private sessions or ask your Urban Fitness TC trainer to schedule Pilates as one of your next sessions. Not currently working with a UFTC trainer? Book a free consultation and sample workout HERE, write PILATES in the notes when booking and you’re on your way to getting all of these great benefits.
Want to try Pilates yourself? Schedule your free 90 minute consultation.
This blog was contributed by our Pilates guru, Kaethe Birkner. Kaethe is a certified Pilates instructor through Balanced Body and dances ballet professionally at Continental Ballet Company. She has been teaching Pilates since 2012 and has been taking Pilates since 2004.