German-born Joseph Pilates invented the classical pilates method while working to rehabilitate soldiers badly injured in war. He used resistance devices attached to beds to allow bed ridden patients to exercise their muscles. He only wrote one book on his technique before he died. Since the passing of Joseph Pilates, the techniques have been modified and enhanced. The principles have been refined to reflect current understanding of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology.
Many different styles of Pilates have developed over the past 30 years. Clinical Pilates methods have gained growing acceptance in the worlds of sports medicine and spinal medicine with many professional athletes, orthopaedic and spinal surgeons recognising the benefits. As physiotherapists, we use the Pilates method as one more tool in conjunction with other techniques to rehabilitate and prevent further injury.
Pilates aims to enhance your motor or body ‘control’. Control training differs from strength training as muscle movement and efficiency is not the same as strength and power. We are training the background activity that allows smoother movement and sets the body in a safe position to prevent injury and allow us to build strength on the correct foundation. We have all heard about training our ‘core’. We are training ‘stabilising muscles’ around which movement can take place. An unstable centre or ‘core’ contributes to increased incidence of injuries.
Pilates classes progress you from static (lying on your back) to more dynamic exercises (hands and knees and standing). We work the body in positions that compromise stability therefore activating these ‘stability’ or ‘core’ muscle patterns.
There are suitable exercise challenges and modifications to suit all levels regardless of whether you are working with an existing injury or training for improved performance and injury prevention.
There are 6 basic principles to Pilates;
- Flowing movement