It’s a respectable method and gets good pressure. We know it as Pilates, but the mind-body exercise developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s was originally called “Controlology.” He conceived of it as the science and art of using the mind to control the physical body, including its internal organs. One of its main virtues is that anyone can do it – men, women, the elderly, pregnant and injured women, mothers with their children.
Some say that people who practice Pilates are fanatics, not followers or practitioners, because those who have fully embraced Pilates are unlikely to tolerate any criticism or modification of the method. The experts we interviewed in this article say that it takes six months of practice and learning before you can truly understand the method. Fans faithfully practice lightweight resistance training that strengthens the core muscles around the spine and makes back pain go away quickly. Back in the ’90s, a low-impact Pilates exercise was what injured and exhausted aerobics enthusiasts were looking for in the ’80s. Soon, Madonna and Uma Thurman became popular children’s posters for Pilates.
Numerous scientific studies support the method and confirm its health benefits. It has been shown to improve muscle strength and flexibility, reduce chronic pain, and relieve anxiety and depression.
But a few years ago, people started warning of the impending “world of Pilates” — a massive emptying of Pilates studios where people flocked to the latest cardio, Zumba, spinning and CrossFit.
The epidemic saved her
Confinement to the home during the pandemic has produced a renewed interest in Pilates due to its effectiveness in harmoniously connecting the mind and body. However, the form of Pilates practiced today in many studios and gyms has evolved from the classic method that was developed nearly 100 years ago. Recent advances in biomechanics have raised questions about some of the most famous and complex exercises.
“Pilates has evolved — its founder was not a doctor,” said personal trainer Diego Jerez. Joseph Pilates was a German physical trainer and boxing enthusiast, whose eclectic career included performing in a circus and training Scotland Yard agents in self-defense. He immigrated
to the United States after World War I, and published Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercise revolutionized the entire field of physical education in 1934. The slim initial 60-page statement of Pilates promised, “In 10 Sessions You Can Feel the Difference, In 20 Sessions You’ll Notice the Difference” And in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body.” The famous phrase now adorns the entrances of many studios around the world.
The classic method recommended always keeping the spine straight without looking at its natural curvature. “A lot of the exercises require you to flatten your spine to the floor, which creates pressure in that area,” said Jerez, who has taught Pilates for five years in Madrid. He believes that everyone should practice Pilates at some point in their lives. “We now know that the function of the lower back is to provide stability and that it is a transmission point for strength. There are many classic Pilates exercises that add movement and rotation to this area, which can cause injury with a lot of repetition,” Jerez said.
Pilates has been updated
“Joseph Pilates did the best he could with what was known at the time and most of his exercises progressed well, but some did not. Science has shown that the spine is not designed to move much,” said Alberto Segovia, a trainer who does Pilates exercises six hours a day. Modifying exercises that involve a great deal of lower back movement Segovia, who began practicing the method in 2001 when not many people in Spain knew what it was, created the online platform PILATES4K, which teaches an updated form of Pilates.
Elena Briceño, who has been teaching Pilates for 17 years, comes from the dance world. It reminds us that when Joseph Pilates first created his exercise routine, our lives were a lot less stable. The classic method requires a lot of hip flexion, which causes the psoas muscle [in the lower lumbar region of the spine] to contract. This muscle is really tight because of all the time we spend in sitting positions.”
On the other hand, Andres Garcia, a fitness trainer who has been practicing Pilates since 2008, still finds the classic method very effective. “You can tell when the body has been trained with Pilates. The spine is more flexible, the glutes are rigid, the legs are proportioned, and there is a greater awareness of body movement.” In his experience, the best Pilates upgrades are the accessories in use now. “When I started, there was probably a tension band available. We now use hoops, balls, pulleys, etc.”
One of the pitfalls that plagues Pilates is the unrealistic expectations of new students. Pilates doesn’t do everything. “It’s not a cardiovascular exercise. Fat is burned evenly throughout the body, so people looking for six-pack abs will be disappointed,” Jerez said. “Pilates teaches you something more important – grammar
Using your body – but it doesn’t help you lose weight or get a flat stomach.” Alberto Segovia says: “If you learn to move your body properly, you will be able to sit on the floor and play with your grandchildren when you are 80 years old. If not, you will start getting injuries when you turn 40. “
Some people expect immediate results, but this is a method of body self-awareness that takes time. “We have no idea how we’re going to move,” said Elena Briceño, who has seen how people don’t care about their bodies until they’re injured. “Then they discover muscles they’ve never felt before.” A student remembers feeling the transverse abdominis muscle in her stomach for the first time in class. “The expression on her face was complete surprise.”
Andres García says Pilates “is difficult because you have to learn to follow the instructions, breathe, position the spine, put the pelvis in a neutral position, and draw strength from the abdomen rather than the cervical spine. It takes at least six months to get used to it, though.” You will notice some progress within three months.”
Finding a good coach is crucial. Alberto Segovia says they want to create a Pilates instructor certification process in Spain similar to that of yoga. “Currently, Pilates training can range anywhere from 40 to 200 hours. The National Certification will standardize the requirements for becoming a trainer.” For Segovia, the biggest benefit of Pilates is the self-awareness it teaches. “You learn to talk to yourself and know yourself. It brings you true happiness,” he says with conviction.
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