What Is Pilates: A beginners Guide To Different Types of Pilates | Pilates Definition, Exercises, Workout, & Health Benefits

list of different pilates styles and health benefits

What Is Pilates?

The exercise form of Pilates is named for its creator, Joseph Hubertus Pilates who was born in Germany in 1883. As a young man, Joseph accepted a position in 1912 teaching self-defense to detectives at Scotland Yard. With the outbreak of WWI, Joseph was interned because of his German heritage. It was as an internment prisoner that Pilates developed his extremely popular exercise philosophy. As an athletic individual with limited resources, he developed the Pilates system which focuses on developing core strength through a series of repetitive movements using resistance. Pilates initially rose to fame in the international dance community as it focused on core strength and overall body toning. This exercise philosophy emphasizes proper breathing, spinal and pelvic alignment, and the importance of full concentration. It works to help the practitioner gain longer, leaner muscles as well as increased flexibility.

Pilates can be a very rewarding exercise program, especially for those looking to tone and build core strength. As it also increases flexibility and balance, it is an ideal program for dancers, gymnasts, and swimmers among other key sports. Joseph Pilates believed that the quality of the movement is more important that the number of repetitions; therefore, a comprehensive Pilates workout focuses on executing exercises for their maximum benefit over simply repeating exercises. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1926 and opened a fitness studio in New York City. The rest, as they say, is history!

Health Benefits of Pilates

Engaging in a regular Pilates workout can yield a wide vary of health benefits. Committed practitioners see better muscle strength, increased muscle tone, improved overall flexibility, and a stronger, more balanced core (abdominal, lower back, hip, and glute regions). A regular practice can also yield improved breathing, posture, balance, and ability to focus and concentration throughout the day. Some individuals also report better sleeping patterns. All regular Pilates exercisers report weight loss with a dedicated program.

Different Types of Pilates

As the popularity of Pilates grew, different forms of this exercise began to emerge. Today, there are several different types of Pilates modified by instructors. The most popular forms of Pilates include Fletcher, Stott, Winsor, Power, and Gyrotonic Pilates. While all these forms adhere to the core philosophy of Joseph Pilates’ approach to exercise, they each focus on different elements. Let’s take a quick look at the differences.


Popular Pilates Exercises

Many popular Pilates exercises can be completed at home on a supportive exercise mat. Here are 5 of the most popular Pilates exercises you can do at home today:

The Curl

Think of the curl as a half sit up. Lie on the floor with knees bent, feet flat and firmly pressing into the floor. Arms should reach for the heels, palms down. On an exhale, curl your chin towards the knees, bringing the shoulder blades off the mat. Hold this curl position for one breath and slowly lower down.

The Roll Up

Think of this as a full curl. Begin on the back and extend the arms to the ceiling. Exhaling, curl the chin to the chest and slowly roll up one vertebrae at a time until the arms reach beyond the toes. Exhale and roll down just as slowly. It should be one fluid movement from start to finish.

The Hundred

A favorite for developing core strength, the hundred begins on the back. Raise the toes to where the ceiling meets the wall and hold. Raise the head and shoulder blades off the floor with ab strength (the neck should feel no strain). Slowly begin to pulse the arms up and down until you reach the count of 100.

Single Leg Stretch

Lay down with legs extended. Draw one knee into the chest while the other leg comes horizontally off the floor. Exhale, lift the head and shoulders while holding the knee close to the chest. Pulse for two breathes and switch, keeping the legs and shoulder blades off the floor.

Double Leg Stretch

Feel the burn! Lay on the back with arms and legs extended. Raising the head and shoulder blades off the mat, bring the knees into the chest and touch the ankles. Extend the legs away from the body without touching the floor and send the arms overhead. Bring everything together at the core and repeat.

Required Exercise Equipment

Many Pilates studios will have specialized equipment such as a Pilates machine for students to cycle through during a typical workout. While this equipment can increase the resistance for the exercises, it is not necessary for a home practice. For a home practice, those new to Pilates should invest in several key pieces of workout equipment. These pieces of equipment include:

Pilates Ring - Exercise Ball - Supportive Mat - Bolster - Resistance Bands - Appropriate Clothing

BudoNation Pilates and Yoga Section Will Help You "Stay Active & Fit", And Balance Your Mind and Body.

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