Pilates core training is a form of exercise that works your entire body. Pilates core training is similar to yoga, in that both disciplines emphasize precise breathing practices combined with proper body movements. But while yoga brings a more subtle spiritual side to the exercises, pilates focuses on working your muscles.
Forms of Pilates
There are two types of pilates. Mat based pilates is a popular form of exercise that’s similar to calisthenics in that it helps you use your own body weight as a source of resistance to build strength and increase flexibility. Mat based pilates helps you train the supporting muscles of your body to improve your balance and posture, and correct faulty habits of movement. Mat based pilates can be good for those who’ve been doing pilates for awhile, or for those who have experience with yoga or calisthenics and are already in good shape.
Equipment based pilates uses specialized equipment that can be pricey to purchase for yourself. However, you can sign up for a pilates course to gain affordable access to this equipment. Equipment based pilates can be good for beginners and those who are trying to get into shape.
Benefits of Pilates
If you practice pilates two or three times a week, you’ll begin to see some improvements and benefits after six to eight weeks. Some of the benefits of pilates include:
- Better posture, balance and coordination
- More awareness of the body
- Increased flexibility and strength, especially in the core muscles of the abdomen, back, hips and buttocks
- Improvement in back pain and health problems
- Longer, leaner and stronger muscles
- More freedom of movement
- Less tension in the shoulders, neck and upper back
- Reduced stress and anxiety
Teachers and practitioners of pilates swear that it helps them manage chronic health problems and can help to heal old injuries.
Anyone Can Do Pilates
Men, women and children of just about any age can do pilates. If you have pre-existing medical conditions or problems with any of your muscles, bones or joints, talk to your doctor and your pilates teacher to make sure that you can practice pilates safely. If you haven’t worked out for a while and are trying to get back into shape, talk to your doctor and pilates teacher to make sure that the pilates core training routine you choose won’t be too much to handle.
Choose a pilates teacher who has at least 300 hours of teacher training experience. Your pilates teacher should have an intimate knowledge of human anatomy and should be conversant in both mat based and equipment based forms of pilates.
You can learn pilates at a pilates studio or you can ask about pilates classes at your local YMCA or gym. If you’d like individual attention, you can take one on one lessons with a pilates instructor, but these can get expensive. If you’d like more individual attention but can’t afford one on one lessons, join a small pilates class that has about twelve to fifteen other members. Small classes can allow you the attention you desire without the expense of private instruction.