Yoga and Pilates are one and the same! How often have I heard this sentence and thought to myself that it was about time to write an ultimate Pilates guide to finally create clear fronts. In fact, both focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles. However, both sports are completely different. Wondering if Pilates fits your needs? Find out here in the Pilates Guide!
1- Pilates Guide: What is Pilates?
Pilates is a holistic body workout. Not sweaty, but still very effective. The center of the body, sometimes also called the “powerhouse,” is at the center of the training. Here the deeper muscles around the abdomen, back, and pelvic floor are trained intensively. The exercises are carried out fluently and in connection with breathing. Concentrating on the body is very important, so Pilates also strengthens your body awareness and your mind. And I can guarantee you that with strong abs and back muscles, you can eliminate back pain from your vocabulary.
2- Pilates Guide: Where did Pilates originally come from?
The Pilates method is almost 100 years old. The German Joseph H. Pilates was the mastermind and inventor of this method. Due to his own weak physical constitution, he developed an early interest in Far Eastern and European training methods. After initially helping injured and disabled soldiers after World War I, he emigrated to the USA with his wife Clara and opened his first physical training studio in New York in the 1930s.
His training sessions were particularly popular with dancers, actors, and athletes. In the 1960s, his style of exercise became popular in America under the name Pilates and finally arrived in Germany in the 1990s. Popular followers of the method, such as Madonna, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, and Heidi Klum, did the rest to popularize Pilates. Joseph Pilates continued to develop his exercises until his death in 1967, and the Pilates method is still being developed and combined with other sports today.
3- Pilates Guide: What Can I Expect From Pilates?
The focus of Pilates training is on building up the muscles in the middle of the body. Muscle groups are not trained in isolation but in the whole body. You will become more flexible, and poor posture and muscular imbalances will gradually be corrected. Joseph H. Pilates said:
After 10 hours, you will feel better. After 20 hours, you will look better, and after 30 hours, you will have a new body.
From my own experience, I can promise you that after the first few hours of training, you can expect a lot of sore muscles!
4- Pilates Guide: The Four Principles
Every exercise should be carried out consciously and in a controlled manner. It is necessary to become aware of the posture or position of the body. Each exercise activates the respective muscles in conjunction with breathing in a specific order. The quality of movement and not physical strength is decisive here.
Breathing plays an important role in Pilates, and correct breathing is the basis of all
exercises. In preparation for the movement, inhale through the nose into the chest cavity, opening the lateral ribs. During the exertion, the air is exhaled through the mouth. Breathing in the Pilates method is very conscious as it is not possible to involuntarily breathe in such a way. This requires practice and concentration, but you will quickly notice that the exercises are more fluent and orderly!
The attention is on the muscles in the middle of the body. The supporting muscles in this region are constantly kept in a slight tension during the exercise. Each exercise is performed from a stable center, the so-called powerhouse.
It is mainly trained with a neutrally positioned spine.
The necessary coordination is learned through constant, correctly performed repetitions of the exercises. Therefore, the movements should always be soft and flowing. In order to be able to perform the movements precisely, it is important to develop certain flexibility in the muscles.
5- Pilates Guide: What is needed for Pilates?
Clothing plays an important role in Pilates training. The top priority is convenience, but of course, functionality too. Clothing should not hang down your body and restrict your movements.
Furthermore, Pilates is performed barefoot, but if you get cold feet quickly, you can fall back on special Pilates socks. We recommend, for example, the socks from Sissel. Of course, you also need a special mat to do the exercises on. In principle, a commercially available thin and non-slip insulating yoga mat is sufficient. Of course, you can take a towel with you to training. Also, you should remember to drink a lot of water!
6- Pilates Guide: Still undecided?
Then look for a Pilates studio, a fitness studio, or a club and arrange a trial lesson! Make sure that the groups are small and have no more than 10-15 participants! You should also look at the qualifications of the trainer. Many adult education centers offer Pilates courses with very good trainers and at very reasonable prices!
And if you don’t want to do yoga completely, try Yogilates! The exercises and movements from both disciplines are combined.