breathing techniques when performing the exercisesYou may say that this is all well and good, but what can Pilates do for me and will it make me stronger? Any exercise that challenges you or overloads the skeletal muscles will, over time get you stronger. In order for the muscles to gain strength they need to be challenged in a progressive manner. If you do the same exercises in the same fashion over and over the muscles adapt to the stress you place upon them. Most practitioners will need to start out with Mat Pilates, which lays the foundation of basic principles or moves. Once you become familiar with the exercises you may want to try a Mat Class that incorporates resistance bands, small balls, a Pilates Ring or a Pilates Stick. These small props will provide added resistance or overload to the muscles so you continue to gain strength as well as adding to your repertoire of basic Pilates exercises.
Pilates focuses on your “Powerhouse” which makes up the core, (muscles of your abdominals, lower back, hips and glutes) which in turn assists your other muscles to work together. If you have a solid foundation it makes sense that a strong core improves every day function and athletic performance. Pilates has been around for quite some time since it’s inventor Joseph Pilates introduced it in the 1920’s. It gained popularity in the 40’s with dancer’s and other members of the Arts as a way to stay flexible and strong for their professions. Anyone who religiously practices Pilates realizes the many benefits it has to offer….improved muscle strength and flexibility, improved posture and balance, increased bone density, easy on the joints, and a strong and sculpted core.
If you are primarily doing Pilates as your main form of exercise you may find that you will need to incorporate other forms of strength training as you get stronger. As mentioned, the body is very quick to adapt to the work it asked to do so make sure you keep challenging it in order to see improvement!!