|A Recovered Treasure: The Pilates Method
BodybuildingPro.com Training Database Cardio Articles A Recovered Treasure: The Pilates Method
Uncovered After 80 Years of Dormancy, Pilates
is Far From Dead.
In a way, he’s a lot
like Edgar Allen Poe.
The famous writer had been deceased for many years before he
miraculously cracked super-stardom, his once-buried work revamped
from the ashes to be relished by millions and millions of
Well, Joseph Pilates is not Edgar Allen Poe. The German immigrant
is hardly a household name in 1999, but just like Poe, some
thirty-two years after his death, his lost treasures are now being
discovered as genius works of art.
You’ve seen the countless infomercials in the middle of the
night, boasting this piece of exercise equipment and that toning
apparatus. They usually get a famous retired athlete like Joe
Montana to endorse it and swear by it. You’ll actually watch
for a minute and a half before realizing that you just wasted 90
seconds of your life.
But the word is out that the Pilates Method is different. This one
That’s why, if you look around, Pilates studios are cropping
everywhere throughout the United States. Many health clubs are
offering Pilates classes on a regular basis and more and more
Pilates machines are filling household closets where those dusty
sets of golf clubs used to rest.
Upon arriving in New York City from Germany, Mr. Pilates primarily
created his method of fitness to benefit the dance community, as it
was a success along Broadway in the 1920’s. The exercises
provided dancers with that much-needed agility and grace.
Now, in New York City alone, there are about 40 different studios
where the Pilates Method is taught with more cropping up every
But the Pilates Method has not been restricted to just exercise
outlets. All kinds of hospitals, clinics, and health centers are
pulling in these machines to treat patients with spinal injuries,
back ailments, and shoulder cuff problems, just to name a few.
The Pilates Method is essentially an exercise that combines toning
and stretching, utilizing a series of rhythmic movements to achieve
balance and grace. It does not have the effects of heavy free
weights or Nautilus machines. The exercises you perform are very
smooth and controlled and require specific movements from isolated
The common Pilates apparatus, called the Universal Reformer, looks
almost like a magic carpet. Depending on the exercise, your body
weight will rest on the padded platform, which moves along the base
of the machine through a series of pulleys. The motions are
performed with cables and a series of different handles, depending
on what motion you’re performing.
These exercises are not performed in sets, really. It is a long,
continual motion that will target balance and flexibility, every
bit as much as it targets strength and conditioning. You can do an
exercise for nearly a half-hour, if you’d like.
What’s interesting about Pilates is that there are no weights
involved. No adjusting the resistance, no sliding that pin down a
couple of plates. The resistance is you! When your pulling the
cables in toward your chest, the weight that your pulling is simply
your own body weight. And the magic carpet takes away the use of
gravity during the exercise; only your specific muscles being
worked is what creates any sort of movement and stability.
Aside from toning up the torso, the Pilates Method also helps you
achieve healthy breathing and relaxation while vastly increasing
With the benefits seemingly unlimited, perhaps the Pilates Method
is a wise choice for an alternate route if you’re becoming
worn out from those pounding aerobics classes or squeaky Nautilus
machines. Or perhaps you’re always one to jump on the latest
fitness craze, and for thousands of Americans and patrons
worldwide, Pilates is certainly that.
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