“THE PILATES METHOD OF BODY CONDITIONING DEVELOPS THE BODY UNIFORMLY, CORRECTS POSTURE, RESTORES VITALITY, INVIGORATES THE MIND AND ELEVATES THE SPIRIT.”
—Joseph H. Pilates
SIX PRINCIPLES OF PILATES
Pilates demands intense focus: “You have to concentrate on what you’re doing all the time. And you must concentrate on your entire body for smooth movements.” This is not easy, but in Pilates the way that exercises are done is more important than the exercises themselves.
“Contrology” was Joseph Pilates’ preferred name for his method and it is based on the idea of muscle control… being in control of your body and not at its mercy. Each exercise is done against gravity and the resistance of the springs which controls the movement of the body and the apparatus.
The group of muscles in the center of the body – the core or “powerhouse” – encompasses the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, and inner thighs. This is the focal point of the Pilates Method. All movement in Pilates begin from the powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs. If strengthened, the powerhouse offers a solid foundation for any movement
Pilates aims for smooth flowing movements outward from a strong core. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina.
Precision is essential to correct Pilates. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement. Doing them improperly or halfhearted will cause loss of the vital benefits. The goal is for this precision to eventually become second nature, and carry over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.
Breathing is very important in the Pilates method… complete inhalations and exhalations enhances the intake of oxygen and the circulation of this oxygen throughout the body with the blood flow. It is cleansing and invigorating. The breath goes out completely with the effort and inhalation on the return. Keeping the lower abdominals close to the spine is critical, so the breath needs to be “posterior later breathing”, which is when the breath is directed laterally into the back and sides of the lower rib cage. Upon exhaling, focus is stressed on the engagement of the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintaining this engagement as they inhale as well.
Balanced Body Pilates Allegro® 2 Reformer
To some, reformer equipment might resemble a torture apparatus, looking like a single bed frame but with a sliding carriage and adjustable springs to regulate tension and resistance. Cables, bars, straps and pulleys allow exercises to be done from a variety of positions, even standing.
The resistance created by the pulley and spring system can provide a more challenging strength and endurance workout than mat classes. It may also produce visible results sooner — arm, leg and abdominal muscles can look more firm and defined within a dozen or so regular sessions.
The reformer’s many attachments increase the range of modifications that can be made to the exercises. This capability, combined with the support afforded by the resistance the machine provides, allows people with limited range of movement to safely do modified exercises. This includes pregnant women and those with an injury or otherwise compromised condition.
Balanced Body EXO® Chair
The EXO® Chair delivers a unique and fun, full-body workout. Two springs allow for 8 resistance settings. It offers a challenging cardio/aerobic workout with split or single non-slip pedals to add reciprocal and rotation movements. The Functional Resistance Kit allows you to also push and pull.
Balanced Body® Ladder Barrel
The Ladder Barrel is designed for core strength and flexibility exercises. It combines ladder rungs with a barrel surface, for stretching, strengthening and flexibility exercises. The barrel connects to the ladder by a sliding base that adjusts to accommodate different torso sizes and leg lengths.
Pilates is an incredible core workout but it can seem a little slow at times. To shake up your Reformer equipment routine a little, and add a bit of cardio, we attach a Jump Board to the Reformer. In addition to allowing jumping and other cardio exercises, a Jump Board also recreates a biomechanically accurate standing position while lying on the Reformer.
These low-friction Rotator Discs help to educate the hip rotators and shoulders, and challenge core control and balance. This is a great tool to improve postural alignment along a center axis. It is used alone or in combination with the Reformer.
The Pilates foam roller is easy to use and extraordinarily effective to activate deep core muscles, improve balance and posture, and strengthen extremities. It can be used as a prop, as stretch support, or as a stability exercise alone or in combination with other accessories.