Learn about Pilates

Learn about Pilates


Pilates method, or simply Pilates is a system of physical and mental training created in the early twentieth century by Joseph Pilates, who devised based on their knowledge of various specialties such as gymnastics, traumatology and yoga, combining the dynamism and strength muscle with mind control, breathing and relaxation.

In its principles he was called Contrology (Contrology), by Pilates himself, because it emphasizes the use of the mind to control the body, but seeking balance and unity between them. The method focuses on developing core muscles to maintain body balance and provide stability and strength to the spine, so it is widely used as therapy in rehabilitación1 and, for example, prevent and cure back pain.

Fundamental principles

Although Pilates has been developed and has led to a lot of different styles and applications, there are fundamental principles which must always be present:


Pilates demands intense concentration. You must constantly focus on what you are doing. The exercises are mainly composed of controlled, very conscious movements, and coordinated with breathing, in order to create a harmonious body, coordinated, muscular and flexible. It is a very technical exercise, where the correct implementation of the various elements that make up each exercise is more important than the number of repetitions or sets.


Joseph Pilates called his "Contrology" method, because it is based on the idea of ​​controlling the muscles. The reason why you should concentrate so intensely is to control every aspect of every body movement.

Power Center

The control center, or energy center, Pilates situated at the bottom of the trunk, like a belt that surrounds the lumbar and abdominal area. This center is activated by recessing the transversus abdominis, and its strengthening precisely the key to the whole method, which enables the body to move freely and evenly, avoiding harmful movements and compensation. All movements are initiated and held from this area, whose use must always be present during the exercises.


Breathing plays a major role in the method. The results of good practice are significant: increased lung capacity and improved blood circulation are the first ends sought to translate them into strength, flexibility, mental coordination and good posture.

Breathing should be around slow, continuous time and, during it, should be taken to make inhalations and exhalations of the same length in order to allow an optimal gas exchange oxygen-carbon dioxide in the body.

As a general rule, Pilates duration of the inhalations and exhalations vary depending on the level of the student, being recommended three times inhalation and exhalation for beginners, 5 times for intermediate students and 8 times for advanced students.


  • Tones and shapes muscles
  • Greater flexibility, dexterity, agility and movement coordination
  • Strengthens the abdomen
  • Corrects and improves posture
  • more stylized figure
  • Reducing stress level
  • Increases elasticity


Although today there are many types of disciplines under the term pilates, all of which can be grouped into two main groups. Those of the first conducted with the help of specially designed devices and the second practiced on the floor, on a mat, but may incorporate various devices. However, obviously the principles governing both are identical and the realization of many of the exercises is very similar.

Pilates apparatus

It is done with the help of several devices invented by Joseph Pilates, although over the years there have been different versions and modifications. These devices are mainly four:

  • The Reformer: is a kind of bed on a platform that slides through some rails, similar to the rowing machine of traditional gyms. In gyms they are usually wood and steel, although there are lighter and easier to transport versions that do not have legs and rest directly on the floor. The trapeze or cadillac: is a kind of bed with a steel structure on it, which the practitioner can be hung in different positions using various ropes and pulleys. There are versions that combine both machines, the reformer and trapeze.
  • The Chair: Pilates was created by Kathy Grant for dancer. As its name suggests it is similar to a chair, but with pedals subject by several springs, which can be toggled to decrease or increase the resistance and side supports to climb over it. It is mainly used to exercise the legs.
  • Barrel: is a structure shaped like a semicircle, specifically used to stretch the spine.

Pilates floor

It is performed on a mat on the ground. You can include various accessories:

  • Aro or magic circle: is a flexible ring about forty centimeters in diameter and two opposing grips that is at the ankles (inside or outside) or knees or is caught with his hands. It is flexible enough to deform, giving a resistance to increase the effort. It is the only one of the accessories used in Pilates soil that was originally devised by Pilates, as others have been introduced later. fit elastic band or band: usually grab with your hands while holding his feet and serves to increase resistance in the practice of the exercises.
  • Ball (Swiss ball): is a great ball of about one meter in diameter. Often it used to support on his legs while he is lying on the ground or to lie directly on it, face up or face down, and exercise the flexibility of the spine.
  • Bosu: the bosu, acronym for Both Sides up ( "both sides up") is a semi-sphere filled with air and surface mounted on a rigid plastic, as its name suggests, can be used on both sides. Its function, like the ball is to provide instability practice exercises and develop balance and promote the use of internal muscles.
  • Other appliances: jump table, extension table, drawer, weights (dumbbells) ...

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