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Building a Strong Core With Pilates

A vital part of the fitness package these days is core strength and flexibility. But, what is core strength and how do we get it?

In the past five years, there has been a growing interested in learning techniques in resistance or weight training, aimed at stabilizing and strengthening the core. It turns out that a strong core is more important than we ever realized.

The muscles of the core are those of the pelvis, spine, shoulders, and abdominals. There is not a human movement that is done that does not involve the muscles of the core, which stabilize the spine and move the body throughout its various tasks. If these muscles are weak, each movement becomes more laborious, causing the posture to degrade and an increased restriction of the muscles.



The core muscles are the catalyst that transfers energy from large muscle groups to smaller ones in the body. Pilates trains the body by mimicking the twisting and turning that occur with everyday chores and movements. If you properly train your core muscles, you can reduce the risk of injury while increasing strength along these same muscles for when you need them during the day.

In addition to strengthening the core muscles, Pilates helps to develop the platform for the actions of the arm, shoulders, and leg muscles. Pilates is an effective way to stabilize the core by developing core strength.

The core muscle themselves are made up of the muscles of the trunk and pelvis, the deep abdominal muscles that protect the spine, the oblique abdominals that run alongside the abdomen, the erector muscle, located in the lower back, and the muscles of the hips and pelvis. Just because you have a "six-pack," it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a strong or stable core. Some of the most important muscles to good core development actually lie just beneath the six-pack. These muscles, with the erector muscles, help you to maintain your balance and have good posture throughout your active day.

The first and most important aim of core strengthening with Pilates is in its performance of exercises that mimic everyday movements, but that isolate specific muscle groups while balancing and strengthening the core. The Pilates exercise program emphasizes using diagonal, rotating movements that promote balance and strength. Equipment such as balance beams, wobble boards, foam rollers, and fit balls are used while sitting or standing, but balancing all the while. The very best core exercises in the program involve moving while balancing one one leg, or shifting from one leg to the other, while performing the exercises.

However, Pilates is not the only way of strengthening the core muscles of the trunk, back, or pelvis. Using a variety of core exercises will better target the area. Some of the best ones are, of course, Pilates, sit ups or crunches, fitness ball exercises, and resistance exercises which use the dead lift, squat, and lunges. Another great type of exercise to strengthen the core uses the medicine ball, throwing overhead to a partner, or using a side pass, and other various exercises. Any of the balancing exercises using a wobble board, balance beam, or foam roller are also good for developing the muscles of the core. If you have access to any of this equipment, you can add these exercises to your Pilates routine and condition your core faster.

Trainers and enthusiasts alike have made Pilates core training part of their weekly exercise routines. Many experts in the field have said that you should not go through an entire week without some sort of core training, whether Pilates or something else.



How You Can Benefit From Pilates Exercises

One of the most popular forms of exercise today is the Pilates Method of exercise, which was once a well-kept secret of dancers and athletes.

Pilates is safe for all individuals because it is a gentle method of toning and stretching the body, without putting any added strain on the joints or muscles of the body. Anyone, from old to young, from fit to flabby finds Pilates both relaxing and effective and it is popular with all generations and social classes.

Most people who start a Pilates exercise program would benefit from working in a beginning class with a certified Pilates instructor who could help them by showing them the correct way to perform the exercises. Because Pilates is generally offered at different levels, the student can work his way up to an intermediate or advanced level of performance as his or her conditioning improves.

The best way to takes Pilates is in with one-on-one instruction. The Pilates instructor can tailor a program that would best fit his client by asking questions about the health of the client and setting up the program to best improve the fitness level of the client. This method is especially good for the client who is uncomfortable with the idea of participating in a large class, or someone who just wants the individual counseling.

If money is a factor, you can still enjoy the benefits of Pilates without taking classes. There are a number of Pilates DVDs available that have the Pilates exercise program in them. These videos can usually be found in the exercise or video sections of any department store. Often the videos are sold with a Pilates mat, which is a must for the Pilates exercise participant. These videos are geared to the beginning Pilates participant and focus on helping him to understand the program and be able to do the moves shown

The DVDs and videos are usually made at different ability levels. Each student who starts a Pilates exercise program needs to begin with one at the beginner's level. It would be unwise for a novice to start the program at the intermediate or advanced levels, which could lead to injury. As soon as the new student feels that he or she has mastered the beginning level, then he or she can move on to a more advanced level, which usually incorporates more complex exercises targeting certain specific areas of the body, like the stomach, thighs, and arms. Pilates exercises that target one specific area of the body are more strenuous than the general or basic Pilates stretches. Therefore, it is imperative that the student be very comfortable with the basic Pilates moves before he or she moves on to the more advanced training because his or her body will not be ready for those moves.

In addition to the Pilates mat, there is a variety of Pilates equipment and machines available to the student. Before you run out and buy everything labeled "Pilates," it's a good idea to check out what each piece of equipment is like by visiting a Pilates class that uses it. Just because a piece of equipment is used in a Pilates class, doesn't mean that it is right for your particular Pilates needs.

People who use Pilates on a regular basis find that they feel better in several ways. They are less stressed; they are more flexible; their muscles are longer and stronger than before. Many participants find that the results of Pilates far exceed their expectations. Whether you have just begun to use Pilates or you have been using it for years, Pilates can add positive benefits for your life.



Pilates for Stretching and Toning the Muscles

Founded by Joseph Pilates, the Pilates Exercise Method is one of the most popular fitness trends today. Pilates is an exercise method that combines different body movements that will strengthen, stretch, and control the muscles and body. Pilates uses breathing, concentration, and core exercises to accomplish these goals.

The Pilates Method of Exercise seeks to improve the over-all health and well-being of its participants. The mind works in conjunction with the muscles to strengthen the back and abdomen, or core muscles and increase flexibility there. Another benefit of Pilates is increases lung capacity, because exercises incorporate deep breathing while exercising.

For many years, the Pilates Method has been gathering the momentum of increases popularity. The rich and famous seem to be drawn to the Pilates Method, with Marissa Tomei, Jennifer Aniston, and Julia Roberts, among others who are practicing and loving the Pilates Method. So, why are so many people turning to Pilates to get fit? If there are so many famous people and others using it, Pilates must have some great benefits.

There are a couple of different ways to exercise using the Pilates Method. One way to use Pilates involves primarily the floor exercises, which are less expensive and more convenient than conventional classes. The only equipment needed to practice the floor exercises is a floor mat and a trainer or video. If you can't afford a personal trainer, then you need to go with the video option. There are many reliable video programs available now with certified Pilates instructors doing the teaching. Be cautious when working without a trainer because the Pilates exercises could cause injury if done improperly.

The other way to exercise using the Pilates Method of Exercise is to join a gym that has Pilates machines and equipment and regular Pilates classes and certified Pilates instructors on staff. These types of gyms usually involve some sort of membership with monthly or yearly fees.

Whichever way you choose to exercise using the Pilates Method, you need to be comfortable, so wear light clothes, such as tights and a tank top. You should stay focused when the instructor teaches you how to breath and move properly. There is no way to accomplish your goals if you do not stay focused and disciplined enough to do the exercises the right way.

Any participant should begin a Pilates program with the simplest of Pilates routines, working his way up to more advanced and complex routines. Using this method, you will be less likely to suffer an injury while exercising.

The Pilates Method of Exercise focus mainly on increasing strength and flexibility, so two 50 minute sessions of Pilates only burn about 250 calories. Therefore, you need to combine Pilates with some sort of cardiovascular exercises, like fast walking or swimming, that will burn more calories for optimum health.

You shouldn't join the Pilates Method of Exercise just because it's the popular thing to do. If you participate for those reasons, you will fail to achieve any long-term fitness goals with Pilates. However, if you stick with the program and stay focused, Pilates will help you by conditioning your muscles and mind. You will soon began to see subtle changes in your muscle tone and flexibility, which will make your daily tasks easier, your body stronger, and your mind calmer. The Pilates Method of Exercise is a great workout with many benefits for anyone.

Windsor Pilates are Great for Core Conditioning

Everyone needs to have a strong body core for the everyday tasks that we are required to do. From climbing stairs, lifting groceries out of the car, swimming, walking, or whatever, a strong body core is necessary for the movements required. The core of the body is the torso, which includes the back, chest, shoulders and pelvis. One good method of strengthening the core is by using Pilates.

Every simple act, from picking up your newspaper to moving the computer mouse starts from the core. Without proper core conditioning, most of our daily chores become just that "chores." Our daily activities become difficult if our cores are out of condition.

If you train the body core by using Pilates, you can improve the muscles in your limbs while improving your posture and core strength. Other methods of exercise that work on the core muscles tend to concentrate on the abdominals, almost ignoring the rest of the core muscles. When you do exercises that stress one part of the core over the others, your core can become imbalanced, which could cause injury.

There are several good exercise programs that work the body core, including yoga. However, Windsor Pilates is one of the few programs that conditions the entire core. Pilates, developed by Joseph Pilates who was a nurse in the early twentieth century, was first formulated to try to help his patients recover from illnesses or injuries. Pilates designed his program to be able to be used with limited amounts of space.

Pilates developed exercises that consisted of precise movements that required slow breathing and fluid and controlled movements. He developed hundreds of movements that worked the core muscles and improved conditioning in his patients backs and stomachs. Many of Pilates exercises used the participants own body weight as resistance to help build muscle and body strength.

Pilate found ways to develop exercises that imitate everyday movements that are used in life or in sports, such as rowing or climbing stairs. Pilates can be done with a little equipment, such as a mat and a resistance band, or it can be done with some of the more complex machines that Pilates designed later.

Pilates exercises offer the participant many benefits. It will condition the body and improve flexibility at the same time. Pilates help to strengthen the back and reduce stress and tension all over the body. Pilates improves posture, coordination, and balance, because holding the various poses through several deep breaths requires all three. Pilates help to build stronger muscles and increase the participants range of motion. Each one of the Pilates exercises is designed to work a particular muscle group while strengthening the core at the same time.

Everyone from teachers to lawyers to professional athletes need a strong core. Without a properly conditioned core of muscles, everyday task become more labor some. Pilates is a great way to improve on flexibility and balance, while conditioning that important body core. With the emphasis on fitness today and the increased media attention, Pilates will be around for a long time to come.

What's So Simple About Pilates?

I know you have heard of the phenomenon in the exercise world called Pilates. Everyone today seems to be working a Pilates routine into their regular exercise program, from Hollywood celebrities to your neighbor down the street. The Pilates method, while over 70 years old, has gathered popularity in the United States, Europe, and all over the world, with little sign that it is losing momentum. I dare say that with its growing reputation, Pilates, with its controlled movements that condition the body, and strengthen the muscles is here to stay.

The Pilates method of exercise, while very physical is anaerobic exercise. That means it is not a cardiovascular workout, with all that huffing and jumping and sometime over-exerting yourself in the process. The Pilates method of exercising was designed as a system that will condition the body's core, the abdominal muscles, pelvis, shoulders and back, with balancing, stretching, and breathing. This type of workout has been recommended to add to a regular exercise routine that already had plenty of aerobic activity, as well as weight training or other resistance training. By adding Pilates to your exercise routine you can be sure to condition every part of your body, while calming the mind.

How does Pilates work?

Basically, the Pilate's method combines breathing techniques with special stretches and machines to strengthen and elongate the muscles of the core, abdomen, pelvis, shoulders, and back. As I said before, Pilates is a way of exercise using controlled movements that make the core and the smaller muscles surrounding the core stronger and more flexible. Many consider Pilates to be more dynamic than Yoga, because the Pilates method pushes the body more with stretching and targets more by toning using flexibility, strength, and posture. When the participant in Pilates adds the use of specifically designed Pilates machines, they go through a series of systematic moves, while the machinery holds their torsos in place. This method moves their limbs in different directions, causing the participant to experience changes in strength, flexibility, and balance. Sometimes, these unusual positions use muscles that rarely are being targeted by the user's other exercise routines.

What are the benefits I CAN expect from Pilates?

The benefits to adding Pilates exercises to an exercise routine can be quickly and highly noticeable. A lot of Pilates participants have said that with following a regular Pilates exercise routine, where they attend Pilates classes or sessions, their bodies get stronger, and feels more toned and better balanced after doing the Pilates methods only a few times. Many report a difference in their abs, backs, and legs right after they finish doing Pilates exercises. There are other benefits to the Pilates method of exercise, one of which is weight loss. Some have also reported, after trying Pilates exercises, an increase in their energy and feeling less stressed, with an increased sense of relaxation and well-being. Many participants of the Pilates method also have touted Pilates as a very gentle and effective exercise system, perfect for athletes recovery from illnesses, older people who may not be able to participate in anything more strenuous, and pregnant women who wish to stay in shape or get back in shape after pregnancy.

To sum it up, the benefits of the Pilates method of exercise are that they are great for: the abdominal's, aligning the spine, helping with rehabilitation after injury, stretching and strengthening the body, pregnant women, older people, weight loss, boosting energy, and reducing stress.

I'm sold! By choosing to put Pilates exercises into your exercise routine weekly, you have found a great way to supplement a well-balanced exercise plan while you are on your way to optimum health and well-being.

Pilates and Weight Loss

Americans today are out of shape. The excess weight pooled around your hips and thighs is the product of poor nutrition and no exercise. In fact, the decreased exercise levels of the busy professionals of today have caused many people to become obese, or at the very least have sluggish metabolisms. A slow metabolism leads to more and larger fat cells in the body, less muscle tone, and various other pains and health issues, ranging from annoying to potentially severe. However, even if you are trapped in this cycle of health decline, don't panic; you can turn everything around with diet and exercise. The first step to good health is to get your metabolism to speed up through increased activity. Pilates is a great method of activity to start increasing your metabolism. Pilates, however, can do nothing to alleviate your midnight cravings for ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. Pilates can, however, kick start your metabolism, making it easier to burn off those cookies and ice cream.

Around 70 years ago, a man named Joseph Pilates developed an exercise program, known today as Pilates. Joseph Pilates, a nurse, originally developed the system as a method to help his patients during the rehabilitation phase of their recovery from illness or injury. This method uses the mind to control the muscles. Pilates provides support for the spine, focusing on the muscle responsible for the participant's posture. Improving a person's posture is one of the main goals of Pilates. Joseph Pilates designed his now-famous program as a way of using repetitious exercises of breathing and spinal alignment, through which a person can learn again how to move correctly and how the body can learn to cooperate and coordinate the body's movements with one's mind. Pilates has a holistic approach to exercise, with body and mind working as one.

So, if the idea of learning how to use your minds abilities to control your body, while reconstructing your posture and improving your physical fitness level appeals to you, then Pilates is a great way you could achieve your goals. Instead of just worrying about that piece of cheesecake you just ate, you could be more proactive by learning how to control your posture and muscles. One may argue that weight is largely determined by genes. But, although the body's ability to move is to a certain extent determined by genes, Pilates can be used to increase a person's ability, no matter the predisposition.

In addition, recent studies have shown that poor eating habits and low activity have gotten the population to where it is today. Although the obesity level in all ages in this country has increased to new proportions, the need to find a way to get the problem under control has increased proportionately. In this nation of plenty, there is a fine line between eating well and over indulgence and obviously the general population has a problem sensing that line, as evidenced by our ever-increasing waistlines. By committing to an exercise program, like Pilates, you can soon start seeing results, leading to the happy feeling that accompanies a healthy habit. Joining the local Pilates team center, you can even enjoy an occasional ice cream cone or cookie without having to worry that you will gain weight or that you can join in on physical challenges like mountain biking because your muscles are in better condition.

Pilates has been popular for years and Pilates enthusiasts swear that it benefits one by helping to realign the spine, increase flexibility, build muscles, and promote a sense of general well-being. In point of fact, any regular exercise program can jump start the metabolism in a sluggish individual, causing weight loss. Performing simple sets of Pilates exercises can help the participant to get ready to live a more active and healthier life.