All About Pilates
– Matthew Comer, Pilates Orlando, FL
ORIGINS OF PILATES
Pilates is an exercise system pioneered by the German physical-culturist Joseph Pilates. In the early twentieth century, Joseph Pilates worked for Scotland Yard as a self-defense instructor for the British agency’s detectives. During World War I, Pilates began developing a system of exercise apparatuses by connecting springs to hospital beds for patients to strengthen their muscles through resistance exercises. After World War I, Pilates moved to Germany for a few years and taught his exercises to German dancers.
In the mid-1920s, Pilates moved to New York, where he opened a fitness studio and continued to teach Pilates to dancers. His Pilates studio quickly gained popularity, and Pilates’s students began opening studios around the country. By the second half of the twentieth century, Pilates studios were common in many large United States cities.
The purpose of Pilates is to develop strong abdominal muscles, or a strong core, in order to strengthen and control the entire body. The traditional Pilates method uses several large pieces of equipment to aid in resistance training. The most common Pilates apparatus is the Reformer, a sliding platform mounted on a wood or metal frame that is moved by pulling ropes or pulleys or pushing a foot bar. Other Pilates apparatuses include the Cadillac or Trapeze Table, a variety of chairs chairs, foot and spine correctors, the Ladder Barrel, and the Magic Circle.
With Pilates gaining so much popularity in the United States, other contemporary methods have also evolved that combine traditional Pilates with other types of exercise. Some contemporary Pilates methods use a sticky rubber mat with smaller props, including small weighted balls, stability balls, disks, elastic resistance bands, and rollers. Not only does this enable Pilates classes to be offered at traditional gyms or workout facilities where the Pilates apparatuses may not be available, but it also allows for anyone interested in Pilates to practice anytime in their home.
Some Pilates methods combine traditional Pilates approaches with leading theories one exercise science and rehabilitation. Stott Pilates, for example, fuses Joseph Pilates’s original exercise method with modern approaches to spinal health and athletic performance. Stott Pilates offers Pilates education and certification programs around the United States, including in Orlando, Florida, Los Angeles, California, New York City, and Houston, Texas. Stott Pilates also offers Pilates educational programs throughout Canada and around the world.