As the image above shows the fitness industry has many body-type preconceptions, the willowy yogi, the triangular body builder, the long limbed swimmer and Pilates is no different.
Instagram squares have a lot to answer for and these days when we think of Pilates we see long lean women in colourful leggings with abs to die for! However despite the pleasing aesthetics a Pilates obsession can create, this was not what it was created for and I like to think of it as a by-product of the practice rather than the aim.
Pilates was developed as a form of rehabilitation for injured service men so its core principles are based on creating support for the body to facilitate movement – whatever that may be.
Many therapists recommend pilates and it’s clear to see why the principles of pilates are strongly supported by medical and holistic practitioners alike. It’s not just a workout but also an anatomy lesson showing users how to manipulate their bodies for the best and most efficient outcome.
Pilates helps you to re-pattern your bodies musculature support system taking the emphasis away from the dominant muscles.
Pilates encourages you to think about how you move and how your recruit the correct muscle groups not just the most dominant.
It encourages stability and strength of the core and therefore increases range of movement in the extremities by providing a stable base.
It teaches proprioception so that you are able to constantly assess how best to position the body for the best outcome.
For most athletic people, Pilates isn’t their activity of choice. Most physically active people prefer the feeling of getting hot and sweaty to really prove they have “worked out”. I find most people who come to try Pilates usually do so because of necessity, usually injury, but once they experience the above outcomes it’s easy to see why its complementary to their activities.
Pilates is a fascinating source of rehab and as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, once people realise the benefits it brings to their other activities whether that be running their fastest mile or gaming for 5 hours each night without getting a sore back, its very, very rare that they stop practicing its principles.