Its focus on strengthening specific areas of the body makes pilates exercise the ideal workout for physical conditioning.
While the practice is based on the notion of targeting keys points through specific movements, the other parts of the body should also be engaged and never completely relaxed during each movement. Pilates exercise is characterised by movements that specifically target those areas related to improving core strength, specifically the abs and spine.
Of the many benefits associated with strengthening the abs and stretching the spine, the most obvious to the naked eye is improved posture and alignment.
Key points of pilates exercise, and the key areas being targeted:
- 100 Beats - Strengthens abs
- Roll-up - Spine
- Leg Circles - Hip joints
- Rolling like a ball - Spine
- Single-Leg Stretch - Hips and knees
- Spine Stretch - Spine and hamstrings
- Saw - Hips
- Swan - Spine and back muscles
- Side Kicks - Hips and muscles of torso
- Inner Thigh - Inner thigh muscles
- Seal - Spine
The key points and the order in which they are performed should be tailored to each individual practitioner, based on his/her strengths and weaknesses. There is some debate as to whether all the key points should be addressed in a beginner's basic mat practice, or if they should each be introduced gradually, as the practitioner's strength increases.
Advanced practitioners may wish to supplement basic mat work with additional intermediate key points and may even choose to incorporate specialty equipment into their routine. Whatever you fitness level, consistent practice will give you more energy, transform your body, and improve your overall health.