As a way to build strength, balance, and coordination, Pilates has won a worldwide following for its simple-yet-powerful movements.
People rely on Pilates techniques — developed nearly a century ago — to recover from injury, enhance performance, and improve overall wellbeing. Most notably, some of the basics can be helpful for any type of training. Here are the three Cs that are at the core of the practice:
Control: When he first developed this system of exercise, Joseph Pilates called it "contrology." (Not very catchy, obviously.) That's because every movement is done with complete control, often at a slow pace so it's easier to feel muscles engage.
Concentration: These deliberate movements help to fire up different muscle groups, but control is also mental — as you transition from one position to another, having conscious awareness of how your body is moving is crucial. This engagement lingers long after Pilates sessions, since that type of concentration can help in sports or even everyday life. The more control you have over how your body is operating, the less chance you'll have of injury.
Centering: Often, Pilates is used as a synonym for "core work" but that's not quite right. Although the abdominal muscles get significant benefits from Pilates sessions, a major principle for the practice is centering, not just doing crunches. Pilates believed that the center of the torso — from the lower ribs to the pubic bone — can be considered the powerhouse of the body. All movements originate from this area, so directing effort toward that center, and having movement come from there, give each exercise better flow and intention.
With these in mind, any Pilates session can yield better results. Whether working on specialized equipment or doing exercises on a mat, these Cs can help you make the most of any Pilates-focused time.
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