In today’s ultra-competitive sports environment, athletes across the globe are looking for the next best training regimen, exercise routine, or conditioning method with hopes of achieving optimal performance results. 


From Olympic swimmers, to charity marathon runners, professional or non-professional, if you are an athlete, the goal should always be to achieve the best results your body and mind will allow. In order to do this, you must properly train both aspects. Pilates provide the foundation many need to thrive not just in sports, but in life.


The conditioning method we refer to today as “Pilates,” was originally invented by a German man born Joseph Hubertus Pilates. Joseph cultivated this unique conditioning method during the early stages of World War I, while forced placed in an English internment camp.  Joseph utilized his method as a rehabilitation process for injured detainees (pilates.about.com). 


In 1926 Joseph Hubertus Pilates immigrated to America and opened a Pilates studio in New York with his wife Clara whom he met on his journey to the United States (Wikipedia.org). Pilates was Joseph’s idea of a sound mind, body, and sprit allowing you to complete your daily activities with zest and ease (foreverpilates.com).


Originally dubbed “Contrology,” the ideology of Pilates lies behind 6 core principles: concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing. Joseph had been quoted by many as stating that “Con trology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit” (J.H Pilates, 1945).


The Concentration aspect to Pilates is essential. A clear mind is deemed imperative for the student to be in tune with every movement the body makes. This is what allows you to focus in on working as one whole muscle group or movement.  


The Control aspect comes from the muscular position of focus while performing. Pilates is based on no wasted movements, everything should be very fluid.


The Center principle is about channeling your energy and focus to the center of your body. This area is most commonly referred to as your “Powerhouse,” the area between the lower ribs and pubic bone (pilates.about.com). 


The Flow comes from the manner in which the exercises are performed, the gracefulness.


The Precision aspect is detailed by the absolute preciseness of the position and movements made.  Each exercise has a proper placement with regards to overall body alignment (pilates.about.com).


Breath played a significant role with the development of Pilates. People breathe without thinking.  It is one of those innate abilities that we as humans are born with.  We know that it is not good to stop breathing, so we keep breathing.  The point made by Joseph Pilates was that people truly didn’t know how to breathe properly. 


The idea behind breathing properly while performing Pilates is that with large exhales and  large inhales, you will be ridding “the body of every bit of stale air allowing fresh invigorating air to rush in” (Ogle, Breathing and exercise, 2011). 


Joseph Pilates was quoted in his book “Return to life Through Contrology,” as saying “lazy breathing converts the lungs, literally and figuratively speaking, into a cemetery for the deposition of diseased, dying and dead germs…”


Professional dancers have known for far longer than many other professionals about the magnitude of benefits that Pilates provides for core strength and conditioning. Back in 2003, USA today reported that “celebrities such as Madonna, Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone had been doing Pilates... and so to have golfer Tiger Woods, basketball star Jason Kidd, pitcher Curt Schilling and offensive lineman Ruben Brown” (usatoday.com/sports/2003). These athletes have all attested to the superior benefits Pilates has offered to them with regards to flexibility, speed, quickness, and even endurance.


Let’s take a football player and use them as an example. The NFL has some of the most elite and physically gifted athletes in the world. However there are many players who choose not to do Pilates.  How could they benefit? In many more ways than one, for instance, greater core strength to tackle players, increased fluidity with motion, allowing the body to not make wasteful motions which will decrease your overall energy. Increased agility, decreased  susceptibility to incur injuries, and a greater overall flexibility are some other major benefits.


Not only does Pilates provide a method of physical conditioning which will be a preventative measure towards injury, it can also be used to rehabilitate from an injury.


A study occurred back in 2006, which was spearheaded by Rydeard R, Leger A, and Smith D from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The results were submitted to The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy.


The Test Study involved “thirty-nine physically active subjects between 20 and 55 years old with chronic LBP(Lower Back Pain) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups. The specific-exercise-training group participated in a 4-week program consisting of training on specialized (Pilates) exercise equipment, while the control group received the usual care, defined as consultation with a physician and other specialists and healthcare professionals, as necessary.”


The results spoke for themselves, the patients whom followed the 4 week Pilates plan had a significant less amount of average pain intensity through the duration of the post test period of 12 months (Rydeard, Leger, and Smith 2006).


Joseph Hubertus Pilates had already proven its preventative health uses back in World War 1 when he and the detainees survived the 1918 Flu Pandemic (Wikipedia.org).


Pilates is truly a magical way for one to achieve optimal equilibrium with regards to mind, body, and soul.  It is a way of life, and for those who pursue it tend to usually love it. I know I do, I am able to accomplish a full work out and a stress relief with just 30 minutes of Pilates. .  



http://www.foreverfitpilates.com/history.html http://pilates.about.com/od/historyofpilates/a/JPilates.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilates www.pilates.com http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pilates/professionals/athletes-and-trainers.html http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/pilates-workout http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/16881464/reload=0;jsessionid=tceY0ggPkts4NULF3wiZ.8 http://pilates.about.com/od/historyofpilates/a/JPilates.htm http://pilates.about.com/od/gettingstarted/a/Breathing-And-Exercise.htm http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2003-08-17-pilates_x.htm


Disclosure: While Kevin Terrero is certified by the NCCPT as a Personal Trainer, this article is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered medical advice. If you are in need of medical advice, please seek the appropriate medical counsel.


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