Pilates is a form of low intensity training that focuses on strengthening your core muscles. Technique and control are the focus rather than heavy weights and repetitions. Pilates can be performed by people of all fitness levels and capability. This article outlines the benefits of pilates to help you decide if it's the right form of training for you.
Pilates is a system of exercises designed to improve your physical strength, flexibility and posture as well as enhance your mental awareness. Its emphasis is on lengthening the body and aligning the spine rather than on bulking and shortening the muscles. This form of training is particularly good for building your core muscle strength.
You perform pilates at low to medium levels of intensity and the aim isn’t to work your muscles to exhaustion. Each exercise has a defined movement, rhythm and breathing pattern that can be adapted to your individual needs. You’ll normally perform the various exercises over a 45-90 minute period with low and slow repetitions. The quality of your posture, including abdominal control and breathing, is more important than the number of repetitions.
Unlike yoga which focusses on static postures, pilates puts your body in unstable positions and challenges you to move your limbs. This form of exercise is terrific for building core strength in a balanced way.
Classes will usually perform exercises on mats using body weight and gravity to provide resistance. Another form of pilates called Reformer Pilates makes use of specialized equipment or machines with spring-loaded resistance. You’ll normally find this at specialized facilities although some gyms do offer this service.
The ability of programs to be individually tailored allows this form of training to be performed by a huge range of people with differing fitness levels and health situations. Like all exercise programs, you should check with a health professional before commencing to make sure there are no issues preventing you from benefiting from this training style.
When performed correctly, pilates can provide a number of benefits including:
- improved flexibility
- core muscle strength and tone
- improved stabilisation of your spine, posture and balance
- rehabilitation from injury
- stress management and relaxation of shoulder, neck and upper back muscles
Where do I find gyms that provide pilates classes?
A huge number of gyms provide free access to classes as part of your membership. To find the ones closest to you, enter your address or suburb on our search page and then filter for pilates. We have more than 2,500 gyms in our database from across Australia. It’s so easy to suss out gyms!