Always been curious about Pilates but never brave enough to try it? Alice Algie discovers how to strengthen your core, improve flexibility and calm your mind with our novices’ guide to Pilates.

 

 

pilates-for-beginners-The-superman kxpilates - Women's Health and Fitness magazine

Pilates emerged in the early 20th century after German gymnast Joseph Pilates developed the fitness system as a way to improve rehabilitation for injured war veterans.

Joseph Pilates referred to the system as Contrology, and placed a big emphasis on the relationship between mind and body when controlling your muscles.

Now popular with millions worldwide, the Pilates fitness system focuses on spine alignment, breathing and core strength to improve muscle strength and elasticity.

It involves a series of repetitive body movements, muscle contractions, stretching and coordinated breathing to promote strengthening of the entire body.

Although some Pilates movements are derived from yoga, the two are not to be confused. While yoga takes a more holistic approach, using static poses while concentrating on breathing and mental clarity, Pilates is aimed at improving core strength with constant body movements, concentration and breathing.

Allan Menezes is founder of the Pilates Institute of Australasia and creator of the Menezes Method of Pilates. He has also written the bestseller The Complete Guide to the Pilates Method as well as produced a range of instructional DVDs.

“The benefits of Pilates are amazing,” he says. “It will improve your spine and posture, increase your stamina, improve your core strength and abs, boost blood flow and massage internal organs.”

Image of Pia Muehlenbeck & workout by KX Group founder Aaron Smith.

NEXT >> The principles of pilates