Nowadays, you have probably heard about Pilates more times than you can count.
With elite celebrities and athletes raving about all the benefits it offers, it’s not surprising it has earned a cult following almost overnight.
But what is Pilates exactly?
In essence, Pilates is a highly effective workout for the whole body created by Joseph Pilates. It is designed to stretch and strengthen the entire body resulting in a well-balanced physique.
Unfortunately, while many can answer the “what is Pilates” question, not many can differentiate the myths and truths surrounding this phenomenal discipline.
Read on and explore the common myths and discover the truths behind this well-loved exercise method.
Pilates is only a fix for flabby abs.
The truth is flabby abs is just one of the many conditions Pilates can fix. Apart from toning the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, it also helps provide freedom and stability of motion.
However, Pilates offers so much more than toned and enviable abs. Pilates also works the body’s parts in a balanced way, creating a strong and flexible body that is capable of efficient movement.
Pilates and yoga are the same.
While the two disciplines share some similarities, they have very distinct differences. Apart from having different breathing styles, Pilates and yoga also have different approaches when it comes to movement.
Unlike yoga, Pilates offers more than just mat-based workouts. Joseph Pilates designed and created several pieces of equipment (read: Cadillac, barrel, reformer, and tower, to name a few) to help practitioners achieve their exercise and fitness objectives.
In yoga, many movements are executed on the mat with the body weight used as resistance. This would entail a great amount of focus as each transition from one position to another should be fluid.
Pilates on the other hand aims to work out not just the mind but the entire body. The result is not just toned and lean muscles but strong ones as well.
Pilates is too easy.
This is only true if you are not executing the exercises properly. If you go through the motions without applying the basic principles—breathing, control, flow, precision, centering, and concentration—it will definitely seem easy.
Proper execution however can be both challenging and rejuvenating for all practitioners regardless of fitness level. Since the exercises will engage your deepest core muscles, it is imperative that you understand the importance of proper execution to enjoy all the benefits Pilates has to offer. That being said, Pilates is best done with a qualified instructor who can provide guidance and give corrections whenever necessary.
Only flexible people can do Pilates.
Flexibility is an inherent part of Pilates. Even if you are not flexible, regular Pilates sessions can help you achieve the flexibility you want. As a result, you will achieve a more limber body capable of greater ranges of motion.
In addition, Pilates is also highly adaptable. Exercises can be adapted or modified to suit each practitioner’s level of flexibility.
Pilates is only for the young and the fit.
Definitely not true. Pilates can be done by almost everyone—children, athletes, pregnant women, and seniors. There are also Pilates sessions devoted specifically to the rehabilitation of back problems, knee injuries, etc.
Pilates also has specialized sports programs suited for golfers, runners, and equestrians. It has also been proven effective in addressing certain conditions like arthritis, scoliosis, and osteoporosis, among others.
Pilates is only for women.
While Pilates is undoubtedly popular among women, there is nothing in the practice that makes it more suited for women than for men. Its adaptability to different body types and fitness levels however has made it an effective and suitable fitness choice for many women.
Nowadays, many men, athletes especially, have incorporated Pilates exercises into their cross training routines and can attest to all the wonderful benefits it has to offer.
Anyone can teach Pilates.
Pilates is a sophisticated exercise method so instructor education entails extensive knowledge in anatomy, special populations, as well as mat and equipment-based exercises, among others.
Pilates requires equipment.
While Joseph Pilates designed and created devices to further enhance the mat-based programs he has created, it’s not really necessary when you want to do Pilates.
If you want to, you can always opt to just do mat exercises. With consistency and dedication, you are sure to enjoy and reap the same benefits.