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Written by Morgan Schaack, RD, LD
on July 11, 2019

Unlike high intensity interval training, pilates is a form of exercise that reduces impact on the joints through slow and controlled movements. Pilates is great for strengthening your muscles, improving flexibility, and bettering your posture. In most cases, pilates is a full body workout that helps you move better in your everyday life while preventing injury and improving mobility and flexibility.

A History of Pilates

joseph-pilatesSimilar to yoga, pilates was founded on the principle that you are working your mind and your body during this form of exercise. Pilates is a practice that dates back to the late 1800s. It is attributed to a man named Joseph Pilates who was a sickly child. With a strong determination to make his body healthy and strong, he developed the pilates technique which he touted as a workout that was just as much mental as it was physical. 

The Pilates Technique 

Pilates focuses on correct posture and alignment, breathing techniques, and concentration through slow and controlled flowing movements. All exercises focus on controlling the movement opposed to repetitions and muscle exhaustion. The idea behind pilates is that you are using a form of resistance (gravity or bands) to zero in on a particular muscle group. Your goal should be to focus on performing each movement correctly while staying in tune with your breathing.  

Similarly, pilate workouts are centered around the core (abs, lower back, hips, inner and outer thighs) as instructors believe this is the body's "powerhouse".

Types of Pilate Workouts 

PIlates-Reformer-with-AlisaThere are two types of pilate workouts—one that is focused on the floor using a thick mat and the other on a reformer, a sliding platform that has a foot bar, springs and pulleys to provide resistance.

If you take a pilates class on the mat, then you will most likely be using gravity as your form of resistance. Otherwise, classes on the reformer will use the springs and pulleys to add resistance. Both forms of exercise are great for building lean muscle and strengthening your core. However, if I had to pick one—I say go for a class on the reformer. 

Conclusion 

Pilates is offered at many studios in Augusta and is a great way to get active and build muscle, while minimizing impact on the joints. The concept of pilates is to build and strengthen the muscles opposed to bulking through strength training. Pilates will also increase your flexibility and improve your everyday mobility. By focusing on the movements at hand, pilates is said to improve mental capabilities and reduce stress—thus it is claimed to be a mental workout just as much as a physical one. 

To get started on your fitness journey today, sign up for one of our group fitness classes. 

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