Read here 10 interesting unknown facts about Pilates!
1. “Mr. Joe Pilates, the inventor, intended it to be about the art of control, an exercise method where you control your body, mind, and muscles,” says Alycea Ungaro, personal trainer and founder of the Real Pilates studio in New York City. The moves he designed focus on core muscles in the “powerhouse” (abs, pelvic floor, lower back), proper alignment of the spine, and awareness of breath.
2. Pilates doesn’t leave anything to chance, so get ready to be organised and extremely precise. To have great results it is necessary to do everything in the right way. This is why you should learn about the posture, the breathing, the movement, the number of repetitions, etc. from a qualified teacher.
3. Breathing is the key. We are not talking about just ‘breathing’. Pilates involves slow movement and a series of exercises along with attention to proper breathing techniques. If you didn’t know, a lot of stress is laid on exhaling by wriggling out all the air from your lungs, while practicing Pilates. It is said to be much like ‘squeezing out a wet towel’. Any form of Pilates will not be complete without conscious breathing in and breathing out.
4. “Resistance training, the essence of Pilates, is scientifically proven to create lean muscle and rev up your metabolism to burn calories all day long,” Ungaro explains. “Cardio is great; but the second you hop off the bike or the treadmill, you stop burning calories. With Pilates, the second you’re done, you start burning calories.”
5. Joe Pilates’ original sequence of 34 mat exercises is still going strong in studios nationwide. The hundred, the roll-up, single-leg stretch, double-leg stretch…some of us can recite these in our sleep. “Trends like Yogalates and Piloxing (Pilates-boxing) tend to be short-lived,” Ungaro says. “Now I see a return to authentic Pilates, the 34 original mat exercises from soup to nuts.”
6. One of the biggest misconceptions about Pilates is that it is a form of yoga. That is really not right as Pilates is a system by itself, developed by the physicist Joseph Pilates, who infused his belief that both mental and physical health is interrelated in this physical fitness system. This means that there’s nothing better than this if you’re willing to exercise both your concentration skills and your body strength.
7. Pilates caters to everyone. There is a common misconception that Pilates is only for women. If even you think so, get with the times! Pilates was invented by a man and Pilates is for everyone and caters to the needs of beginners, and experts.
8. Besides his mat exercises, Joe Pilates also loved to tinker with gear to design a slew of equipment that goes way beyond the ubiquitous reformer. “He made the original ‘magic circle’ from the steel bands around beer kegs,” Ungaro says. His other devices include the Wunda chair, the Guillotine, the Spine Corrector and the Ped-a-Pull, all found at Real Pilates and many other studios around the country. “If you haven’t worked out on these,” says Ungaro, “you simply haven’t experienced all Pilates has to offer.”
9. “Contrology” is Pilates’ second name. When Joseph Pilates was working on developing Pilates as a system of physical fitness, he also termed it ‘Contrology’. Can you think of a reason why? It’s not rocket science. He believed that whoever is practicing Pilates should be in constant control of each and every movement. What’s the benefit? Experts say that it results in enhanced muscular control of the back, limbs and abdominal muscles.
10. Madonna, Uma Thurman, Kyra Sedgwick, Christy Turlington, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Claire Danes, Molly Sims and Russell Brand all rely on Ungaro for power Pilates. “Edie Falco loves the classic mat exercises,” she says. “Christy likes the short spine massage on the Reformer.”