Pilates offers many benefits when it is executed correctly and engages the correct principles.
There are six principles that help an individual receive the maximum amount of benefits from Pilates done on a mat, according to Jennifer Pohlman, author of “Simply Pilates.”
The first basic principle of Pilates is concentration. Concentration is important when doing Pilates because the mind allows the body to perform at the correct level to get the most out of the exercise. She said it has been stated that without the mental focus one must use during an exercise, only half of the exercise is done correctly.
Another principle, which helps guard the body against injury is through control. If someone has no control during a Pilates exercise, achieving the full benefit of each movement will not be executed correctly.
Since Pilates is done by using the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks the center, or powerhouse, of the body is important to keep engaged during an exercise. Pohlman said it is important to keep the powerhouse in control because all of the energy put into the movements stems from the center before it enters the extremities.
The optimal flow and grace, otherwise known as fluidity, is the fifth principle of Pilates. All Pilates movements are done in controlled flowing movements, so there is no static or rushed maneuvers when an exercise is being done.
Pohlman said another important principle for Pilates is precision because each movement has a particular purpose and each repetition should be done with high quality. If precision is executed correctly no muscle will be favored.
One of the most important principles is the breath. Pohlman said when one breathes with intention, it helps assist muscle control through inhaling and exhaling. Breath promotes purification and provides oxygen to the lungs and bloodstream, which ultimately energizes the system.
Pilates Mat Benefits
There are various benefits to practicing Pilates on a mat, according to Pohlman. When the form of exercise is executed correctly it can provide greater stability with the trunk and pelvic, along with improving the movement around the spine. She said when the control is maintained throughout the exercise it helps in preventing spinal injury, as well as managing any existing back and neck pain.
When one practices Pilates on a mat, it provides them with the opportunity to work at a pace that will benefit them the most. Since one can work at their own pace, an individual can build up to an entire exercise by adding more repetitions when their strength allows them. Pohlman said in Pilates less is always more, so a maximum of six to ten repetitions for every exercise is sufficient.
Exercises done on the mat also help in aiming to create muscle balance in the body, along with providing the body with greater coordination of movement and control of the abdomen and breath. If executing an exercise correctly it provides the body the opportunity to use the whole body, therefore developing a stronger, leaner muscle. If an exercise is not done with the entire body, individual muscle groups develop strength creating a bulkier build.
When Pilates is executed through basic awareness of posture, movements, and breathing, the essential principles are embodied and the maximum amount of benefits are obtained.
Fundamental Concepts to Follow While Practicing Pilates
Pohlman said when someone is doing Pilates on a mat, they should be aware of certain concepts to ensure their body is in the correct form. T
A neutral pelvis is a form that is utilized quite often during Pilates exercises. The pelvis, which is the junction between the torso and legs, is used during various movements. The neutral pelvis is accomplished when the pelvic bone is tilted and resting where the hip and back muscles remain relaxed. This can be recognized when the pelvic bone and hip bone are parallel to the floor. The neutral pelvis is ideal when strengthening the deep abdominals.
Breath control is also important to be aware of when exercising to reap the most benefits out of the exercise. The correct way to breathe is by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. This is accomplished when the side or back of the ribcage expands during an inhale and expands with the abdominal scooping upward to keep the abdominal strong and focused.
Get Out Your Mat and Start Exercising
The slow, controlled movements of Pilates can be executed on a mat in the privacy of your own home by utilizing a mat or the carpet that will keep the integrity of your spine. Once the form of the body is correct the health benefits are endless.