What is the Pilates?

Pilates is a gentle exercise that combines deep breathing with physical exercises. In this article, you will discover what the pilates method, its principles, its benefits, how to choose the best Pilates class and some exercises to practice at home.

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Pilates is a physical training method that is inspired by yoga, dance and gymnastics. It is practiced on the ground, on a carpet, or with the help of apparatus.Specific gears are also used. These objects (balloons, springs, elastics) induce imbalances, which encourages the body to use a specific series of stabilizing muscles.

How does Pilates works

The exercises are laborious, but gentle: without sudden movements and impact shocks. They should never cause pain, nor overtax a muscle group. On the contrary, a complete program of exercises aims to put into action, alternately, all muscle groups, sometimes in unusual combinations. Particular emphasis is placed on the lower trunk exercises (abdominal and gluteal muscles), a region that Joseph Pilates, the creator of the method, called the “generator”.

We also put a lot on breathing. As they require a certain concentration, these exercises allow a good awareness of the muscular function and its control. The main principles The pilates method is based on 8 basic principles that must always remain present in the mind of the person who practices it:
concentration, control, center of gravity, breathing, fluidity, precision, sequence and isolation.

Abdominal, gluteus and dorsal muscles are used in most exercises. Good posture is essential for pilates.

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What are benefits of Pilates

Pilates is primarily used in a training perspective to improve strength, flexibility, coordination and the maintenance of good posture. According to practitioners, practiced regularly and over a fairly long period, it would act on the overall health of individuals. Here are some benefits they could enjoy.

To reinforce deep muscles

Pilates exercises involve the abdominal muscles, glutes, and back muscles, which strengthen the muscles in depth.

To have a flat stomach

The method helps to work the abdominal muscles, which promotes fat loss at this level. Plus, the other exercises are pretty physical, resulting in weight loss.


Relieve chronic back pain

In 2011, the results of a meta-analysis showed that the subjects in the pilates groups felt significantly less pain than those in the control groups with minimal interventions (usual doctor care or daily activities). On the other hand, no significant difference was observed between the pilates treatments or those of other forms of exercises.

Improve the overall health

Pilates helps correct and improve posture by toning and toning muscles, developing flexibility, eliminating stress through a breathing technique, improving coordination, and preventing injuries from bad posture.


Improve the quality of life of women with breast cancer

In 2010, a small randomized clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness of pilates training on the functional capacity, flexibility, fatigue, depression and quality of life of 42 women with breast cancer. All the women did daily exercises at home and walked 3 days a week. Half of them also had pilates. The authors conclude that a pilates exercise program is safe and appears to have positive effects on functional ability and quality of life and against depression.


Some Pilates exercises

Double stretch leg

Starting position: put both knees in the chest, both hands on the ankles, raised head, look at the navel and then inhale. At this point, stretch your arms and legs behind your head and exhale, bringing your knees to your chest and your hands to your ankles. Perform the exercise 10 times in a row. The more the legs are stretched horizontally, the more difficult the exercise will be.

Lower and lift

Starting Position: You are lying on your back with your legs straight up, both hands behind your head, your head elevated and your eyes on your belly button. Take a long breath as you lower your legs and exhale while bringing your legs up.


Lay down with your arms outstretched in front of you and your legs hip-width wide. Then take off the arms and legs and beat up and down with arms and legs. Inspire, exhale throughout the movement. To repeat 30 times.

More information

In the case of chronic pain, which can be attributed to serious problems, consult a doctor or physiatrist before undertaking such training.

Not being a brand, the method is not supervised by a control company. With its growing popularity, instructors are multiplying without their competence being guaranteed. It is therefore necessary to exercise some caution and ideally make sure that they are part of a credible association.

The training in Authentic Pilates is given by the New York Pilates Studio, affiliated with the United States Pilates Association. There are training centers in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in the world. The Pilates Method Alliance also certifies various training programs in several countries.

Workouts last 55 to 60 minutes. Various well-designed studios offer Pilates sessions. Some instructors also receive clients by appointment.

You might need to buy gear or accessories. You can easily find them at sport equipment store like decathlon.

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