The Pilates® Method

It’s called The Pilates® Method (“puh-la-tease”). It’s named after Joseph Pilates who developed it in Germany in the 1920s. Over time, it became a favorite exercise for dancers who wanted to strengthen their muscles and soothe their aches and strains. Now it’s the rage among those burned out on the gym scene.

Tarrin used to be a yo-yo exerciser — enthusiastic, then apathetic. She wound up accomplishing nothing.

Tarrin, “You know, work-out for two months, take three off. Two months, three months. And just never get anywhere.”

Then she turned to The Pilates® Method. Based on machines called reformers, these exercises rely on the gentle resistance of springs to help lengthen and strengthen muscles. Another key is balance.

Alice is a Pilates® Method instructor. “Muscles work in pairs, and to be free of pain and also to look the way you want look, the muscles have to be balanced.”

The Pilates® Method can also help people with chronic pain or serious injuries.

Alice, “We have people with chronic migraines, joint pain, low back. Most people come here because they haven’t found anything else that’s worked. This is their alternative. It’s almost their last chance.”

A typical workout takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Even though some of the machines look like adult jungle gyms, The Pilates® Method is not mindless playtime.

Alice, “In this work, you can’t have your mind wandering someplace else. To do the work correctly, you have to have your mind with your body, and that creates sort of a meditative state, too.”

In some dance classes where the dancers also do The Pilates® Method, common injuries have been cut by 90 percent. The Pilates® Method is becoming more popular.

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