Pilates, the brainchild of physical trainer Joseph Pilates, has taken the fitness world by storm. Its unique blend of strengthening and mobility exercises, focus on breath control, and embrace of mind and body wellness have won countless advocates worldwide.
Joseph Pilates once said, “In 10 sessions, you’ll feel the difference. In 20 sessions, you’ll see the difference, and in 30, you’ll have a whole new body.” That’s a strong statement, but it speaks to the transformative power that regular Pilates practice can have.
At first glance, Pilates exercises may seem to target the core predominantly, and while this is undoubtedly true, they do a lot more than that. Pilates offers an array of movements that challenge the upper body, helping to build strength in this area. Let’s delve a little deeper.
Take, for example, the Pilates push-up. This move, a unique twist on the traditional push-up, begins in a standing position. The individual rolls down into a plank position, performs a push-up, and then returns to standing. This exercise works not just the abdominals but also the shoulders, chest, and triceps, offering a comprehensive upper-body workout.
Another excellent example is the ‘rowing series.’ These exercises, typically done on a Pilates reformer machine, mimic the motion of rowing a boat. They engage and strengthen the shoulders, arms, and back while also challenging the core for stabilization.
Always engage your core during these exercises, and ensure your form is correct to avoid injury. Pilates encourages precise, controlled movements, so pay attention to the alignment of your body. Pilates also emphasizes breath control – inhaling to prepare for a movement and exhaling to execute it. A trainer or fitness professional well-versed in Pilates can be beneficial when you’re first starting.
Pilates’ focus on mind-body connection, the variety of exercises, and its benefits for core and upper body strength make it a valuable addition to any fitness regimen. It’s not just about getting a workout; it’s about enhancing overall wellness, building strength, and improving mobility. And those are benefits that everyone can appreciate.
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried Pilates? How has it influenced your core and upper body strength? Do you have a favorite Pilates exercise for the upper body?