Benefits and Levels of Pilates

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pilates_mainBenefits of Pilates

The ‘Pilates method’ can be done by a wide range of people because it is easily adaptable for different populations, conditions and even injuries. Benefits from practicing Pilates include:

  • Increased strength
  • Longer and leaner muscles
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased grace

Levels of Pilates

Depending on your level of fitness, the amount of time that you have done Pilates and your goals, there are three levels of Pilates at which you can practice.

Pilates Level Who it’s Good for and What You’ll Learnr Equipment Used and Focus of Exercises
Beginner Anyone new to Pilates, regardless of physical fitness level, activity level, or overall health, including those recovering from injuries, as well as people at an age where bone density is decreasing and joints are frail. Benefits at this level include:

  • Learn concept of “the powerhouse” and to find and use deep core muscles (transverse abdominals and multifidi) versus the “surface” superficial musculature
  • Mind-body awareness, noticing physical imbalances or weaknesses in your body, noticing postural and movement tendencies that limit you, learning to feel your body on a deeper level
  • Learn basic sequence of exercises to build your powerhouse muscles and that align and lengthen your spine and hips
Equipment Used:

  • Primarily Mat and Reformer
  • Some Cadillac
  • Basic Wunda Chair
  • Some peripheral equipment for stretching and to build posture awareness
  • The Wall

Exercise Focus:

  • More back flexion (rounding) to build powerhouse
  • Minimal extension (or arching backward)
Intermediate Depending on initial level of fitness and body awareness, intermediate is usually for people who have had 10 to 20 lessons. People who choose to make Pilates a serious ‘practice’ will practice at the intermediate level.  Benefits at this level include:

  • Your body feels stronger and longer (especially your stomach and back) and you have noticeable mind-body awareness
  • Better understanding of how to initiate every exercise and daily movement from the powerhouse
  • More awareness of imbalances in strength, alignment and posture, and increased understanding of how to correct them through the exercises
  • Experiencing the rhythm and flow of the exercises, working at a faster pace, and therefore with an increased heart rate and circulation
Equipment Used: All apparatuses
Exercise Focus:

  • New exercises learned, requiring more powerhouse strength
  • Rotation through the spine added
  • More spine extension
  • More upper body exercises
Advanced Athletes, dancers, acrobats, or long-term Pilates practitioners with healthy, muscular, limber bodies and strong bones. Also, those who have a very developed powerhouse who want to take their practice to the deepest level.  Benefits at this level include:

  • Very deep mind-body connection
  • Pilates becomes cardiovascular
  • Diversity of challenging exercises that keep the workout fresh and exciting
  • Satisfaction of a very strong, pain-free, beautiful body and great posture
  • Flow is maximized; Pilates becomes beautiful to watch and feels very powerful and exhilarating to do
Equipment Used: All apparatuses
Exercise Focus:

  • New, more acrobatic exercises added that require a very strong, healthy body and powerhouse
  • Full hour-long workouts can be performed on one piece of equipment (or not) because of the knowledge of the entire Pilates system (over 500 exercises to choose from)
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