Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method for the goal of conditioning both body and mind to function at peak efficiency such that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Pilates, originally referred to as Contrology, is the synchrony of body, mind, and spirit for the purpose of acquiring complete control over ones own body. The Pilates method adheres to the safe progression of physical fitness development: stabilization and centration of the joint, followed by muscular endurance, range of motion, strength, and culminating with dynamic movement.
The Pilates method is an excellent exercise discipline suited for all levels physical fitness. It acts as a great complement to the conditioning of any other sport as it is a system that improves upon functional fitness and foundational movement patterns. This exercise method aims to strengthen every muscle in the body to develop the body uniformly, correct wrong postures, restore physical vitality, invigorate the mind, and elevate the spirit.
The essence of a Pilates workout is quality of movement over quantity of movement. Pilates is an effective exercise discipline because it is a workout based on precise alignment and execution of movements. Although attention to detail is fundamental tenet of the method, a Pilates workout is far from stagnant. The goal of the Method is to dynamically move while maintaining this high level of precision.
Every Pilates exercise consists of stretch, strength, and control components. The stretch in the body is created by the strength of oppositional forces, while the mind must control the movement to keep joints aligned and centered.
The Pilates system utilizes a variety of apparatus with body-weight resistance and spring tension to teach the body to fire the appropriate muscles needed for a movement pattern. The exercises are performed on all planes of motion and are repeated in different orientations to facilitate learning, challenging and strengthening the body.
The Pilates method was created by Joseph Pilates as a means to rectify his own physical ailments and weaknesses. He spent his lifetime dedicated to studying human anatomy and animal movements to formulate the work with which he used to strengthen his own sick and frail body. He believed that through his system people could gain the mastery of their mind over the complete control of their bodies. Joseph Pilates' philosophies are stated in his book Return to Life through Contrology with which he calls for people to regain control over their lives and to empower themselves through physical independence.