The idea is simple, but profound: Pilates is an exercise method that conditions from the inside out – that’s what makes it so different from other exercise methods, and so effective. We start by strengthening the muscles of what you will hear called the “core”, the “center,” or the “powerhouse.” These are stabilizing muscles that enable us to hold the trunk in an optimal position while the movement muscles do their job. It’s working these stabilizing trunk muscles that gives Pilates the reputation for creating a nice, flat stomach.
While it all starts with the center, it doesn’t end there. All of the muscles of the body are then worked in a way that creates even development. For example, the quadriceps in the front of the thigh tend to be over developed and the hamstrings in the back of the thigh tend to be underdeveloped and tight. Pilates works to rectify imbalances like this so that there is uniform development of the muscles and therefore, even tension on the joint. This allows us more freedom of movement and also means that we’re less prone to injury. In addition, we work to develop long, lean muscles that are toned yet supple.
What does all of this mean? It’s great to know that you can perform your Pilates exercises with good form and without fatigue, but if doesn’t translate into the way you stand and move, it’s not going to do you much good in the long run. So that’s actually what it’s all about: Better posture and more freedom of movement. And, as a bonus, you get a great-looking body.
Except from « Perfect Pilates » by Martine Curtis-Oakes.