The Pilates method has grown a lot since the creation of Contrology in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates. It has been adapting to the different demands of users, and has introduced tools and strategies to improve it. We are going to see the different types of Pilates that have been emerging and which one can be adapted more for you.
Origins and context
Joseph Pilates introduced this type of low-impact exercise so that anyone could benefit from it. Initially it was intended for dancers, but it was expanding to different populations.
One of the main reasons why the population performs Pilates is due to chronic low back pain, since it is a common and disabling condition that can be alleviated with the practice of this discipline. It is also commonly used for rehabilitation and injury prevention.
However Contrology, which was its initial name, is defined as a system that develops the body in a uniform way, corrects incorrect postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit. So it is suitable for all audiences.
The six fundamental principles of Pilates
The Pilates training is a form of mind and body that demands stability and strength of the central area of the body, or power house as they call it, in addition to pay attention to the muscular control, posture and breathing. It focuses on six basic principles :
- Centering : Squeeze the muscle center of the body located between the pelvic floor and the rib cage during exercise.
- Concentration : Cognitive attention is required to perform the exercise.
- Control : Managing posture and movement during exercise
- Accuracy : Perform the technique correctly, without errors.
- Flow : Transitioning between exercises in a smooth and connected way.
- Breathing : Introducing and expelling air into and out of the lungs in coordination with exercise.
Types of Pilates
In its beginnings Pilates only had one type: Pilates on the floor. It progressed and incorporated other types, introducing different elements and modalities. Balls, rings and elastic bands were added to their sessions, all within the Pilates on the floor.
Then he went further and introduced specific machines to get where the pilates on the floor did not allow to reach. The best known and most widespread machines are the reformer, cadillac, saddle and barrel. And of those two types, Pilates on the floor and on the machine, some others have emerged that we are going to see below.
Pilates on floor
In this type of Pilates exercises are used with our own body weight against gravity. We can add some elements such as a fitball to increase instability, or add more load with rings and elastic bands, although these materials are generic and are not typical of Pilates.
It is the most widespread due to its ease of access and low cost. If you are looking for where to start, it can be the first step, whatever your level, since you can adapt the exercises to your ability, there are even Pilates classes for a beginner level or an advanced level.
It may also be interesting for you if you are looking for online assistance to Pilates classes since it does not require any material, beyond the basic mat and some accessory that takes up little space at home.
Pilates on machine: reformer, cadillac, chair and barrel
In Pilates on a machine, in addition to using the force of gravity against our own weight, different machinery is added that normally has some moving part. Depending on your level, your budget and your location, it may be more interesting for you or less machine pilates.
It is usually a Pilates with greater control and supervision by the instructors, since it involves classes with fewer people. With the use of machines you can do almost everything we do in Pilates on the floor, but with extra variations thanks to the incorporation of these machines.
You can choose a pilates on any of the following machines if you want a more personalized approach, and if you have a center in your environment where you can do it.
The reformer machine is a stretcher with different grips and supports provided with a system of springs that are the ones that generate the tension in the movement. If we add a tower on each side to this stretcher, it gives rise to another Pilates machine : the Cadillac.
The cadillac is a stretcher that has two towers on the sides and that are joined at the top, in a way that forms a kind of cage. In it we can perform all the exercises that we did in the Reformer, but also many other exercises in suspension, using those towers.
The Pilates chair is done on a machine, which as its name suggests, is similar to a chair, but with the pedals subject to more springs used to increase or remove resistance.
The fourth, and last machine that is part of the most used is the barrel. It consists of a trellis connected to a circular barrel-shaped structure through which we can perform different Pilates exercises.
Pilates in water
Aqualates or Aquapilates are some Pilates names that we can practice in the water, or using a floating mat on top of it, which will serve as an unstable element.
It is a different option that you can choose if you need an extra point of fun to join the sport, if you are a lover of the beach or the pool, or in those times like the one that comes where you want to sunbathe.
Another element of nature, air, is used to give rise to a new type of Pilates: aerial pilates. In this case we use a fabric that is attached to the ceiling and serves as a support for the exercises.
It continues to comply with the basic principles of Pilates, but giving a new twist to this discipline to make it attractive for those people, as in the case of Pilates in water, looking for extra motivation to practice exercise.
Hot Pilates or Pilates with elevated temperature
Continuing with the mixture of striking elements, the practice of Pilates arises in a sauna-like room with rooms at about 35 degrees and high humidity. This mixture is similar to that used in yoga with Bikram yoga where this discipline is performed at high temperatures and humidity.
If you are a regular at the sauna and you like to enjoy this type of stimulation, it may be your right Pilates option. In this way you will increase the amount of exercise carried out during the day, making use of the time that you already did in the sauna.
Pilates for pregnant women
We have already seen how Pilates has adapted to all the elements: earth with Pilates on the ground; water with aqualates, air with aerial yoga; and fire with hot yoga. Just as elements are modified, the target populations can be modified.
This is how Pilates for pregnant women arises where this type of exercise is performed taking into account the specific characteristics of a pregnant woman, and preparing her for childbirth and for later recovery.
Clearly this type of Pilates is for you if you are pregnant, or if you have just given birth, since it combines the benefits of Pilates with the considerations to take into account in this population.