Seriously, I have tried them all. And it goes without saying when people say, "I need some Pilates in my life!"
What makes Pilates the best all around workout? Well for starters, there are not many (besides maybe yoga, and we'll get to that later) that work your entire body, uniformally, from head to toe, each and every time. PERIOD. "What?" you say. "You're crazy". Maybe so, but listen up. I have done almost every (honestly) workout out there. From marahon running to cycling, to spin class, to boot camp, from cross fit to cross country skiing, ice skating and downhill skiing, trx and soccer.... and the list goes on.
Now listen closer. I didn't say that in some of these I got so red in the face, or others I wanted to throw up, or that I cried like a baby in the hot tub at the end of the night....
What I said was, Pilates is the BEST all around workout from head to toe. Let me explain. When I say the "best", I suppose that is relative to the listening audience, true. In my world as a fitness and health expert, the BEST doesn't equate to the hardest, but it does equate to the smartest. The smartest, most effective, head to toe, using resistance and strength, stretch and length, body awareness, breath, control AND.... are you getting the point?
A little background (just a little so I don't have to hear you snore). Pilates was invented by a man. And his name was Joseph Pilates. Of Hunarian descent he trained in WWI in the English National Army. He invented the mat repetoire and the equipment exercises way back in the 1920's. Yes, you heard me correctly. He was a man ahead of his time. He was a rare genius.
Pilates rests on 7 core principles: Breath, Control, Precision. Flow, Rhythm, Alignment and Centering (core). The principles make up the base of every pilates exercise, whether it be on teh mat or on the equipment.
With the popularity as of late of one of Pilates' original pieces of equipment - the reformer, you can find Reformer classes in almost every city now worldwide. Make no mistake about it, Mr. Pilates called it the "Reformer" for a reason, but there is an entire world beyond the reformer. The Reformer is a powerful tool and a great intro to Pilates exercises in general but make sure to find a certified professional to take you through the Pilates program properly before venturing out on your own for its' maximum benefit.
Digging deeper into the world of Pilates, brings forth such other pieces of equipment called the Cadillac , the ladder barrel, the wunda chair, barrels, and small equipment such as therabands, hand weights, weighted balls, squishy balls, revolving disks, and the magic of the foam roller.
With many instructors such as myself, we began working with Pilates for various reasons yet many of us saw the benefits quickly. While "Pilates" gained in popularity, many fitness trainers, rehab specialists, yoga instructors and physical therapists began to apply Pilates principles into their fitness regime. And why not? The work is fascinating and goes way beyond those 7 basic principles....and yet, I have just begun to scratch the surface.
What makes Pilates the BEST all around workout ever? To sum it up, it's that it can be done by the young, (kids) and the old, (seniors. Women and Men; athletes to people who sit at a desk all day. From the prenatal mom-to-be, to the post natal women who wants to feel better in her body. The runner, biker, boxer, baseball player, football player, ballerina, lawyer, health professional, student and nanny. From the person avoiding back surgery to the guy who blew out his knee.
Clients find out about the benefits of Pilates and never go back to their other workouts, or , they supplement their existing workouts with Pilates and are noticeably stronger, faster, more agile, more comfortable, with less pain and generally feel better. There is a reason my clients have stayed for well over 10 years on the program.
Cheers to you Mr. Joseph Pilates! Long live your legacy.