What is a Pilates Body?!
Published on: 07/08/18
What is a Pilates Body?!
Often, you’ll see images of the ‘perfect Pilates body’ such as the one below, in magazine and adverts. But is this truly what a Pilates body should look like…?
There are certain ideals associated with the idea of a Pilates body and there are tangible results that can be gained from practicing Pilates but does this mean you’ll end up with washboard abs? Or should end up with washboard abs?
When Joseph Pilates developed this method he did not mention long, lean muscles or flat abs like we see advertised in many publications these days. Instead, he was interested in the whole body; his principles were to breath well, improve whole body health and vitality which would naturally result in balanced muscularity, better posture and tones muscles.
There is a misconception that strengthening your core muscles will sculpt a 6-pack. It is fair to say that many people want to target their tummy area but some of the most defined looking abs aren’t able to complete the fundamental core exercises in a Pilates class. Abs doesn’t necessarily equal strong!
Visualise a tree; big, thick, strong trunk from the outside with lots of branches on top. Now imagine if this tree was hollow; nothing holding it up from the inside, no internal support – it looks strong but wouldn’t take much to push it over and fall down.
Your body is like a tree, it needs to be strong from the inside out to support your branches (limbs). Pilates helps to develop core strength from the muscles around your spine and working outwards through the layers of muscles developing strong muscles without bulk.
A Pilates body can be defined as a strong and flexible spine; Pilates exercises are designed to make sure the spine is well-supported by the core muscles and all joints are aligned. You’ll find that the exercises in the repertoire strengthen, lengthen and articulate the spine which why Pilates is associated with aiding those with back pain.
“a man is as young as his spine” J. Pilates
Some of the aesthetic benefits from increasing your core strength can include:
- Toned, lean muscles
- Trimmed waist
- Toned abdominals
- Improved posture
There are no rules about how a Pilates body has to look like or be able to do. This is what I love about the method; it is truly suitable and appealing for everyone. Pilates does not discriminate and nobody even us instructors do not look the same making the ‘Pilates Body’ so diverse.
“The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power” Joseph Pilates
An ideal Pilates body should be functional; to move with grace, ease and efficiency. This requires strong muscles, flexibility and good posture helping you to become centred and balanced in your everyday movements.