Pilates: An Exercise Method for a Perfect Body

Pilates: An Exercise Method for a Perfect Body

In recent years in Greece the method of training called Pilates has become more and more popular. In other countries it has been popular for decades, but in our country it is something new. Therefore, it would be good to explain exactly what it is, but also what is not ...

  • First, Pilates is a type of exercise that requires excellent working with the mind. So it takes care of the body and the mind.

  • Second, it treats the body as a whole, rather than focusing on individual parts. In this way it creates a shapeless body without injuries.

  • Third, in addition to muscle strengthening, it emphasizes alignment, flexibility and breathing. That is, it helps the body to grow in harmony, not to inflate certain muscles.

    In conclusion, we would say that Pilates is a system of stretching and strengthening exercises focused on the torso. At the same time, it is an ideal way to recover from injuries and chronic diseases.

    The inventor of the method used to say that "in 10 lessons you start to feel the difference, in 20 lessons you feel the difference, in 30 lessons you have a whole new body."

The story of the inspirer 

The method was discovered by the German Joseph H. Pilates (1883 - 1967), who had a father of Greek descent.

Pilates was a sick child suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatism. That is why he devoted his entire life to overcoming these "disadvantages". From the age of 14 he could draw anatomical diagrams. He studied martial arts, wrestling, yoga, instrumental gymnastics, skiing and boxing.

From his own experience, he concluded that health problems were due to modern lifestyles, poor posture and problematic breathing.

Shortly before World War I he moved to England. There, during the war, he was imprisoned by the British authorities, along with other German citizens. At the time of his detention, he began developing an integrated system of physical exercise, which he called "Contrology".

Some prisoners were bedridden because of their wounds, and could not follow his exercises. So Pilates thought about using spring beds to workout and discovered spring resistors!

After World War I he returned to Germany. But by the mid-1920s, he disagreed with the way things had gotten in his country and moved to the US.

In New York, he began teaching a method that focused on the central muscles of the body (back and abdomen), which help balance and support the spine.

After his death, his students continued to teach his techniques, giving his name to this method.


«Interior Shower»

To support his technique, Pilates emphasized proper breathing. Even when exercising hard, only 50% of the air in the lungs comes out by exhalation.

So he thought that the air left in our lungs would multiply harmful germs and try to cleanse the lungs to cleanse the whole body.

He was even used to likening breathing techniques to an indoor shower. As he put it, this method purifies the bloodstream in the same way that "a strong thunderstorm freshens the water of a stationary stream".


It develops the body harmoniously

In trying to describe how the exercises work, we would say that they start from the abdominal workout and extend to the extremities.

Proper self-concentration is important. That is, we focus our thinking on where we want to perform the exercise, to get it right. That is, we put the weight not so much on the strength with which we do the exercises or on the number of repetitions, but on their flawless execution. To put it simply, we need to feel every muscle training.

We adjust the inhalations and exhalations to better oxygenate the blood and to control the rhythm.


How to workout

The instruments used have nothing to do with what you see in gyms. Instead of weights, resistors are applied to springs, avoiding vibration and straining the body. These springs come in many forms, they can be small and simple or more complex, such as a specially designed table for more advanced situations. Some exercises are done with large elastic balls, which play the role of springs.

Another big difference from classical gymnastics is that you don't follow the movement of the machine, but you create the movement yourself. Many exercises are done on the floor, without any instruments.

In terms of aerobic exercise, Pilates probably burns less calories. But because it harmonizes with the body, it makes it even more beautiful.

In closing, we need to dispel a bourgeois myth that Pilates is primarily for women. His exercises are for both men and women. There are exercises that offer more intense muscular strength and exercises that focus on flexibility.

Each program is individually tailored, depending on the trainee's physical condition and what he or she wants to achieve. At least in the early stages, the exercises should be performed under the strict supervision of the instructor, because as we said it is important to do them correctly.

If you would like to learn more about the pilates method and how to become a therapist yourself, join here and join a large and remarkable community of therapists!



-The Pilates method: history and philosophy, journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, October 2001, Volume 5, Issue 4, Pages 275–282.

-The effects of pilates training on flexibility and body composition: An observational study, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, December 2004, Volume 85, Issue 12, Pages 1901-2082.


By Dr Angel,

Αggeliki Koskeridou

Holistic Doctor – Counseling Psychotherapist

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

MSc Health Psychology


insta: dr_aggelikikoskeridou_official 

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