Pilates and Pilates Core. What do they have in common. What are differences between them?

The Pilates method has never been patented. Joseph Pilates developed it for all his life. There have been few Joseph Pilates students who have decided to take a step forward and open their own schools where they have been teaching the Pilates method. They are teaching that way even today. Numerous teachers have been drawing inspiration from their work, considering it to be the most efficient Pilates teaching methods. Even though it is still developed, the main assumptions of the method in question remain the same.   SIX GOLDEN RULES OF PILATES   1. Readiness 2. Focus  3. Posture 4. Proper breathing patterns 5. Using the Belt of Strength 6. Maintaining balance   In a book by Lynne Robinson entitled " Pilates Exercises " focusing on the New Age training, one can read as follows: " Creating the so-called ‘Belt of Strength’ – as it was called by Joseph Pilates – is connected with the ability to stabilize lower back, pelvis, and shoulder blades in relation to the chest. This action has to be mastered before proceeding to further exercises." Over eighty years ago, Joseph Pilates made a fascinating discovery. He noticed that while consciously pushing the navel towards the spine, there was the sensation of a better protection of the lower back. Pilates was not a medical expert, so he could not have known that the muscle surrounding the navel was called tranversus abdominis. However, he could phenomenally sense human body and thanks to that, he introduced the “holding in the stomach” rule to all of his exercises. Since that time, the level of knowledge has changed considerably. According to the results of most recent medical examinations, the torso is stabilized best when the pelvis fascia muscle is stimulated, followed by lower stomach muscles. In 2001, Miss Lynne Robinson published a book, in which she wrote „Since that time, the level of knowledge has changed considerably”. Now, it is 2013 and our understanding of human body is much better than it was in 2001. Miss Robinson is a world class expert developing and amending basic assumptions of the Pilates Method. As long as 10 years ago, the Pilates Method with its “Belt of Strength creation” principle was exceptionally popular amongst physiotherapists and practitioners. At that time, numerous studies concerning the muscle corset were carried out basing on the classic Pilates Method and its assumptions. Examinations are still carried out. However, nowadays we know that stabilization is much more complex and pushing one’s navel towards the spine may not be enough to rebuild the “Belt of Strength”. Few months ago, few examiners sent notifications to chosen Pilates school operating in the USA. The owners of many of them have not replied. One of them did. You can check his opinion at: http://www.stottpilates.com/email-blast/corporate/2857-mcgill/ Joseph Pilates was a genius of his times. If he lived today, many classic Pilates model followers would surely be stunned. Many of his exercises are great and should be taken advantage of . I personally do not know better ones, but we must remember that we have to constantly expand our knowledge and adjust our tools in such a way not to harm our clients either now or in the future. For many years, I have been a true fan of the classic Pilates Method. My perennial experience and observations made have forced me to try to understand the concept of stabilization. It has occurred not to be as difficult as I have expected. All one has to do is to abandon fixed clichés and myths that I personally try to bust now. I do not teach by imposing straightforward rules on my students. I constantly broaden my horizons as I know that what I consider to be valid now can become irrelevant in the future. Pilates Core - understand the difference " CORE IS NOT THE POWER GENERATOR. THE POWER IS GENERATED IN ONE’S HIPS AND PASSED ON BY THE CORE "  Stuart McGill Spine stability – what is that?   It is impossible to stabilize one’s spine effectively while not being aware what that stabilization is. It has virtually nothing in common with exercises involving an exercise ball and trying to maintain balance on it. It is simply the ability to keep body balanced, without focusing on spine stability. Nevertheless, numerous cases of unstable spine are connected with improper posture and compression intolerance. Performing dynamic exercises on an exercise ball increases spine compression during its bend. The said fact may limit one’s progress – it is rather a poor exercise-related choice, aside from certain cases. The real spine stability is achieved by balanced stiffening – by properly strengthening muscles surrounding it, such as: rectus abdominis, quadratus lumborum, latissimus dorsi, extensors of longissimus, iliocostalis, and multifidus. By focusing on a single muscle, there is no possibility to improve one’s stability. One develops a habit, due to which muscles in general become weaker, which in turn results in poorer spine balance. It is impossible to train such muscles as transverse abdominal muscle in isolation. People do not use them in isolation in everyday life. You cannot train those muscles while at the same time neglecting others – then, you will cause an excessive spine load, lack of balance, and muscle insufficient performance (McGill, 2009).  My training programs are based on recreating proper motoric patterns (muscle tension, length, and strength) by taking into account the stabilization of the lumbar and pelvic complex. We work in closed chains with or without partial body load not to disrupt basic patterns in motoric memory banks. Further Pilates exercises are introduced only when we are sure that the pattern will not be disrupted (for example, before exercises engaging thighs, we work on a short bar to recreate the proper functioning of the gluteus medius muscle). Many Pilates exercises mobilize more muscle groups. We have to think what may happen if one of the elements fails. Will we be able to just finish the exercise? No, we will not. By repeating an exercise, one can master it, but our body is ruthless. We will be happy, we will reach our goal, but muscle structure will be disrupted. Effects of such a state of affairs will be visible many years after deciding to quit training. There is no need to take such a risk. The majority of classic Pilates exercises are very efficient. However, you have to prepare for them and understand that stability cannot be achieved by „pushing the navel towards the spine”. I do not know a better method that would be so beneficial in terms of restoring proper motor system movements. However, we have to take proper advantage of the tools we are given. Author: Anna Ścisłowska

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