Pilates is known by some as ‘Intelligent exercise’ this is because Pilates is a full body movement system which utilises full mental engagement and concentration to stabilise some muscle groups whilst other muscle groups move in a coordinated manner.
Each exercise builds upon the correct alignment and articulation of the preceding exercises. Each class level steadily increases in challenge maintaining the stability; mobility; alignment and coordination with the breath to dramatically improve the quality, balance and grace of our movement patterns and our day to day lives. The rewards are many; practice persistence and patience were the watchwords of Joseph Pilates. These days it’s not just the world’s elite performers, dancers, sports persons who can receive top quality training, and incredible physique. Millions of people all over the world are practicing Pilates and experiencing the amazing benefits of this technique.
When taught correctly, Pilates is a safe, effective form of body conditioning. It teaches you to become more aware of how you sit, stand and move. Pilates is not just a set of exercises. They are movements that require precision, concentration and control. This in turn corrects any muscular imbalances and improves your posture. It teaches you to relieve stress and tension as well as lengthening and toning muscles. Pilates exercises also have a strong focus on strengthening the deep stabilizing muscles of the body, making it ideal for the prevention and treatment of back problems; one of the reasons why Pilates enjoys unique support from the medical profession and is at the leading edge of sports medicine today.
Pilates Exercises are based on the work of Joseph Pilates. Born in Germany in 1883, he was years ahead of his time. The importance he intuitively placed on fundamentals, such as core strength, would come to be clinically recognized in research studies carried out more than twenty years after his death.
Incorporating elements drawn from martial arts, body building, yoga and other techniques, Joseph first developed a series of mat work exercises, and then while interned in Lancaster after the outbreak of the First World War, he devised equipment, including bed springs and leather straps so that bedridden internees could still exercise. In the late 1920’s Joe and his wife Clara opened up the New York Pilates studio. While his first clients were from the boxing community, the proximity of the New York Ballet encouraged dancers to seek out Joe when they were injured.
The Story of Body Control Pilates
Lynne Robinson, then a history teacher was first introduced to Pilates in 1992 whilst living in Sydney, Australia. She had been recommended to take up classes as a solution to the severe back problems that she had experienced for many years. Lynne then continued and completed her formal Pilates training in London. After completing her training she began to realise that although Joseph Pilates had left us an amazing legacy of work, many of his original exercises were simply too challenging for the “average body”. With this in mind they started working on breaking the original exercises down, modifying them, working with physiotherapists and taking on board recent medical research to develop a very specific approach. Many of these exercises are unique to Body Control Pilates. Their goal was to make Pilates as accessible as possible for the average person, irrespective of age and fitness level. They succeeded in this and have become Europe’s largest professional body for Pilates teachers. Lynne co-founded Body Control Pilates in 1996.
Lynne has featured extensively in the media for her work with Liz Hurley during the later stages of her pregnancy. Her current and past clients include Sophie Dahl, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Hollie Willoughby, Hugh Grant, Pat Cash, Kyran Bracken, the Football Association and the England Cricket Team. Lynne has also worked with Chelsea Football Club on a weekly basis for three years, teaching players in the first team and reserve squads and working closely with the club's medical management to develop exercise programmes for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The National Standard for Pilates Teaching
Pilates has grown increasingly popular over the last number of years and as a result many exercise teachers incorporate Pilates exercises into their classes. Leading Pilates groups and government bodies working within the exercise industry have recognized the urgent need for a formal national standard that ensures the quality and safety of Pilates teaching and which helps Pilates enthusiasts check that their teacher is properly qualified. This standard, which is endorsed by SkillsActive and the Register of Exercises Professionals, came into effect in August 2005.
The national standard, which sits within the National Occupational Standards framework covers the teaching of Pilates mat work in groups and on a “one to one basis” and requires that all student teachers are given comprehensive training in the theory and background of Pilates; that they undertake an extended period of practical, supervised training; and that they are also able to assess clients and adapt exercises to the particular needs of that client. The Body Control Pilates Association has led the way in the process with its teacher training course becoming one of the first to be formally approved against the standard.