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The History of Pilates

*The History of Pilates

In order to understand the basics of Pilates and why it can work for you, you first need to understand where Pilates came from. Pilates was originally formed in Germany by a man of the same name, Joseph Pilates.

Joseph Pilates had many health afflictions as a child. The boy wanted to overcome the hardships he faced. He hoped exercise would not only boost his morale, but also his bodyís defense against his illnesses.

The year was 1880 when Joseph Pilates was born. During his youthful years, he tried a number of things to try to strengthen his body. After several failed attempts to create the perfect program for his frail form he came up with the series of movements we now know as Pilates. However, it wasnít until the 1920ís that the movements Joseph Pilates created were truly perfected.

One of the things that make Pilates so great is that the movements and exercises you do seek to give you strength and flexibility, but not to build any serious amount of bulk to your frame. Pilates is not about building muscle, it is about working with your body and not against it. You need to be able to take what you have been given and make that work for you before attempting anything else and that is the philosophy that Pilates was founded on.

As you learn more about Pilates you will find that it is designed for each personís body. Pilates will align your bones through a series of movements and this will allow your body to work with less strain thanks to the activity of exercise you are achieving.

Pilates appeals to a number of people. It doesnít matter what type of person you are or what level of training your body is at. Pilates can help you improve your bodyís natural functioning as well as help boost confidence and your mental wellness.

The most wonderful thing you will discover about Pilates is that you donít have to suffer through the movements to feel better. You are training your body with intelligent design and therefore you will not need to work twice as hard, as you may have to do with other work out programs.

Pilates was set up to create balance within your body. This will help you to realign your bones and can also help to improve your posture. Another positive feature is the lean muscles that you will form thanks to your workouts.

Pilates is excellent exercise for everyone no matter their shape or size. In fact, many videos and exercise clubs have created classes for people with disabilities, arthritis, general strength or weight loss issues, different strength issues, and even for pregnant or birthing mothers.

About the Author

Shannon Beaty has been practicing Pilates for over 10 years, and has been a Pilates instructor for over 6 years. She teaches at the Johnthan Club in Loas Angeles and oversees their entire Pilates Program.

© All rights reserved. You may fr*eely distribute this article. The copyright and this resource box must be included.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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