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How Pilates Can Enhance Core Strength and Flexibility


Updated February 25, 2011

Pilates started out like many fitness trends, with many of us wondering if it would be around for the long-term. With our focus on connecting the mind and body and building a strong core foundation, it's not surprising that Pilates is not only still around, but growing each year. While Pilates is like yoga in many ways, it has a different focus and provides different results. If you haven't tried it, learn more about what Pilates is and what it can do for you.

What Is Pilates?

Pilates (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) is something like a cross between yoga, stretching and calisthenics. Pilates:

  • Enhances body alignment
  • Strengthens the abs, back and stabilizer muscles
  • Stretches, strengthens and relaxes your body
  • When modified, is gentle enough for pregnant women, yet challenging enough for advanced exercisers.
  • Incorporates exercises that target your abs, back and legs, making your body strong and flexible.

While Pilates helps with flexibility, posture and strength, it isn't much of a cardio or strength training workout, so it should be an add-on to a regular routine.

Pilates Movement

What makes Pilates different from Yoga is that it's more focused on stabilizing and strengthening the pelvic floor as well as the core. In many moves, you hold your torso in place while moving your limbs in different directions, which challenges your balance, core strength, stability and flexibility.

One of the core moves of Pilates is '100's which challenges your abs and back in a whole new way as you take your legs to a 45-degree angle while pressing your hands up and down. See my Yoga & Pilates workout for more ideas.

Next page: Find out how to get started with your Pilates workout.

Related Video
Pilates Exercise: The Hundred

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