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Transversus Abdominus And Core Training Part I





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In Depth Analysis of Pilates Part II

Fri, 31 Jul 2009 18:11:00 +0000

BACK TO PILATESIn his system, Pilates stressed the importance of using fewer sets of few repetitions of compound movements that require significant motor skill and coordination (like well-organised strength training!), as opposed to the prolonged repetition of fairly automatic movements (like modern aerobics and jogging!). His reason for this was that endless repetition of unchallenging reflexive routines tends to decrease the degree of mental involvement, whereas carefully executed sets of very few repetitions of skilled movements tend to offer a better balance of mind and body training.As we have noted above, all of these principles were abundantly evident in the work of Sandow, Krayevsky and other early masters. The major difference is that Pilates entered the world of dance to astutely promote his commercial career there and stressed the sale of his gymnastics-derived devices, while the other fitness leaders of that era allowed clients to use anything and everything that might be appropriate for any given individual, thereby laying the foundations for all modern fitness centres anf gyms.In one respect, we should be grateful that the Pilates adaptations of the conditioning methods of his time has now offered a way out of the frequently repetitive and mindless militaristic group fitness classes. Not that the latter cannot play a valid role in the attainment of some aspects of general fitness, but they generally tend to be rather impoverished in terms of broader mind-body enhancement of strength, power, flexibility and motor control (unless the instructor happens to be far more creative and unconventional than the average).Moreover, the likelihood of injury in Pilates type exercises tends to be far less than in most forms of aerobics class. However, the Pilates neglect of strong ballistic movement, high impact, heavier loading and high power output movements with loaded implements in free space also create deficits in all-round human development.Even if Pilates does not actively add weight training methods to its repertoire of activities, it would go part of the way towards reducing these deficiencies by involving some of the Specific Activation and Specific Relaxation methods from PNF, as well as some of the pattern variations from that discipline.In fact, if you are fairly well versed in the principles and procedures of PNF, and you are able to modify the traditional Knott-Voss activities to include pulley machines, some gymnastics apparatus, dumbbells, elastic bands, physio balls and a variable bench, you will be able to offer a very extensive form of challenging and productive training that Pilates will struggle to rival. If you are willing to include a few methods from the world of resistance training (Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilding) and martial arts, then your system will go far beyond what Pilates can ever offer.Before anyone extolls the originality and uniqueness of all that Pilates used in his training system, we have to recall that a very sincere Pilates inadvertently came upon or adapted patterns and procedures that mirror some of the methods used in PNF and weight training, as pioneered by other hugely influential fitness gurus who grew up in the European arena of late 19th and early 20th century training. This does not diminish its value, but it simply serves to place his training methods in a far more balanced light.After all, there are still those who state categorically that(http://bodymind.net/q&a.htm):This could not be further from the truth, as we have noticed in examining the fitness world into which Pilates was born. If anything, the fitness leaders of that time were more holistically inclined than the average fitness instructor of today (e.g., see Webster “The Iron Game”, 1976).In his 1945 book of exercises, entitled “Return to Life Through Contrology”, Pilates wrote that “Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gr[...]



In Depth Anaylsis of Pilates Part I

Fri, 31 Jul 2009 18:10:00 +0000

There has been so much discussion on the resurgence of Pilates methods of training that I thought it might be helpful to write a lengthy commentary on this conditioning system, based on my own exposure to Pilates training, various Pilates books and dozens of websites (almost all of which are commercial advertisements for classes or certification).In all of these sources, I was unable to find any quality research which supports the claims of Pilates or shows its superiority over other well-structured multifaceted varied systems of conditioning. All claims to its excellence are based upon comparison with limited bodybuilding regimes and anecdotal testimonials by clients who have had little exposure to the wide world of modern strength science. If there is anyone who can quote some definitive peer-reviewed research, please share it with us.PILATES HISTORYJoseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 and grew up in England, where he was interned during World War I and used this time to become a nurse. His frail childhood apparently inspired him to pursue a path of lifelong fitness that led him to take up bodybuilding and several other sports to become a competent skier, diver, boxer, and gymnast.It is apparent that the time spent in those old gymnastics and bodybuilding training halls laid many of the foundations for the design of his special training machines and his training methods. While working as a nurse, he inventively used the springs and frames of hospital beds to make variations of what he had seen used by gymnastics and physique coaches of his time. There can be little doubt that he, like so many young men of his time were impressed by the innovative approaches of training legends such as Eugene Sandow, who consulted for many kings, queens and heads of State at the time.During the 1920s, he moved to New York, where he opened his first formal studio, which ultimately attracted well-known dancers such as George Ballanchine and Martha Graham to train there regularly, which provided an invaluable marketing boost to his career in the USA. Since his work grew up in the world of gymnastics, an aesthetic art which has strong allegiances with ballet, it obviously received sympathetic support from the emerging dance community in the USA, which, until that time was vastly overshadowed by the dancing giants of Europe.Consequently, his methods became very well publicised in the dance and drama community and, until recently, have remained confined largely to these same communities that spread his method in its earliest days. Also not surprising is that some of his latter day disciples have astutely discerned that any intriguing apparently novel systems of fitness can make a fortune in the fitness and shape gullible West. In this regard, Romana Kryzanowska, his one Master Teacher, who, after Joseph’s death, was asked by his wife, Clara, to continue with Joseph’s teachings and today she serves as the guru of the Pilates movement.SOME PILATES METHODS & MACHINESThe following website summarises many of the Pilates methods and machines, giving photographs of devices that clearly have been derived from the world of gymnastics and early fitness training, as anyone with a reasonable background in gymnastics history and coaching will tell you:This site introduces Pilates thus: http://www.pilates-studio.com/about.htmOf course, this same sort of preface may be applied to many different fitness and health training regimes, especially those drawn from the world of scientific strength training (see, for example, the major aspects of this field by skimming through the Table of Contents of Siff & Verkhoshansky “Supertraining” at this site: http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/8682/siff.htm).High Chair (Modified Gymnastics Staking Pommel)The Reformer (A modified rowing trainer with pulleys)The Mat (A fat mat!)The Pedipull (A modified pulley machine)The Magic Circle (A 14? sprung-steel ring with cushioned handles)The Cadillac (Modified type of Parallel and Horizontal Bars)The Low Chair (Modified Gymnastics Staking P[...]