Strength is an important component of our day to day lives. Strength allows us to move without pain and live a long and enjoyable life. Imagine not being able to have the ability to play your favourite sport, carry your child, or even perform in your job. The strength you have in your body is vital for all these types of activities. So, what is strength?
Hypertrophy is a term given to the process where the muscles in our body become stronger. When we exercise, we seek to induce hypertrophy in our muscles. Resistance exercise is seen as the best way to stress the muscles enough to elicit hypertrophy and Pilates is one type of resistance training which has many benefits over other forms of resistance based exercise.
With its vast repertoire of exercise, Pilates excels at isolating specific muscles. Some of the muscles which are targeted in Pilates are the smaller, more stabilisation-based muscles. Improving the strength of these muscles have two major benefits – one being muscular balance, and the other improved joint stabilisation. By using the specific Pilates repertoire, muscles that are often neglected receive enough stimulation to grow, and this provides not only an aesthetic result but also an excellent base for the larger, more movement-based muscles to apply force on the body. The more forces that the musculo-skeletal system can handle, the stronger it will be.
Not only is Pilates great at targeting the smaller stabilising muscles, there are also exercises that can be used to target many muscles and joints at the same time. These ‘multi-joint’ exercises not only teach correct movement patterns (important for those who are trying to rehabilitate themselves from injury) but they also force the body to go into ‘hypertrophy’ mode by stressing several muscles in one movement. From a time management perspective, this is great as clients will achieve better results over a shorter period of time.
The combination of stabilisation-specific exercises along with the multi-joint muscle movements creates a well balanced program for muscular hypertrophy that is both time efficient but also sustainable for a lifetime. Pilates can be performed well into the later stages of life, leading to greater strength levels for the entirety of the person’s life span.