What is the secret of Pilates?  Unlike other exercises, it avoids too much
repetition.  Pilates exercises use fewer but more precise movements.  These
movements require a controlled body as well as form.  Pilates exercises are able
to reduce stress on the heart unlike just regular exercises.  Pilates has been
given the green light  for the “older set” as well as for inbound
Did you realize that Pilates has about 500 exercises?  Most of them are
performed using a mat.  This involves a series of calisthenic movements and are
done while lying downl
What exactly is Zone Pilates and how does it differ from regular Pilates? 
Regular Pilates does not make use of any sort of equipment while Zone Pilates
makes use of a sculptor as well as a foot mat.  Pilates makes use of the mind to
control the body.  Zone Pilates concentrate on different zones.
The wonderful thing about zone Pilates is that you will not have to do
hundreds of reps at one time. It is the surest and best way to whip the body
into show-off shape in the quickest way possible.  Zone Pilates is very easy! 
It places an emphasis on the core or “Power House” muscles to firm and shape
your body.
As you learn the secret of Zone Pilates, the mystery is taken out of the
whole workout program.  When you use perfect positioning coupled with added
resistance, it will guide you to faster and better results.  We must first
explain that the Power House muscles include the abs, buns, thighs and lower
back.  As you work from the Core’s deepest level, it will give you the results
that have made Pilates ever so popular.   With Zone Pilates, you are actually
targeting thecore muscles and therefore will attain more effective results that
you have ever seen!
Exactly how does Zone Pilates work? The thing that guides your body is the
Zone Pilates Sculptor.  It adds resistance to your muscles in order to
accelerate your results.  It also provides consistent resistance training. 
Multiple muscles are engaged at one time thus improving your workout
You will find the following equipment in just about every Zone Pilates
• Sculptor• Meal plan• Foot guide mat• All in one DVD
The real secret behind the Zone Pilates Sculptor is that it not only guides
your body but at the same time is an aid to adding muscle-toning resistance in
order that your results can be accelerated.  It also provides consistent
resistance training.
Zone Pilates also comes with a Foot Guide Mat.  It will make sure that your
body is always in perfect alignment with the Pilates position.  It takes all of
the guesswork out of exactly what position your body should be in.
1. Shoulder Bridge Prep
Lie flat on your back in the neutral spine position and have your knees
bent with your feet flat on the floor.  Your arms should be down by your sides
in a relaxed position.
Inhale.  Press down through the feet in order to lengthen your spine as you
press your hips up.  Now you will be in a bridge position on your shoulders. 
You hips, knees and shoulders should all be in one line.  Your hamstrings and
abdominal muscles should be well engaged.
Pause when you get to the top of the bridge and practice lifting one leg
off the exercise mat.  Then do the same with the other leg.  If you can do this
with ease, then you are ready to proceed to step 2.
• This may be as far as a lot of you will want to go with this exercise
until you build your abdominal and leg strength.
2. Extend One Leg
Inhale.  Fold one of your knees in toward your chest.  Now extend that leg
up towards the ceiling.  Except for the leg, the rest of your body should remain
still.  Your shoulders and neck should be relaxed.  You are doing the work with
you abdominal muscles and hamstrings.
3. Lower One Leg
Exhale.  Lower your leg.   Your knees should be side by side again.  As you
are lowering your leg, try lengthening it as much as possible.  The extended
leg, the knee of the supporting leg and your tailbone are all reaching for the
wall that is in front of you.  At the same time, your head is reaching away in
an opposing stretch.
If you are feeling strong and you have a stable position, then you can
proceed to the next step.
• If you are feeling a bit shaky at this point, then this would be a good
time to fold the working leg down to the floor.  Rest and repeat this step
4. Flex Kick Up
Inhale.  As you flex your foot, kick your leg up toward the ceiling once
more.  Make sure that your hips are even.  The hip of your working leg should
not be trying to lift up as you kick.
Exhale.  Keeping your foot slightly pointed, fold the working knee back to
the chest as you return your foot to the floor.
Roll down through the spine and return to the starting position.
This exercise should be repeated two to three times for each side.
5. Shoulder Bridge Notes
The Shoulder Bridge exercise should be controlled and flowing.  There
should also be easy coordination of breathing and movement.  This is a great
time to review the Pilates principles.  You should use these principles to
support an advanced exercise program.
Here is one more exercise to try you hand at:
Hip Lift Hamstring Curl
Lie flat on your back and have your ankles resting on the exercise ball. 
You legs should be straight and together and your feet should be flexed. 
Inhale.  As you exhale, lift your lower back and bottom off the mat until the
body is in a straight line.
Inhale and pull the ball towards your bottom.  As you exhale, push the
exercise ball away from you.  Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Here’s another tip to make this exercise a bit harder:  Keep the exercise
ball steady and do not let it sway.  Use your abdominal strength to control
movements.  Squeeze your hamstrings and glutes when you are in a plank

There are a range of DVD’s on sale at www.pilatesorstretchforbackpain.com
which have been recommended by a leading British
Please visit my blog at www.stretchorpilatesforbackpain.com

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The author, Steven Giles is a 55 year old former accountant who has been
suffering from back pain for several years and has found that Pilates provides
relief from this. He lives in Greater Manchester in the North-West of