Pilates differs from traditional exercise by minimizing impact and putting more focus on muscle control, flexibility and body alignment. The exercises are therefore generally performed slowly with an increased emphasis on how the human body is achieving the task, rather than how many times, or with how much weight it can achieve the task. This includes paying particular attention to spinal position and muscle use, despite which limb in your body is moving.
To help you understand what Pilates about, you can try a simple exercise at home and see how your body responds.
Can you feel your stomach muscles working?
You spine has natural curves in it, which mean that most people will have a slightly rounded upper back, and a slightly arched lower back. When you perform a squat like in the above picture, these spinal arches should ideally change very minimally. The only way this can happen is for your core muscles to work together with other muscles to hold you spine relatively still. If that does not happen, you will see either a significantly bigger or smaller arch in the lower back.
What it means, and what you can do about it:
When the spine moves out of an ideal position, it will take on more pressure over time and may possibly cause or aggravate existing back pain.
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