Pilates Anatomy (Anglais) Broché – 1 mai 2011
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It's no surprise that this is a beautifully illustrated and well-written guide to how Pilates affects our musculature considering that one of the authors, Rael Isacowitz, has studied for three decades with the first-generation of students who had been directly taught by Joseph and Claire Pilates. Furthermore, this text has been based on one of two books written by Joseph Pilates himself, Return to Life Through Contrology.
This direct-lineage is important if you value authenticity. Pilates is wildly popular because it works. Getting information from the source is crucial to understanding how and why it works and making it work more effectively. Students of Reiki know that their teachers will authenticate how many "removes" they are from the originator of the techniques. Knowing you are getting information and counsel from someone who is only "two removes" from Pilates himself is important in the same way.
The other author, Karen Clippinger, brings over three decades of experience in teaching anatomy, devoting more than half of that time to bringing Pilates into academic and rehabilitation centers. That these two incredibly experienced and talented people would come together to develop this book is a blessing to teachers and students of Pilates because it does not exclude any varying interpretation of Pilates; it provides a foundation for and an enhancement of each.
If you don't include an understanding of anatomy in your teaching or practice of Pilates, you undermine its effectiveness. With a solid appreciation of how each movement utilizes and affects specific muscle groups, you can maximize your practice and minimize injuries. This book allows you to see those groups and that helps you visualize your movements in a way that mere words cannot achieve.
What I found particularly useful was understanding the six key principles: breathing, concentrating, centering, controlling, being precise, and flowing from one movement into another. After all, Pilates called his system contrology so knowing how to control or make the connection between your mind and body is essential.
Be sure to read the discussion on the Science of Breathing because, unless you breath properly, you are essentially wasting your time in any exercise. You need to oxygenate your muscles to allow them to perform well, and proper breathing will make you feel as healthier and exercise more effectively. Students of yoga and meditation already know how important disciplined breath is and will appreciate the emphasis and explanations in this book.
As I age, I find it increasing difficult to maintain a youthful posture. I slump and sag with stress and fatigue and long for more upright posture and smoother, more graceful carriage. Iscaowitz and Clippinger cannot guarantee that I get back to that state, but their discussion of what proper alignment of the spine and the function of core muscles surely puts me firmly on the path back to a healthier and happier state of being.
Make no mistake, this is a book for mat work. I own a Pilates machine, but this book is going to have me back on the floor as well. You will see exactly how you should place and align your body. They tell you how to execute each movement, which muscles are directly affected and which muscles offer secondary support to the movement. There are lists of clues to making each movement more effective as well as suggestions for modifications and variations. I enjoyed the Exercise Notes in particular because the notes provide the context and purpose of each movement which helps someone like me who follows instruction much better if I know the rationale behind them. The authors not only discuss what to do, how to do it, but why doing it is important.
I also liked the section on how to customize your own Pilates program and the Exercise Finder at the end of the book. The Exercise Finder helps you understand which of the modern movements were not in the original text of Joseph Pilates in case that is important to you.
This book complements everything I've learned as a Reiki Master and as beginning student of yoga because its emphasis is on understanding and respecting your body, breath, and the mind-body connection. I consider this an important addition to my library and am grateful I was granted a chance to review it through the Library Thing's Early Reviewer program.
Human Kinetics, the publisher, has once again gathered an impressive graphic arts team and the illustrations of Molly Borman clarify and communicate the information necessary to understand how the movements involve and impact the body. From the early general discussions of breathing and skeletal structures to the specific movements, the illustrations make the instructions and cautions come alive. If there are specific parts of your body where you want to effect change these illustrations will help you visualize the process and results. That alone makes the book worth more than its modest price. Being able to know how what you are doing is actually working makes this book invaluable
Pilates Anatomy presents a visual perspective on correct alignment, posture, and movements. You'll get an inside view of your workout. It includes 213 illustrations with 96 in full-color and step-by-step instructions for 46 of the most effective mat exercises for building a stronger, more articulate body.
The contents include:
Chapter 1. Six Key Principles of Pilates
Chapter 2. Spine, Core, and Body Alignment
Chapter 3. Muscles, Movement Analysis, and Mat Work
Chapter 4. Foundation for a Mat Session
Chapter 5. Abdominal Work for Movement and Stabilization
Chapter 6. Fine Articulation for a Flexible Spine
Chapter 7. Bridging for a Functional Spine
Chapter 8. Side Exercises for an Effective Core
Chapter 9. Extensions for a Strong Back
Chapter 10. Customizing Your Pilates Program
The book has great instructions on how to do each exercise and what muscles are being worked. Several views are included -- the start position, the movement and a larger graphic showing the muscles worked.
The execution of the exercise is provided step-by-step. The targeted muscles are described along with the accompanying muscles. In addition, technique cues are given along with important exercise notes and additional graphics when needed to provide a full explanation.
This book is priceless in planning your palates workout. It's a must-have guide and I highly recommend it to you.
-- Susanna K. Hutcheson
PILATES ANATOMY is the latest offering from Human Kinetics publishing group. For this project, Human Kinetics recruited Rael Isacowitz, a prestigious Pilates instructor who was trained by several "first generation" Pilates teachers (i.e., those who studied directly under Joseph Pilates himself) and Karen Clippinger, M.S.P.E., who has a master's degree in exercise science and has worked for over two decades as a clinical kinesiologist. As noted in the book's Preface, together, Isacowitz and Clippinger have more than 60 years combined Pilates-related experience.
This manual is extremely comprehensive. Not only does it provide an in depth look at the mechanics involved in Pilates matwork, but also it offers an introduction to the discipline itself. Furthermore, because the authors recognize that their readers may not be coming from a scientific background, they include a review of basic anatomical concepts. Chapter 1 opens with the six key principles of Pilates (breath, concentration, center, control, precision, flow), with simple drawings illustrating how the breathing in Pilates takes place. In Chapter 2, there is a discussion of the spine which involves diagramming the regions of the spine and defining the major movements of the spine. The muscles of the "powerhouse" are also presented here, from the abdominals to the spinal extensors to the quadratus and iliopsoas; proper spinal alignment is addressed as well. The final introductory chapter (Chapter 3) provides an analysis of joints, muscles, and the types of movements involved with each.
Chapters 4 through 9 focuses on specific Pilates mat exercises. The exercises are divided into foundational moves, abdominal work, flexible spine moves, functional spine moves, and core work. The authors note that for each exercise, they have tried to provide the original name used by Joseph Pilates in his book Return to Life Through Contrology, and they rate the difficulty level of each exercise as fundamental, intermediate, or advanced. Step-by-step instructions for performing the exercises are also provided. This includes information on Technique Cues and Exercise Notes; some entries have optional sections on Modifications and Variations. Finally, the targeting and accompanying muscles are both listed and highlighted in the series of illustrations which correspond to each exercise.
Because the authors have attempted to stay as true to Joseph Pilates' original system as possible, readers who are familiar with contemporary practice may notice some differences. The first is in the terminology. For example, certain Pilates exercise names such as "Rolling Like a Ball," have become so iconic that Mr. Pilates' original phrasing has been long since discarded. In other respects, it is the actual execution of the movement which has changed. The exercises Teaser and Open-Leg Rocker are both illustrated here with a slightly rounded, or C curve lower back, although a straight back is shown as a variation. However, I have only ever seen the latter performed in modern-day instruction. (For an example of this, see the cover of Brooke Siler's book The Pilates Body; Ms. Siler, another Pilates instructor who was schooled by first-generation teachers, is holding an open-leg rocker with a straight back.)
Despite the minimal confusions which might arise related to the changes in the Pilates system over time, overall, the exercise descriptions are clear, straightforward, and informative. I did think that the authors definitely should have included an index--this felt like a major oversight--and I had a few other minor issues with the final chapters as well. In the main, however, this is an excellent resource on the musculature related to Pilates movement, and for that reason, I would highly recommend it.
I wish the author would create video so it would be easier for people to follow the instructions. Neverthelss, it is a great book and I wish I had known about it 10 years ago.