Pilates is a form of exercises that were invented by German-born Joseph H. Pilates during World War I. While serving as a nurse in Great Britain, he developed his namesake exercises to help rehab wounded soldiers. Pilates entered mainstream culture mostly due to the number of celebrities who credited this form of exercise for helping to keep them lean and toned. The exercises focus on balance, flexibility, and core strength, and are often associated with yoga. Both methods share the same body-sculpting principles by using body weight as resistance, and encourage mental as well as physical health.
The most popular way to practice Pilates involves the floor and a mat. Most group classes use this method. The other method is to use specific equipment designed to accommodate Pilates moves, such as the ladder barrel, the cadillac, the reformer, the wunda chair, and the spine corrector.
There is not a regulatory authority or agency that oversees the certification of a Pilates trainer, but there are many certification programs that teach people how to become one. For many years, the word Pilates was trademarked and only those instructors certified through specific programs could call themselves a Pilates trainer; all others had to indicate that they were using a Pilates-like method. With the release of the trademark, the name Pilates became a familiar and generalized term that encompassing this form of exercise.
It generally is important to research each program thoroughly when deciding which one to take in order to become a Pilates trainer, ensuring that the instruction is truly Pilates and not just a Pilates method. To become certified in the method envisioned by Joseph Pilates typically requires extensive study and experience. Courses offered over a short period of time, such as a weekend, generally are not certifying instructors in the original method.
Once certified, a Pilates trainer can choose to work for a fitness organization by teaching individuals or classes, work independently, or even work for rehab centers using Pilates to help patients overcome injuries and gain strength. If a person is interested in becoming a certified Pilates trainer or just wants to practice with a certified trainer, research is the key to finding a good instruction course or instructor. Contacting local fitness facilities, rehab centers, or reviewing program options on the Internet usually can help with the process.