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Pilates is a body conditioning routine that helps build flexibility and long, lean muscles, strength and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing to relieve stress and allow adequate oxygen flow to muscles, developing a strong core or center (tones abdominals while strengthening the back), and improving coordination and balance. Pilates' flexible system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises. No muscle group is under or over trained.

It enhances core strength and brings increased reach, flexibility, sure-footedness and agility.

Pilates emphasizes the concepts of core strength and stabilization. Students are taught the concepts of core strength and stabilization, as well as to use their “powerhouse” throughout life’s daily activities. As Joseph Pilates called it, the practitioner's “powerhouse” is the center of their body or their core and if strengthened, it offers a solid foundation for any movement. This power engine is a muscular network which provides the basic control and stability in the lumbopelvic region, which furthermore consists of the pelvic floor muscles, the transversus, the multifidus, the diaphragm, the muscles of the inner thigh, and the muscles encircling the sitting bone area.

The power engine is activated effectively by hollowing of the deep abdominals and pelvic floor muscles (“deep muscle corset”), by drawing the navel back into the spine in a zipping-up motion, from the pubic bone to the breast bone thereby engaging the heels, the back of the inner thighs, the deep lower back muscles, and the muscles surrounding the sitting bones and tailbone area without inhibiting the natural function of the diaphragm—that is without the practitioner holding their breath either from lifting the chest upwards or contracting the chest.

Apart from providing core control and stability to the lumbopelvic region, in the sitting position the power engine elevates the torso and places the centre of gravity at its highest and most efficient position; in prone position it elongates the body bi-directionally to reduce weight in the upper body; in supine position it elongates the body bi-directionally and places the centre of gravity again at its highest and most efficient position.

The Power Engine opens up the vertical dimension of the body by grounding the pelvis to the earth and by elevating the spine towards the sky, much like a tree; the pelvis being the root and the branches being the spine.