Joseph H. Pilates' Techniques of Physical Conditioning

The Complete Guide to Joseph H. Pilates' Techniques of Physical Conditioning: Applying the Principles of Body Control

Allan Menezes
Hunter House (2000), 180 pages
Approximately $20

This book offers a thorough, in-depth guide to Pilates exercises created nearly 80 years ago by Joseph H. Pilates. This book covers the complete floor program of Joseph Pilates.

The Complete Guide to Joseph H. Pilates Techniques of Physical Conditioning starts out with an introductory chapter describing the philosophy and history of the Pilates method, as well as explaining the eight fundamental principles (concentration, centering, breathing, control, precision, flowing movement, isolation, and routine).

Allan Menezes is very thorough in explaining the concepts behind Pilates, including information such as “Why Our Bodies Need a Regular Fitness Program,” “Mental Control over Physical Movements,” and “The Importance of Posture.” This chapter includes information on postural assessment, defining correct posture, improving body awareness, and how to establish correct posture. The above chapters contain a complete overview on muscular and skeletal anatomy, the importance of levers, different body types, faulty patterns of movement, the effects of lifestyle and stress on the body, and so on. There is even a section on “Making Your Pilates Workout Safe and Effective,” where Menezes provides safety pointers on the importance of stretching and warm-ups.

The rest of the book guides the reader through a variety of exercise routines leveled for beginners, intermediate, and advanced exercisers. It includes detailed, clear instructions of each exercise along with nearly 200 simple black and white photographs and illustrations that take you through the moves of “The Warm-Up,” “The Basic Routine,” “The Intermediate Routine,” and “The Advanced Routine.”

There is a special section in the book with specific exercises designed for alleviating different kinds of body conditions such as back pain, shoulder strain, ankle problems, and weak abdominals. Also there is a bonus “More Advanced Exercises” routine, as well as a toning exercise routine with the Theraband.

At the end of the book is a chapter entitled “Move Yourself out of Pain,” which discusses the conditions of each exercise that bring about pain relief. It also shows you the movements to complete for relieving pain from specific areas of the body. Allen Menezes has experienced a great deal of pain himself throughout his life, and knows how to help others through their pain using the Pilates method.

Included in the book are exercise worksheets so the readers can keep track of their progress. They are there to help the reader design their own workout program, and Menezes offers suggestions for choosing and ordering the right exercises.

The Complete Guide to Joseph H. Pilates Techniques of Physical Conditioning is a very well written, informative book that was authored by an athlete who provides more information on general fitness physiology than any other Pilates books.

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