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Body Control: Using Techniques Developed by Joseph H. Pilates
by Lynne Robinson and Gordon Thomson
1998

If you've considered practicing Pilates, but you thought you were too old/ stiff/ out of shape to start, then this book will erase your excuses. Body Control is Pilates for absolute beginners. Written in a simple, easy-to-understand manner, Body Control offers over 40 basic exercises, from warm-up to cool down. Not all of them are the same exercises you might see in a Pilates class - you might say that some of them are precursors to actual Pilates exercises. If you suffer from poor alignment or have less than average flexibility, this is what you need to get started.

The Body Control exercises are laid out very intuitively, beginning with warm-ups and traveling over every body part. There's a series of exercises involving weights, a chapter of foot exercises (more essential than most people realize), and good sections on breathing and alignment. Each exercise takes up two pages - the first page explains what the exercise is meant to accomplish, and the second page (with photos) explains how to do it. This thorough approach leaves no question about what to expect. The final section of the book consists of various routines - short, daily workouts, three sessions a week, or two sessions a week. The authors are determined to fit Body Control into anyone's schedule!

This excellent and well-thought-out book is essential for anyone who has shied away from Pilates because they're intimidated by the long, lean look of the instructors and the precision of the exercises. Pilates was originally created as therapeutic exercise, so it's appropriate for most people, even those who are new to fitness. It's especially good for people who want to stand taller and straighter, and move with more grace and agility. And who doesn't want that? Body Control is a great place to start.

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