The Pilates website
Profile from Business Review Weekly (Australia)
Book by Allan Menezes
Videos (PAL and NTSC)
Pilates website is at: http://www.pilates.net/
was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. He attended St George's
College, Harare, Zimbabwe and Albion High School, New
York (exchange student for one year).
This was followed by a course in Travel
and Tourism at Thurrock Technical College, Grays,
Essex, UK where he was also Captain of the College
Volleyball and Basketball teams. Then to Canada for
the BAdmin degree at Brock University, St Catherines,
Ontario where he was Captain of the University 1st
XV Rugby Team. He returned to the UK where he obtained
a MSc in Tourism Planning and Development at the University
of Surrey. He also holds a Diploma in British Inst
lives in Sydney and has two daughters Analiese and
Monique. He lists his hobbies as: “My job! Squash,
running, 'fixing' people who have physical challenges
such as back pain and improving the performance of
athletes, spending time with my family” His
favourite holiday haunts: “Quiet beaches (as
long as there is a gym nearby!)”
Review Weekly (Australia), 7 August 2003.
Menezes knows all about back pain. During a university rugby
match in Canada in the early 1980s, the then super-fit 25-year-old
was kicked in the back and could not shake the injury for
two years. After moving to London to complete a master of
tourism degree, he stumbled on to one of only three studios
in England offering Pilates lessons, mainly to ballet dancers.
weeks after my first session, the back pain was gone and
I was playing squash again - and better than before,"
Menezes says. He practised Pilates two hours every day for
two years, then moved to Australia, investing $3000 to open
the country's first Pilates studio in 1986, in a warehouse
space on the corner of King and George Streets in Sydney.
the founder and director of the Pilates Institute of Australia,
says: "No one, apart from a handful of dancers, had
even heard of Pilates. I also surveyed 50 physiotherapists
about rehabilitation for people with back injuries. They
all said just swimming and walking."
early days were tough. Menezes would hand out leaflets at
the railway station, then run back to the studio to answer
inquiries. By 1989, however, he was so busy he moved to
bigger premises in Bondi Junction. Initially, the move was
a disaster because city workers could no longer drop in
on their way home from work. The business took off again
only after publicity about some prominent clients, including
the actress Greta Scacchi, politician Bob Carr, surfer Mark
Warren and the broadcasting figure Bruce Gyngell.
Menezes' business has expanded well beyond just teaching
Pilates. In 1998, he published a book, “The Complete
Guide to the Pilates Method” and he has also produced
17 videos and manufactures Pilates equipment. His two studios,
in North Sydney and Bondi Junction, have a four-month waiting
list for memberships, and train about 100 people a year
to be Pilates instructors.
Pilates just a passing fad? Menezes believes it has another
four or five years of big growth in the gym environment,
and then in a more targeted fashion than at present. "In
the gyms, with 40 or 50 people in a mat class, people will
get sick of it," he says. "And big, group equipment
classes will also die." He says the growth will be
in the smaller studios, giving more personal attention,
with perhaps three or four people, each paying $40 an hour.
Another growth area will be Pilates for "special populations"
such as children, pregnant women and the elderly.
on mats or purpose-built machines, that focus on the core
muscles of the abdomen, for strength, flexibility and improved
posture. The discipline is based on exercises devised by
German-born Joseph Pilates during World War I, when he was
confined in an internment camp in England.
Menezes, the director of the Pilates Institute of Australia,
estimates that about 10 million people worldwide do Pilates,
including "tens of thousands" in Australia. It
appeals to people in their late 30s and 40s, who no longer
go to the gym but want to do more than swimming, walking
and yoga. Menezes says membership at his studios is split
evenly between men and women. "Men think it will be
easy, and it's not. And it can give them a six-pack [stomach]
when they're 50 years old."
does it cost for a one-hour class?
for mat; $20-35 for equipment.
publication details and sample pages at www.amazon.com
availability at: http://www.pilates.net/shop
Videos (PAL and NTSC) and other aids visit the Online shop
18 May 1996.
Menezes runs Sydney's celebrity-infested Body Control studios,
where he and other deadly serious types practise a puritanical,
eat-up-your-choko-it's-good-for-you form of exercise based
on the Pilates method.
19 August 1997.
Think of yoga, but throw in some springs,
levers, straps and weights, and you have the Pilates Method,
a puritanical form of exercise practised by the likes of
Greta Scacchi, newsreader Mary Kostakidis and Premier Bob
Carr. Allan Menezes, who runs the Body Control studios in
Sydney, says the method is beloved of dancers, excellent
for rehabilitation and relaxation, and achieves, similarly
to yoga, long-term health benefits and the "leaner,
drop a jeans size in a couple of months if you came in three
or four times a week," says Menezes. "But the
aim is more to strengthen and stretch the body, without
The Pilates exercise method has captured
the imagination of thousands.
leading Australian practitioner Allan Menezes: "You
can still have a great backside in your 70s, because Pilates
will give it to you."
23 November 1999.
came to Australia with Allan Menezes in 1986. He now runs
the largest Pilates company in the world, with three studios
in Sydney and two franchises.
at least an eight-week waiting list for the past six years,"
Menezes says. "It's going through a popular phase
now. From what I've heard, it's extremely popular in America
and Europe, and when you look in virtually any magazine
like Tatler and Harpers, there's an article on it. People
used to say, 'oh, you're a ballet dancer', or 'you must
have a back injury' when they heard you were doing Pilates.
Now people do it more for fitness."
Hollywood devotees are said to include Courtney Cox, Madonna,
Vanessa Williams and Sharon Stone. The man who brought pilates
Down Under 20 years ago, Allan Menezes, also has a client
list that reads like Who's Who.
and present clients include comedian Barry Humphries, actresses
Greta Scacchi, Georgie Parker and Peta Toppano, SBS's Mary
Kostakidis, triathlete Marc Dragan, musician Suze DeMarchi,
politician Bob Carr and former New South Wales first lady
17 December 2000.
biggest fitness craze sweeping Australia is Pilates. Developed
in the 1900s as a system of strengthening, stretching and
flexibility by physical therapist Joseph Pilates, Madonna,
Sharon Stone and Uma Thurman are giving it 21st-century
appeal. Allan Menezes, owner of Pilates Body Control Studios
in Sydney, counts Greta Scacchi and Bob Carr among his followers,
with up to a five-month waiting list for the rest of us.
"It's gone absolutely berserk," he says, currently
training 80 instructors to keep up with demand. New Yorkers
are taking it a step further with a trend called Yogilates
- hatha yoga meets Pilates.
Australia). 29 September 2002.
you've got sloped shoulders, a tummy that hangs out and
a butt that sticks way, way out... You're in good company.
"Everyone's got bad posture," says Allan Menezes,
creator of Athletic Pilates. And he says the culprit is
computers and television. "People are not getting out
enough, they're getting exceptionally lazy, and so are their
kids. Simply by having better posture you'll feel more stretched,
and one of the key benefits is abdominal control,"
he says. "If your abdominals aren't in control your
back will take a beating."
(Queensland, Australia). 6 October 2002.
few well-designed movements properly performed in a balanced
sequence are worth hours of doing sloppy callisthenics or
forced contortions," says Menezes, who has taught Bob
Carr, Greta Scacchi and Georgie Parker, and athletes such
as Nicole Hackett. Menezes promises the technique will get
rid of the lower stomach bulge "that is the bane of
Australia). 11 May 2003.
few years ago nobody had even heard of Pilates; now it's
everywhere. This DVD is part of a series created by Allan
Menezes, managing director of Pilates Institute of Australia.
It will leave you aching, but it's fun and Menezes says
you will see changes in your body after just 10 sessions.
Available from www.pilates.net
or call 1300 369 348
(Queensland, Australia). 25 May 2003.
The founder of the Pilates Institute
of Australasia is Allan Menezes. He has produced a best-selling
58-minute video entitled Pilates for Beginners. With 25
easy-to-follow exercises, it is a great way to learn in
your own home.
like Sharon Stone, Courtney Cox, Patrick Swayze, Madonna
and Julia Roberts use Pilates for their on-going fitness
regime, " he says.
11 June 2003.
An exercise program that began in a World
War One internment camp is taking Australia by storm
fashionable and it's good for you. Throughout Australia,
the boom in the Pilates exercise program shows no sign of
Menezes, who opened Australia's first Pilates studio in
1986, attributes its popularity to Hollywood.
huge now. It has surged in the past three or four years
in Australia, and five to six years ago in America,"
Australia) 29 June 2003.
Pilates Pre-Natal (VHS - $34.95)
This video workout by Allan Menezes is a good way of combating
the pain and discomfort of pregnancy. It includes a basic
pilates routine to help flexibility and breathing, maintain
muscle tone and best
Australia). 13 July 2003.
Aussie Pilates Pre-Natal (VHS - $34.95)
can be uncomfortable and even painful. This video includes
a basic Pilates routine that will help flexibility and breathing,
maintain muscle tone and reduce back pain. It should also
help improve posture, so you're not hunched over with the
weight of the baby. Menezes is gentle and encouraging. He's
the managing director of the Pilates Institute of Australasia
so he knows what's what when it comes to Pilates.
So you're stuck at a desk all day. This
doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your fitness. Kelly Baker
explains how to use your desk-bound time to stay in shape
no doubt having a job has its positives, but if it's a desk-bound
position, there's also a downside. Sitting at a desk all
day can be bad for your waistline. Worse still, it can be
bad for your muscles, tendons and nerves. And in extreme
cases it can cause deep vein thrombosis (the life-threatening
blood-clot condition that can develop on planes) and repetitive-strain
injury, caused by overusing one set of muscles, tendons
or nerves. Think typing or holding a phone.
good way to avoid these conditions is to take regular breaks.
So make sure you get out of your chair for five minutes
roughly every half an hour. During your break, do a quick
lap of the office, or knock out a few squats or stretches.
If you really want to stay in good shape, you can even do
a mini-workout right at your desk.
know where to start? Well don't worry. Hayden Ozcan, a sport
physiologist and podiatrist, and Allan Menezes, the founder
of the Pilates Institute of Australasia, have put together
this in-office routine. It's easy to follow, and effective.
THE TOE TAP
- To maintain ankle mobility, and promote blood flow to
the legs and thighs.
- Sit upright on your chair, making sure the backs of your
thighs, your bottom and your back are all well supported.
- With your feet close together, raise both heels off the
floor. Tap your toes, and let your feet slowly creep forward.
Return your feet to the same position by toe-tapping backwards.
tip - Tap the floor in short, sharp moves. Try not to rock
in the seat, and don't over-stretch and force the movement.
- Complete exercise (that's out and back) 10 times. Do this
three times a day. If you're sitting in the one position
for hours on end, try and toe tap at least every 90 minutes.
ALTERNATE TOE RAISES
- To maintain ankle mobility, work the shin and calf muscles,
and promote blood flow in the lower body.
- Sit upright on your chair, making sure the backs of your
thighs, your bottom and your back are all well supported.
- Raise the toes of your left foot up off the floor. Raise
them as far as you can while keeping your heels flat. Then
slowly let your toes drop back to the floor. Repeat for
the right leg.
tip - Maintain upright posture, relax and control your breathing.
Don't force the toes - past a comfortable position, and
don't rock in the chair.
- It can be done fast or slow. If you can, do 10 slow toe
lifts (two seconds up, two seconds down) on each leg, and
then 10 speedy ones (up and down in one second). Repeat
this exercise every one to two hours of constant sitting.
ALTERNATE LEG RAISES
- To maintain knee mobility, work the quadriceps (front
thigh muscles) and hip muscles. Also, to work your stomach
muscles, and promote blood flow.
- Sit upright on your chair, with the backs of your thighs,
your bottom and back well supported.
- First raise your feet up off the floor - try for 10cm.
Hold this position for two seconds. Stretch your left leg
as far as you can. Hold this position for two full seconds.
Return your left foot to its starting position. Hold here
for two seconds, and then rest both feet on the floor. Repeat
for your right leg. If you find it difficult to stretch
your legs out, perform the first step only.
tip - Use slow and steady movements. Keep your upper body
- Do five leg raises on the left, and five on the right.
Do this exercise at least once a day, but preferably two
to three times a day.
BEAUTIFUL BACK STRETCH
- To stretch your upper back and sides.
- Sit upright in your chair with hands resting on your thighs.
- Place your right hand slightly below your navel. Reach
towards the ceiling with your left hand and then, bending
your elbow, bring your hand to rest on your left shoulder
blade. Take a breath in, breathe out and then stretch the
left elbow over to the right-hand side while pressing your
left hip into the chair. Hold for 10 seconds, or as long
as is comfortable, take a deep breath in, breathe out and
return to your starting position. Swap sides, and then repeat.
tip - Breathe steadily and deeply. Correct breathing will
enable you to stretch further and for longer.
- Perform this stretch three times on each side. Do this
three times a day if possible.
- To stretch out any kinks in the quadriceps, and increase
the blood flow.
- Stand to the side of your desk with knees slightly relaxed.
- Rest your right hand on your desk for balance. Lift your
left foot off the ground, pull your heel to your bottom,
and hold it there with your left hand. Press your left knee
towards the floor (this will stretch the front of your thigh).
Keep the pelvis tucked in. This will alleviate strain on
the joints. Hold for 10 seconds, and then swap sides.
tip - Keep the leg you're standing on slightly bent. This
will help you stay upright. Ensure the knee of the leg you're
stretching is pointing towards the ground, and not out in
front of you.
- Stretch each thigh three to five times. Do this exercise
at least once a day.
INNER THIGH TONER
- To create gorgeous upper thighs, to increase blood flow,
and to save time by sneaking in a workout during office
- Sit upright in your chair with both feet resting on the
ground, with your knees together.
- Take a tennis ball, and place it between your knees. Once
it's secure, squeeze the tennis ball as hard as you can.
Keep the pressure on for 10 seconds, and then release. Repeat,
tip - If you don't have a tennis ball handy, use your fist.
It's just as effective.
- This exercise seems deceptively simple but, in fact, it
will give your inner thighs an excellent workout. You can
do this exercise as often as you like.
long lean muscles Firm, flat abs, long, lean muscles - all
achievable at home? I'd like to see that
Even though it was developed over 80 years ago, Pilates
is an exercise for this millennium. We've seen it on TV,
heard celebs rave about it... but what exactly is it? Based
on a series of exercises that precisely and concisely exercise
the key muscles in your body, Pilates builds long, lean
muscles and a strong core.
basis of Pilates relies on the strengthening of your core
muscles, the area from the bottom of the rib cage to the
pelvic floor. By strengthening your core you'll find that
you'll stand taller, have fewer back problems and as a rather
delightful side effect - you'll develop a flatter tummy
and a leaner waist. That's because with Pilates, your body
is in motion and your mind engages with your muscles to
make it a Complete body and mind workout.
Menezes is the founder and managing director of the Pilates
Institute of Australasia and combines his knowledge of physiology
with a love of Pilates. Menezes stresses the benefits of
Pilates spilling over into life and says that it's about
more than just an hour-long class, "The main benefit
of Pilates is to your spine," he says. "As Joseph
Pilates said, "You're only as old as your spine"."
Menezes says that the awareness of your body that Pilates
brings can have an abundance of benefits such as helping
you to sit better at your desk, walk better and look better.
"Even the simple manner of walking can be improved.
Many people walk and lock their knees before their feet
hit the ground," Menezes says. "But if they keep
their knees slightly bent and have a bit of a spring to
their step they'll find they're working their buttocks as
they walk - and it's much better for their backs as well."
a deep breath
Because Pilates is all about control and paying attention
to what your body's doing, one of the first steps is getting
your breathing right. So give this a try. Stand up straight
and lengthen your torso. Hold your hands flat against your
ribcage underneath your chest and take a deep breath through
your nose. Feel your ribcage and lungs expanding - your
abdomen should feel like it's filling with air. Now breathe
slowly, making sure that you completely empty your lungs
- even those pockets down in the corners. That's controlled
breathing the Pilates way.
Megan Lawrence, 26, from Fitzroy in Victoria, took up Pilates
at the urging of a friend who'd used Pilates during and
after her pregnancy. "I've always had lower back problems
and sitting in front of a computer every day just made it
worse," Lawrence says. "Pilates really made my
spine more flexible and after the first class I felt a huge
difference - the pain decreased dramatically. Now I've been
doing Pilates for nearly two years the pain is gone, and
can't imagine missing a class."
Menezes agrees, "I took up Pilates because I had a
back injury from playing rugby and nothing seemed to work.
After six weeks of Pilates classes the pain disappeared."
If ever his workouts slip, Menezes says the pain can start
to return so he's constantly studying new methods to strengthen
the spine and prevent back problems. Menezes stresses the
importance of good technique - and finding a qualified instructor
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