What is Pilates?

Pilates Balance

Developed in the 1920’s by the legendary physical trainer, Joseph H. Pilates, the Pilates Method is a series of approximately 500 exercises across a wide range of specially designed exercise equipment, used for Fitness Pilates and Rehabilitation Pilates.

There are three components to the Pilates Method:

  • The principles
  • The exercises
  • The equipment

The principles

The principles are the foundation of strong and effective movement. Pilates participants will benefit from this unique form of exercise, not only in class, but in life. Adopt these principles in general living and reap the rewards. Pilates offers peak physical conditioning working from the inside out.

To fully benefit from the Pilates method, you must learn to flow from one movement to the next, building stamina and cardiovascular fitness with the following basic exercise regime:Pilates sideleg

  • Centering
  • Alignment
  • Breathing
  • Control
  • Precision
  • Flowing movement
  • Integration

Note that every studio, teacher, book, video or training organisation may introduce its own variations and different emphasis on those principles.

The exercises

Pilates and yoga share similar goals, with both systems based on individual progress in a non-competitive arena, and both systems putting emphasis on stretching as well as strengthening of muscles. However, the Pilates system works the body as a whole, coordinating the upper and lower musculature with the body’s centre. This dramatically improves strength, flexibility, posture and coordination.

The equipment

The most popular exercise repertoire in the world is mat-based Pilates. However, a fully equipped Pilates studio would have other spring and gravity based resistance equipment, such as:

  • Reformers
  • Circles
  • Cadillac / trap tables
  • Wunda chair
  • Pedipull
  • Barrels
  • Ladder barrel

The most common piece of equipment in any Pilates studio is the reformer –  a moveable carriage for pushing and pulling. Invented in the 1940’s by Joseph Pilates, the older style reformers traditionally utilised springs as resistance. However, manufacturers over recent years have introduced many innovations such as lightweight and modern materials, adjustability, and gravity resistance. This has lead to the reformers being the most popular piece of Pilates equipment throughout the world today.

Pilates dead bug

Please read our frequently asked questions page for additional information.