What is Pilates?

Pilates is a method of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany the early 1900s. Mr. Pilates studied yoga, martial arts, and ancient Greek and Roman exercises and used them as the basis for his method, which he called “Contrology.”  He started out using his mat work to help people with recover from injury or illness, and then developed several pieces equipment to both challenge and support the body during the exercises. In the 1920s, Joseph Pilates came to New York City where his exercise method became popular with dancers because it creates a sleek, strong body without bulk.

 
 The Pilates Reformer uses springs, straps and pulleys to challenge and support the body.

The Pilates Reformer uses springs, straps and pulleys to challenge and support the body.

Today Pilates is popular with celebrities and athletes, but it is also used in many physical rehabilitation settings because it’s a very gentle, low-impact way to build strength and flexibility. The focus is on the core muscles, while integrating the extremities into the workout. There are dozens of exercises and modifications that let a Pilates instructor tailor the workout to each student, whether they are a beginner or an elite athlete. Each workout is different and challenging, and it evolves with the student and their improving conditioning.