In 2018 there were 1.1 million women and 120,000 men using pilates as part of their weekly exercise regime in Australia. I’m sure you’re now wondering, ‘If so many people are already doing it, should I be doing it too?’
Pilates – The best-kept secret.
This post is going to explore if Pilates really is the best kept secret, or if it just a bunch of marketing hype!
We’ll go through and explain all the different types of Pilates classes that I am sure you have seen advertised at your local gym, or Pilates studio. By the end of this post you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into when you walk into your first class before the instructor has time to talk about your ‘neutral spine’.
Matwork, Reformer, Clinical, Studio…the list goes on!
The list of types of Pilates seems to be never-ending, with a new type or variation becoming popular every couple of months. But what do they mean?
Pilates was originally developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1900’s, in order to rehabilitate wounded WWI soldiers. He used springs and straps from hospital beds to provide the wounded soldiers with an easy way to engage their muscles without the need to get out of bed. The springs provided slow and controlled resistance, for better muscle activation.
Since Joseph Pilates’ original development and understanding of Pilates, there has been plenty of money and research go into the science behind the benefits of this form of exercise. Through the research and creativity, all the different Pilates formats have emerged!
Matwork Pilates is exactly as it sounds, its Pilates that is done on the floor on a mat. While most clinics and studios have mostly moved away from Matwork Pilates, there is still great benefit in being on the floor and using gravity to challenge your muscles. Trust me, if you have a good instructor, you can still work just as hard if not harder than using equipment!
Equipment Pilates is usually advertised as ‘Reformer Pilates’, and the reason being a Pilates reformer is cheaper and smaller than most of the other Pilates equipment out there. Unless you’re frequenting a very large studio or clinic which has the luxury of space, to fit in a trapeze table or wunda chair, you’ll most likely walk into the studio to find strange looking beds…reformers!
Reformers are great as they give the clients an opportunity to challenge their muscles in a very isolated and controlled way. They are also great for rehabilitation, as anyone with a lower limb injury can start to put weight through their injured limb a little earlier, along with maintaining the health of the rest of their body while not being able to get around as easily.
Clinical Pilates is a more rehabilitation focused type of Pilates. In Clinical Pilates, your movement patterns and any injuries are thoroughly assessed by a Physiotherapist, giving them an idea of your strengths and weaknesses. This then allows the Physiotherapist to design a personal Pilates program to target certain areas of your body, or to avoid overloading other areas of your body.
Clinical Pilates is a mainstay for Physiotherapists as they are able to gradually load any injured or irritated structures, the gradual increase in load allows the Physiotherapist to closely monitor the tissue’s response and alter the loading as necessary. Clinical Pilates can be a combination of matwork, reformer, or studio Pilates culminating in an individualised exercise program to achieve your goals!
So, Should you do Pilates?
Pilates will find the best way to challenge you, tailored exactly to your fitness level, or fitness goals! Everyone from coach-potatoes to powerlifters can benefit from training Pilates. If you don’t believe me, come to the clinic and see for yourself.