Pilates Classical Repertoire

What is the Pilates Classical Repertoire?
I often get asked what the difference is between classical and dynamic Pilates. With the ever popular dynamic Pilates workout people are often confused unsure which Pilates method they should be doing. First, lets briefly look at what Pilates is and how it became what it is today. Then I will explain the different styles.
Joseph Pilates, the creator of Pilates exercise developed a series of hundreds of exercises throughout his lifetime. These exercises comprise the classical Pilates repertoire. The original Pilates repertoire is taught in a specific order. It consists of various levels and follows the set of principles laid out by Joseph Pilates. These principles are breathing, concentration, control, precision, fluidity. These original principles forge Pilates as a mind/body-type of exercise.

Classical Pilates Uniqueness “Concentration, Control, Precision, Fluidity”
Classical Pilates follows a set methodology, and like any other discipline, it takes time and skill to master the technique and learn the exercises. It’s basic premise is body control and movement. The movement flows without holding positions against a timer.
The levels are set according to the exercises, their complexity and coordination difficulty. Therefore, one wouldn’t just show up to an intermediate level class first time, as one would never show up to an intermediate golf, tennis or karate or ballet class prior to learning the basics. This is because the more advanced exercises are much more complex in movement patterns, they become multi-planal and very choreographed.
Technique is Paramount. In the classical method the technique is foremost and you are expected to execute it with precision and concentration in order to achieve mind body control.
Classical Pilates is dynamic in essence. As you progress to the advanced classical Pilates repertoire the intensity increases, as you are able to concentrate on recruiting more muscle groups, and greater control of your body allows you to execute the more difficult exercises with greater precision.

The Pilates Classical Repertoire builds from the classical Pilates matwork repertoire and the exercise themes are seen in every Pilates piece of equipment, such as the Cadillac, Stability Chair and barrels.

Classical Pilates has also evolved throughout the years since Mr Pilates’ death. Contemporary methods, such as STOTT PILATES® are based on modern principles of exercise science an rehabilitation while preserving the original repertoire created by the late Joseph Pilates. STOTT PILATES® is an anatomically based method  that draws on proven and accepted practices in sports science and evidence based rehabilitation.

What is the Dynamic Pilates Difference? Burn, Sweat, Lose weight, 
Dynamic Pilates is completely different  to the original Pilates classical method. It is a fitness oriented workout that, although is inspired on the classical Pilates exercises, its emphasis is on the duration of the exercise, intensity of the movement, targeting the larger muscle groups to create a total body workout, taking you to total muscle fatigue. Although the exercises are inspired on the original Pilates exercises, this challenging workout promises to make you to sweat, lose weight, build strength quickly on the reformer. Neither the original Pilates principles, nor the contemporary basic principles are required or taught in this workout. Dynamic Pilates does not follow a set order as the Pilates classical repertoire does. It changes from instructor to instructor and from studio to studio, whereas the classical exercises are roughly the same all over the world. Although the exercises tend to be more mono-planal and less choreographed in dynamic Pilates, the workout will sure get you to feel the burn with every repetition. Progression levels in dynamic Pilates are achieved by adding more repetitions, holding positions for longer periods, adding more resistance or reducing the loads on an unstable carriage and using some small weights. Dynamic Pilates will assure to get you to feel that burn in a circuit-style workout without lifting heavy weights, but on a reformer.

All in all, both styles can be great. It all depends on your fitness goals, musculoskeletal needs and more importantly, your personal taste. Moreover, it greatly depends on the teacher, it’s qualifications, experience and knowledge.

Pilates Classical Repertoire
Photography © Merrithew Corporation. Used with permission. www.merrithew.com

If you are interested in the Pilates Classical Repertoire, we at Core Kensington deliver intelligent Pilates by incorporating modern principles in sports medicine and rehabilitation through the STOTT PILATES® method.


Blog written by Carlo Yanez
Registered Osteopath B.A.(Hons.), B.Ost.(Hons)
Fully certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor

Pilates Classical Repertoire
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