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What is Pilates?

Pilates is a widely accepted and fantastic form of exercise pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates (1883-1967). Mr Pilates was a gymnast and bodybuilder and moved to England before World War I where he began developing his concept of an integrated and comprehensive system of physical exercise, which he later called “Contrology”.
Interestingly, Joseph Pilates studied yoga and is known for having studied the movements in animals. This is apparent in the beautiful movement of the classical Pilates repertoire and the principles he developed.
Pilates is a full body workout that focuses on working from the inside out, from the core out to the periphery. This is done by initiating all movements from engaging the abdominal musculature. The exercises emphasise postural muscles, more stabilising muscles that support the joints, including the spine and the repertoire works on multi-planes of movement for the spine and the whole body. As you get more advanced, more complex movements, more control, and more muscle groups are needed and recruited into a full body workout.

Mind and Body Exercise

Pilates is a mind/body type of exercise as you must use your mind through breath to accomplish control. Ahead of his time, Pilates’ original exercise “Contrology” correlated to the use of the mind to control the muscles of the body with the focus on the abdominal muscles and postural muscles in order to balance the body and maintain support for the spine.
Pilates exercise focuses on awareness of breath and uses breath to connect mind to body.
Joseph Pilates immigrated to the US around 1925 where he founded a studio in NYC with his wife Clara, and taught students well into the 1960’s.
Since his death new research on sports science and rehabilitation has emerged giving rise to what we call contemporary Pilates. New schools, such as STOTT PILATES®, have preserved the original Pilates exercises while incorporating the most up-to-date research in health and fitness, making it safer and more available to a wider audience.

Contemporary Pilates vs Dynamic Pilates

Contemporary Pilates is not the same as the recently popular dynamic Pilates.
As we moved into the 201st century, Pilates exercises have been revised and modern principles of sport science and rehabilitation have been integrated to the original method.
Pilates exercise is taught on the mat, reformer, and other pieces of equipment, such as the chair, barrels and Cadillac.
Dynamic Pilates in contrast, is only taught on the reformer and does not teach the exercises or principles pioneered by Joseph Pilates or contemporary STOTT PILATES®, but rather teach exercises on the reformer with the aim of providing you with a dynamic workout on the reformer equipment.

Rehabilitation Pilates

We at Core Kensington recognise the benefits of Pilates exercise for people of all ages and abilities, including special populations and those recovering from injuries.
We teach the Pilates repertoire on all pieces of equipment and progress through levels from essential to intermediate and advanced.
Whether you suffer from back pain or are recovering from an injury, our team of experts will help you with your rehabilitation process.

Book now and get your first class for only £15.

Pilates for Teens

Pilates can make a massive difference in your teenager’s development and performance. Introducing Pilates exercise at an early age can provide the younger populations with a solid core foundation, stronger spine and joints and better movement patterns. This in turn can enhance their musculoskeletal development and athletic performance. Whether your teenager is a runner, plays tennis, rowing

Why Pilates for Teens?


Improved Core Strength, Reduced risk of back Injuries.

Even at a young age nothing is worse than being out of the game when it comes to back pain. Training the smaller muscles that support your joints can reduce the chance of injury. Training tour deep core musculature can reduce the chance of back pain by stabilising your spine and back muscles, which in turn  will give you much more support when you’re practising sports.

There is evidence that contemporary Pilates, such as the style taught at Core Kensington can has a positive effect on abdominal and lower back muscular strength, abdominal muscular endurance and posterior trunk flexibility.(Sekendiz et al. 2007)

Increased Flexibility for athletic Performance

Poor flexibility may increase the risk of certain acute and chronic injuries among teenagers.

If your teenager is involved in any kind of sports activity Pilates exercise can help improve his/her flexibility safely and intelligently.

Low levels of flexibility are often observed among teenager populations and as a result, various authors now recommendthe inclusion of specific programmes to improve flexibility among teens. “Pilates can be used as an adjunctive exercise program to improve flexibility, enhance control-mobility of trunk and pelvic segments. It may also prevent and attenuate the predisposition to axial musculoskeletal injury (Phrompaet et al. 2011). A recent study also showed that “six-weeks of Pilates training in Physical Education classes has significantly improved the hamstrings flexibility among adolescents” (Gonzalez-Galvez et al. 2015).

Improved Body Awareness and Coordination

Watching gymnasts at the Olympics or a principal dancer executing complex choreography can make anyone appreciate the importance of body control, awareness and movement coordination. Complex coordination and body awareness are learned at an early age. Parts of the brain, such as the cortex, the premotor area, and neuromuscular connection development are strengthened at early ages. Pilates for teenagers promote this type of body awareness and coordination.

Mindful Movement

More and more people are realising the benefits of mindful forms of exercise. WE now understand that mind and body are interconnected and one affects the other directly.  “Mindful forms of exercise help to reduce stress, bring a calmer state of mind through precise, controlled forms of movement and focus on breath.Mindful Movement can be adapted to suit all ages, fitness backgrounds and abilities, helping professionals and clients lead healthier, more active and mindful lives”.(Content © Merrithew Corporation, used with permission)

Core Kensington offers weekly Pilates for Teens reformer classes. Contact us or sign in

online or via our app for Pilates for Teens classes.


Gonzalez-Galvez, N. et al., 2015. Effects of a Pilates School Program on Hamstrings Flexibility of Adolescents. Revista Brasileira De Medicina Do Esporte, 21(4), pp.302–307.

Phrompaet, S. et al., 2011. Effects of pilates training on lumbo-pelvic stability and flexibility. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 2(1), pp.16–22.

Sekendiz, B. et al., 2007. Effects of Pilates exercise on trunk strength, endurance and flexibility in sedentary adult females. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 11(4), pp.318–326.

The Benefits of Pilates Classes

Pilates classes can make a difference in your quality of life whether you are a complete beginner, a sports enthusiast or suffer from injuries.

Some of the benefits you can expect with Pilates classes are:

Improved body mobility.

Get out of bed easier in the morning! As we age our joints lose mobility and our muscles lose flexibility, especially our spines and muscles that are held in shortened positions (E.g. while sitting for long periods). Pilates exercise aims to mobilise your spine from the neck to the base in many planes and directions and separate each bit into articulation. Pilates also aims to restore balance in your muscles. The benefits of improved mobility are to reduce pressure on restricted joints and therefore reduce wear and tear on the spine.
“You are only as old as your spine is” Joseph Pilates.
Pilates exercise will aim to move your spine through segmental articulation. This means that you will work in every spinal plane and learn to articulate your spine like a ripple sequentially in various exercises. If you are not doing this in your Pilates classes, you are likely not really practising Pilates.

Improve back pain

. Back pain as a result of joint stiffness, poor stability, muscular weakness and lack of movement can improve with Pilates exercises. (*NICE guidelines for low back pain, 2016).

Improved Core Strength

Strengthen from the inside out. Core strength is at the core of Pilates exercise. Pilates exercises aim to work from the core to the periphery, from the inside out. Joseph Pilates original name was “Contrology”. Thus, as the name suggests, you will need to concentrate in order to control every bit of your body.

Improved body awareness and Coordination

Get to know your body and move freely. You will discover that you can move in ways you never have and discover muscles you never thought you had. Complexity is at the core of the Pilates repertoire. Movement is mostly multi-planal. If you learn to move your body in combined planes of motion your quality of movement will be superior.

Mindful Movement

Discover an intelligent, mindful approach to exercise with Pilates. For years many disciplines have advocated the notion the mind and body are interconnected. Mindful exercise can help to reduce stress and through a focus on breath, bring a calmer state of mind through precise, controlled movement.
As our lives get busier and more complex, leaving us with scarce time to “unplug”, the demands on our busy lives is increasingly growing. More than ever people lack the time to reflect and be present and to be mindful. Learn mindful movement with our Pilates classes.

How long for results?

Many people ask how long will it take them to see results with Pilates. As with every discipline, depends on the individual, the times per week spent training, the person’s level of conditioning before starting, body awareness, injuries, restrictions and so forth. However, one can expect to see results almost immediately after starting. The most challenging obstacle I often see with people is making the decision to start. Most people start Pilates after it’s been prescribed for a joint problem, but once they start, they end up loving the workout.
Learning the Pilates technique correctly may take a bit of time, but along the way your body will feel great and you will see the changes surprisingly sooner than expected.

How advanced is advanced Pilates?

In Pilates you don’t progress by being able to lift more weights or adding more resistance or hold planks for longer periods. In fact, most Pilates exercises do not hold positions statically at all. Some exercises, in fact, become more difficult on the equipment by reducing the tension. The difficulty in the advanced Pilates repertoire lies in the complexity of the movement and your ability to control your body without restrictions. By this I mean, short muscles, joint restrictions, or weaknesses. E.g. tight hamstrings, poor spinal movement, limited arm movement, tight hip flexors etc. The advanced Pilates work flows dynamically and was originally created for athletes, dancers, boxers and gymnasts. So, if you think about a gymnast/dancer exercising on a Pilates reformer, that would be what the classical advanced Pilates repertoire looks like.
Pilates can make a true difference in your quality of life and can help you improve your whole body mobility, reduce back and neck pain, improve shoulder movement and reduce pain.

How much do I have to train?

If you put the time in and attend classes at least twice per week, you will see results soon. The best part of starting a Pilates programme is that the improvements you make will help you in your daily life and activities, such as playing golf, tennis, or simply playing with your kids.


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends a mind-body group exercise programme within the NHS for people with a specific episode or flare-up of low back pain with or without sciatica as a first line treatment for low back pain.

Pilates Exercise For Back Pain

Is Reformer Pilates Exercise for Back Pain Beneficial?
Sure. Improved core strength, improved posture, increased flexibility. Pilates exercise is focused on your abdominal muscles, preferentially recruiting the deep ones. The goal is to retrain your muscles to fire when they are required, with the right amount of force at the right time in order to stabilise your spine. At the same time, keep your entire spine mobile. Remember, “You are only as old as your spine is” Joseph Pilates…

Intelligent Exercise. You have to think
If you are looking for someone to fix your back without having to think about what you are doing, Pilates is not for you. If you are willing to put the effort and voluntarily learn how to recruit your muscles by concentrating and focusing on precision and learning anatomically how your body needs to work, this is definitely for you.

Working from the Inside Out.
As with every rehabilitation programme, local stability means that the joints in your spine are preferentially recruited before calling on the big power producing ones. Deep stabilising muscles work close to the joint and need to work before targeting the big mobilising ones. Learn how to do this with our Pilates Exercise for Back Pain classes.

How Does the Spine Degenerate?
As we age and sometimes through injury, the spinal segments degenerate. Spinal Degeneration Happens when the spine is put through stresses that the discs are unable to withstand. Poor posture, sitting for prolonged periods slumping will speed up this process. A weak support system can cause also the spinal segments to shear, compress the discs and it’s contents. (annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulpous.
Compression of the discs cause small tears to appear on the outside portion of the disc (fibrillation). These tears heal with scar tissue. Scar tissue is weaker than the original architecture of the disc.
Overtime, the annulus and nucleus lose its water content, the disc loses height and the vertebral segments come closer to each other. This causes the facet joints in the back to overlap and twist into an unnatural position. In an attempt to stabilise the spine, the body creates bone spurs on the vertebral bodies and the facets. These spurs can cause pain, ache or discomfort as they lose their ability to move properly and may irritate the joint capsule as you move without support.

Pilates as Prevention For Further Damage
Pilates Exercise for Back Pain can help maintain your spinal segments mobile, strengthen your deep abdominal musculature in order to stabilise your spine as you move around in your daily activities.

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

How To Improve Your Posture

How To Improve Your Posture
This photo is shocking! Yes, a head forward posture should give you a clue to whether you might need to improve your posture or not. With the ubiquitous use of mobile phones, tablets and computers, most of us nowadays spend hours at a time seated or with our heads forward looking over our very loved electronic devices. This results in poor posture, head forward, rounded shoulders, slumped back and believe it or not, this leads to faster degeneration of our spines. The worse part is… you will be degenerating your neck joints much sooner in life with this type of posture. The best part is…you can do something about this…NOW! Keep reading. Continue reading How To Improve Your Posture

Pilates Summer Offers

New Pilates Summer Offers 2016!
Feel fantastic this summer under the sun, show your toned, flat waistline in a skimpy outfit. These offers Pilates Summer Offers are for you!
Book now and get ready to burn and tone this summer. We offer a variety of classes that will make you sweat, work and feel fantastic under the sun. Continue reading Pilates Summer Offers

Pilates exercise for low back pain

New evidence for Pilates exercise for low back pain
The new guidelines for low back pain published by the National Institute for Care and Excellence in the UK recommends exercise as a first line measure. This cut-off from “The Osteopath” explains how exercise is the first-line recommendation for patients with low back pain. This suggests that Pilates exercise for low back pain can be an effective tool for those suffering with uncomplicated, non-specific mechanical low back pain. Continue reading Pilates exercise for low back pain

The Benefits of Pilates Personal Training

The Benefits of Pilates Personal Training

Why choose Pilates personal training versus group classes?

If you think you are struggling to improve in your current Pilates group classes it might be time to get some one-on-one sessions to improve your game. The Benefits of Pilates Personal Training are numerous.
Continue reading The Benefits of Pilates Personal Training

Pilates vs bootcamp type reformer classes

Pilates vs bootcamp type reformer classes

Pilates vs bootcamp type reformer classes. Which is better?
It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. You could ask yourself: weight lifting vs. ballet? The comparison is on different sets of exercise types with two completely different aims.

Continue reading Pilates vs bootcamp type reformer classes

Achilles Tendinopathy and Pilates Reformer

Achilles Tendinopathy and Pilates Reformer : A great match.
Tendinopathy describes a diverse clinical syndrome that can involve any tendon and is associated with pain, swelling and decreased performance. Achilles tendinopathy is a not an inflammatory, but a degenerative condition. Achilles Tendinopathy and Pilates Reformer can help.
The Achilles tendon is known to be one of the most frequently injured tendons in the human body despite its strength. Not only it is the most common tendon to ruptures but, along with the patellar tendon, it happens to be one of the two tendons most frequently damaged as a result of overuse causing impairment.

Continue reading Achilles Tendinopathy and Pilates Reformer