What is Pilates?

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise that aims to strengthen your entire body evenly while paying particular emphasis on core strength. The cornerstone to this exercise is working from the core to the periphery. In addition, the work helps rebalance the muscles around the joints and improve general fitness and wellbeing. These exercises can be done on the mat or on specialised equipment, such as the Reformer, the Cadillac, Stability Chair and the Barrels.

Who came up with Pilates?

The late German-born Joseph Hubertus Pilates. This clever man developed the Pilates method of exercise and, ahead of his time, believed mental and physical health were closely interconnected. His original method of body conditioning was originally called Contrology, “a complete coordination of body, mind and spirit” (Pilates, Miller. 2000, p9).
“It is only through ‘Contrology’ that this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind and spirit can be ever attained ” (Pilates, Miller. 2000, p23).

Who is Pilates for?

Practically everyone can benefit from Pilates exercise. People from all walks of life, ages, levels and fitness backgrounds practise Pilates regularly. Preparatory exercises and modifications allow the technique to be appropriate for many different body types and abilities. Thus, making contemporary Pilates applicable to sport-specific training and everyday life.
Specialised Pilates equipment can help provide support for those with injuries or medical conditions. In addition, the resistance from the apparatus can help challenge anyone’s body.

Pilates Today

Although Joseph Pilates was ahead of his time, he believed that the normal spine should be straight (Pilates 2000, p148). In contrast, we now know that the spine should have 4 natural curvatures for best shock absorption.

Certainly, since the death of Joseph Pilates on 9 October 1967, new information in anatomy, exercise, sports medicine and physical therapy has become available. As a result, updated, contemporary approaches to the original Pilates method have also become widely accepted today. We teach contemporary Pilates at Core Kensington and we call it “Intelligent Pilates”

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 What are the health benefits of Pilates?

There are innumerable accounts on the health benefits of Pilates practice. Although, to this date not enough conclusive research has been published specifically on the entire Pilates method itself, lots of positive research is arising on specific Pilates exercises.

Practitioners of the method advocate its benefits to improve posture, muscle tone, rebalance the muscles around joints, improve mobility, and relieve stress and tension. Surely, elite athletes, including dancers and footballers practise Pilates regularly in order to compliment their training. Even more, their aim is to develop whole-body strength and flexibility and help reduce the risk of injury.

Can I injure myself in Pilates?

This  type of exercise is low-impact, so injuries are not very common. However, we strongly recommend that you chose a qualified instructor and a class level that suits your abilities and fitness level.

We strongly advise you to consult with your GP or relevant healthcare professional on the suitability of certain exercises or movements before you start Pilates. For example, if you suffer from osteoporosis or an acute lumbar herniation with neurological symptoms, spinal flexion would be an absolute contraindication.
Core Kensington’s instructors are fully certified in STOTT PILATES® and overseen by a registered osteopath. We recommend that you book a one-on-one  assessment before any group class if you have any concerns regarding your injury.

What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

Yoga is a group of ancient physical, spiritual and mental disciplines, and modern yoga is a physical activity comprised mainly of asanas. The asanas are body postures or balancing postures typically ending with a period of meditation or relaxation. In contrast, Pilates is a full body workout that does not involve meditation and does not hold positions or poses. The workout is inspired in various disciplines including yoga, gymnastics, ballet dance and athletic sports. In particular, it places more emphasis on the muscles of the core musculature. Moreover, contemporary Pilates methods are anatomically based, making it relevant to rehabilitation and sports therapy.


The contemporary approach. Intelligent Exercise, Profound Results®

We are an independent studio using Merrithew equipment and  STOTT PILATES® methodology.

STOTT PILATES® incorporates modern exercise principles, proven and accepted practices in bio mechanics, rehabilitation and athletic performance enhancement. Co-founders Lindsay and Moira Merrithew dissected and re-connected this unique form of exercise. After realising the benefits of the original Pilates method they developed a comprehensive, systematic, contemporary approach to the original teachings. This was done in collaboration with a team of physical therapists/physiotherapists, sports medicine and exercise professionals.

These exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and re balance the muscles around the joints. Consequently, placing more emphasis on pelvic and scapular stabilisation, and integration of all the parts of the body into one.

 What do we teach in our Pilates Classes?

STOTT PILATES® Five basic principles

In addition to the original Pilates principles we teach the biomechanical STOTT PILATES® Five Basic Principles. These biomechanical principles form the foundation of the method we use and ensure the realisation of maximum benefits from Pilates exercises.
• Breathing
• Pelvic placement
• Rib cage placement
• Scapular movement
• Head & cervical spine placement

Download a PDF explaining the five basic principles of STOTT PILATES®

Content© Merrithew Corporation, used with permission.


Pilates, J.H. & Miller, W.J., 2000. A Pilates’ Primer: The Millenium Edition : Includes the Complete Works of Joseph Pilates, Presentation Dynamics. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=rmPbAAAACAAJ.

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