What is Pilates?


Joseph H. Pilates developed the Pilates Method over 80 years ago. The Pilates Method of body conditioning is a series of over 500 controlled movements engaging your mind and body. It promotes physical harmony and balance for people of all ages and physical conditions while providing a refreshing and energizing workout. Focusing on developing the core or “powerhouse” to support the spine to gain flexibility and strength for better posture, balance and mobility. Pilates method classes are taught in small groups or in private sessions to ensure quality and personal attention.

What does the Method accomplish?

To relieve back pain; control weight disorders; relieve stress and stress-related disorders; improve flexibility of the muscles and joints; lengthen and strengthen the body; correct posture by correcting the body’s coordination, balance, and alignment; stimulate the circulatory system; oxygenate the blood, thus releasing endorphins; help heal injured tissues; and help prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones).

Who can use the Pilates Method?

Active people who lead stressful lives; athletes, such as football, baseball and basketball players, skiers, golfers, tennis and racquetball players; dancers, actors, musicians and all performing artists; those with tissue damage; senior citizens; pregnant women; and for all men and women, and boys and girls over 12 years of age. The Method is also very productive for those who lead sedentary lives.

When and why the Pilates Method started?

Joseph H. Pilates was a sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. As a teenager in the 1890s, he began his lifelong quest to improve his health. Eventually, he developed some 500 exercises that helped him and his followers lead a long healthy life. In 1926, he moved from Germany to New York City and established his own fitness studio, attracting many dancers, athletes, and businessmen.

How is the Method accomplished?

By working out with generally low-stress exercises using different apparatus. This book introduces the core exercises for beginners. Intermediate and advanced exercises are also available – on video, or taught by certified instructors at Pilates Studios throughout the world.

What is the primary focus for Pilates?

To develop the body and mind uniformly. To concentrate on the Powerhouse, including working the Abs and the upper glutes. To exercise without strain to the heart or other internal organs. To gain power and grace.

Can a person lose weight by doing Pilates?

By using the Pilates Method, you will tighten all your muscles and lose inches around stomach, thighs, and buttocks. In conjunction with proper diet, the Method promotes lean and graceful appearance.

Is Pilates a cardiovascular workout?

Once you are skilled in the exercises and move through them fluidly, your hear rate will increase and you will sweat, providing you with an aerobic workout.

Can a person do Pilates in conjunction with other exercise?

Yes, there is no prohibition from working with other exercise programs depending on your goals.

How many hours a week do I need to spend on Pilates?

For beginners, the recommendation is three days per week. When the exercises are fully learned, this will occupy less than one hour per day.

What age group should use Pilates?

Any age group from 12 years and up.

What about pregnancy and Pilates?

Pilates is perfect regimen to prepare your body for pregnancy and to remain flexible and strong while you are carrying. If you are not already training in the Method prior to conception it is NOT recommended that you begin after you become pregnant. However, the Method is ideally suited for post-natal recovery regardless of prior experiences.


The Joseph H. Pilates Archive Collection edited by Sean P. Gallagher, P.T. and Romana Kryzanowska

The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler

The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning by Sean P. Gallagher, P.T. and Romana Kryzanowska

Return to Life Through Contrology and Your Health by Joseph Hubertus Pilates