5 Myths About Pilates

There are plenty of myths out there, Pilates is no exception. I have had many clients over the years express a sense of relief when they realized the preconceived myths have been busted. With almost everything out there, there are myths. I would like to clarify a few common ones for Pilates.

1. Pilates is not just mat work, apparatus is used too

Pilates originated with mat work. However, Joseph Pilates realized that not everyone could do the mat work so he created springs. The leg springs on the cadillac were created for those in hospital camps who were unable to get out of bed but were able to move their legs with the support of the springs. The reformer, chair and other apparatus followed.

2. Pilates uses your entire body, not just your “core”

When studying Pilates, you work your primary powerhouse - the pelvic floor, then your secondary powerhouse - the shoulder girdle and then your limps. Though challenging to coordinate all these moving parts, the goal is to work every part of your body during every exercise. Reality is that it takes years to do and one continuously tries to work towards that, which in turn, keeps Pilates interesting. You don’t always have to seek new exercises to find a challenge. Sometimes the most basic exercises prove the most effective.

3. Pilates is for everyone: men, women, children, elderly, injured, weak and strong

Not every exercise is for everyone but it is important to have a fully certified instructor who determines which exercises are the most helpful. Depending if one has any issues, a private Pilates session may be more appropriate than a group session. Always discuss this with your teacher first.

4. Pilates is not just for dancers.

Many dancers went to Joseph Pilates’ studio and his principal student, Romana Kryzanowska, kept Pilates alive after Joseph and Clara Pilates passed away, was a dancer. The reputation has been that it is for dancers only because there were many dancers who practiced Pilates, that does not mean that Pilates is solely intended for dancers. Joseph Pilates created Pilates, which was originally Controlgoy, in order to help people with physical rehabilitation. The foundation of Pilates is to rehab the body so that you can enjoy life and the activities that they love the most, whether it be dancing, golfing, boxing, hiking, running, surfing, etc or even just living.

5. Pilates was not created by a dancer or a woman. It was created by a man named Joseph Pilates.

Pilates or Contrology, was created by Joseph Pilates in the 1930s. He created mat exercises showcased in his book, “Return to Life Through Contrology”, published in 1945. During World War II, he created the cadillac which came from a hospital bed. Joseph Pilates created reformers, chairs, barrels, beds, combo apparatus and other small pieces like the magic circles, foot correctors, toe correctors, sand bags, etc. He was a very innovative creator. He took parts of his method from Yoga, boxing, fencing, the circus, etc and would individualize exercises fro the body. Pilates created a combination of exercises that allows you to create strength for your muscles and bones but add flexibility at the same time.

Photo taken by

Chuck Rapoport