Fitness Articles

9 Myths & Misconceptions about Pilates

The Truth about the Pilates Method

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When I tell people that I'm a master Pilates trainer, I get a lot of interesting reactions. People who practice and love Pilates are quick to ask their burning questions or express their envy at my "dream" job. But many people who are less familiar with the popular form of exercise ask a lot of questions—and make a lot of assumptions. They say things like, "Oh, I could never do Pilates," (and then allude to an injury, health issue, or the fact that they don't think it'd be challenging enough. Some show confusion, thinking Pilates is the same as yoga. And still others mention having tried Pilates once or twice, but never really "getting" it.
 
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about this form of exercise. If you could relate to the examples above—or you're just interested in learning more about what Pilates can do for you, read on as we crack the top nine myths about Pilates—together.
 
Pilates is just for women.
Pilates was originally designed by a man (Joseph Pilates) and for men.  Pilates himself was a boxer and circus performer, and he trained both Scotland Yard and the Hamburg Military Police in self-defense and physical training before coming to New York in 1926. His studio was near the New York City Ballet so many dancers went to him for both physical rehabilitation and injury prevention. These days, more women participate in Pilates programs than men, but many male sports teams are incorporating Pilates exercises into their cross training programs. Read the story of three modern day men who practice Pilates for everything from body-building to triathlon training.
 
Pilates is like yoga.
While the goal of uniting body, mind and spirit may be the same in both techniques, getting there is quite a different path depending on which mat-based routine you practice.  Yoga and Pilates approach movement differently; have different breathing styles; and utilize very different exercises—although there are some overlaps in these movements. In contrast to yoga, Pilates offers more than just mat-based work; Joseph Pilates invented several pieces of equipment (such as the reformer, Cadillac, tower, barrel and more) in the early 1900s that are still used in Pilates classes today. Learn more about the similarities and differences between yoga and Pilates.   
 
Pilates is too easy.
Pilates is only easy if you aren't doing the exercises properly.  If you are going through the motions without applying the principles of control, centering, concentration and precision, it may feel easy—but you are not really doing Pilates.  Properly performed, the exercises should be challenging and rejuvenating for all fitness levels.  Because the exercises engage the deepest core muscles, you need to understand how to do them properly to get the most benefit. That's why it's great to take a class with a qualified instructor who can watch and correct your form as needed.
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About The Author

Kathy Corey Kathy Corey
Kathy Corey is a Master Teacher who began her Pilates career in 1979. She has been a leading expert in the Pilates community for over 34 years and was named by IDEA as one of 10 people who "inspire the world to fitness," the fitness industry's highest recognition. As Director of Kathy Corey Pilates, she developed the Kathy Corey Pilates Certification Program and designed the innovative CORE Bandô, which is used in studios around the world. She also serves as the Chairperson of the IDEA Pilates Task Force, as Contributing Editor for IDEA Pilates Today, and as an Advisory Board Member for Pilates Style magazine. You can work out with Kathy online at PilatesAnytime.com, a global Pilates studio.

Member Comments

  • what i found amusing was the comment about it not being expensive at 10 to 20 dollars a lesson. I used to pay 50 dollars for three months of karate. And it allowed me to train at ANY of their dojos at ant time (i could have trained 6 days a week if I had been so inclined) - 5/8/2014 10:04:35 PM
  • If you can't afford regular classes, maybe attend a few and work out to DVD's at home.
    Some health channels on TV might have a class you can work out to.
    I am happy to read an article that says there are different levels of Pilates, if you have body restrictions.
    I am 72, started out in Yoga, changed to Pilates and do 30 minutes everyday. Attend a hour class maybe once a week, at my gym, and the other days at home.
    I am very flexible. But definitely have issues with RA, knee replacements, and back injury.
    I believe that if you think positive and give something a try, you might find it's not as difficult as you thought . - 3/29/2014 10:10:09 AM
  • Thank you! I have been hesitant to try it but I think I will try it! - 1/16/2014 12:17:56 AM
  • KJOYNER12
    Love (NOT) the response to the myth, it cost too much...10-20 a class!??? If you really wanted to get the benefits, I imagine one class a month is not enough, so what 2x a week, so now we are at $80-160/month. Jeez - 10/31/2013 11:52:40 AM
  • Good info. Thanks. - 10/29/2013 6:57:32 AM
  • BUTCHER999
    Hi:

    I do a lot of cycling and running but always had a painful back - in fact, I was born with scoliosis and have had back surgery. I've been doing a pilates routine for my core for over six years and I am now pain free!!! Yes, pain free!!!! - 10/27/2013 8:29:21 AM
  • LIBELULLE
    I love my PIlates sessions. I've invested (!) for one-on-one sessions with a really good and supportive instructor. She's good because she knows how to encourage me to push my boundaries safely, and keeps on emphasizing what I am able to do while working on the things I need to loosen, stretch and strengthen. After a session a lot of pain has gone away, I am relaxed, destressed , grounded and happy. For the time being Pilates works better for me than yoga, which I did for three years. - 10/27/2013 5:02:45 AM
  • Never did it before. - 10/1/2013 3:36:54 PM
  • Never did it before. - 10/1/2013 3:36:03 PM
  • I've done pilates videos in the past and it is certainly not an easy workout. You sweat! - 9/28/2013 1:52:07 PM
  • I took my first beginner Pilates class this week. I was able to do almost everything but I still felt well exercised and I was sore the next day. I need to modify the roll for now but I'm excited to get back to do another class. - 9/28/2013 9:13:32 AM
  • With Pilates there are movements that some might have difficulty doing. whether it be weight , arthritis issue or something else. The same can be said for yoga.
    So if one wants to try Pilates, do what your body can do. You don't have to adapt every move in the beginning or ever for that matter.
    When I first started weighing in at over 300 lbs, some of the moves were impossible. As I lost weight, got more flexible and my confidence built, I could do more. There will always be people better than I am, but that doesn't stop me from doing a Pilates workout every day. I try to get in 30 minutes a day.
    Some days working just certain part of the body.
    I enjoy doing Pilates better than Yoga. But somedays I will incorporate both into my workout.
    I'm a flexible strong 71 year old who hope to be the same at 81 and 91.
    - 8/15/2013 5:25:41 PM
  • I love it where the author says, "Pilates is for JUST ABOUT everyone." No mention was made if it could be adapted for those of us with serious weight issues. That's the sole reason I have not tried Pilates or yoga, because I'm just too darn fat to do them. - 7/7/2013 12:31:16 PM
  • PROUDHORSEMOMMA
    I love Pilates!! If cost is a concern for you, like it is for me, there are tons of good Pilates videos on Hulu Plus for $8 a month. I lay out a long mirror on the floor underneath my TV so I can see myself and watch my form, since I don't have an instructor there. It burns your muscles a little, but then you always feel rejuvinated afterwards! - 6/10/2013 1:02:22 PM
  • PUGGLEMONKEY
    I'm glad it works well for those who enjoy it. But for me it is painful both during and after. I don't just mean muscle soreness, but also skeletal and nerve pain as well. My knees and neck won't take it, though I can do the Total Gym and Leslie Sansone videos. I also find it stressful during the workout, whereas my TG and walking workouts are relaxing for me. I have arthritis also and agree with another poster that Pilates seems to make it flare up. To each his/her own I guess. - 4/4/2013 2:46:49 PM
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