Fitness Articles

9 Myths & Misconceptions about Pilates

The Truth about the Pilates Method

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Pilates is too hard.
Pilates can be very humbling, even for people who are in good shape.  Many other forms of exercise do not engage the deep core muscles in the same way that Pilates does.  A good Pilates class will include instruction for every level of fitness and a breakdown of how to properly perform the movements for your body.  
 
You need equipment to do Pilates.
Joseph Pilates invented several pieces of exercise equipment to enhance the mat-based program, but you don't need any equipment to do Pilates. Mat Pilates classes are available at most exercise facilities and are a great way to get a Pilates workout for your whole body.
 
Pilates only works your core.
While Pilates does build core strength, Mr. Pilates always emphasized that his exercises were for the whole body.  He believed the more muscles you use to perform a movement, the more efficient the movement would be.  This creates a system of functional strength that applies to all movements.  The Pilates system teaches a balance of strength and flexibility, or, "the uniform development of our bodies as a whole," Pilates often said.
 
Pilates is only for flexible people.
Flexibility is an inherent part of Pilates training, so you will gain flexibility by doing Pilates regularly.  The exercises are geared to improving flexibility for a more limber body with greater ranges of motion.  And for those people who are overly flexible, the core conditioning creates joint stability so the goal is a balance of strength and flexibility. All exercises can be modified or adapted to suit each individual's flexibility level.
 
Pilates is too expensive.
The area you live in will make a difference on the price of Pilates classes, but you can find affordable Pilates classes almost anywhere in the United States.  Mat Classes and even group Reformer classes can cost as little as $10 to $20. Many clubs even offer mat Pilates classes for no additional charge when you pay for a gym membership. These fees are comparable with most individual exercise classes, whether you take yoga, Jazzercise, Zumba or some other fitness class. But Pilates instructors and believers will often say that the investment is worth it, as Pilates almost acts as "daily rehab" in the prevention of mobility issues and injury.
 
Pilates is only for young, fit people.
There are many approaches to Pilates and the method can have a wide range of applications.  Many clubs choose specific populations to target children athletes, seniors, or moms to be. There are also classes and private sessions for the rehabilitation of knee injuries, back problems, hip replacements and more, often taught by physical therapists.  Pilates programs address scoliosis, arthritis and osteoporosis as well as specialized sports programs for equestrians, runners and golfers. Simply put, there is a style or modification available for all levels, almost all injuries and most health issues. Pilates can truly be enjoyed by just about everyone.
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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

  • The photo used for this article probably is used to show that you can be fit from pilates. But the photo has probably been photoshopped, otherwise I would recognize that woman with such long arms from at least college basketball or volleyball. - 4/8/2016 9:30:55 PM
  • The gym I belong to offers several Pilates classes, and I take a class every Monday. Most instructors will also show the class modified versions of each exercise. It is a great form of exercise that allows everyone to work at their level. I am 54 years old and have a lot of osteoarthritis, and Pilates helps my body stay flexible and strong. I suffered with sciatica for 8 months, and Pilates was the ONLY thing that helped me (that is why I started doing it). Don't be intimidated, try it! - 4/7/2016 10:49:47 AM
  • REGINAFUG
    Other than it being expensive, it is an amazing system to keep your body tuned up, assuming you are attending classes in a reputable studio. :) - 4/7/2016 2:26:46 AM
  • REGINAFUG
    Pilates IS NOT expensive, you said? I beg to differ. Floor Pilates you might get away with a group session and pay $10-20 per session. Reformer Pilates, in a group setting,up to three classes a week, it's about $240 in a studio in Houston, but that's if you sign up for at least three months at a time.

    rivate lessons? more like $80-100 per hour. It is not cheap!! - 4/7/2016 2:24:04 AM
  • Pilates IS expensive if you're training anywhere other than at home. And, even if you have some of the equipment (which all costs something, and something adds up), doing a move wrong does more damage than good, so it's actually to a person's benefit to take classes. In addition, not all Pilates instructors are created equal. I've had classes with a person who must've been in the bottom 5% of her class because she knew no modifications, was not helpful in body movement descriptions even when given specific questions, and left me hurting more than when I walked in. Yes, actual pain, not soreness. Then I found an amazing instructor with thousands of modifications and suggestions on body movement techniques. She's half the price of most instructors, but still $45 for private session. Too bad she's moving and it's entirely possible that I'm back to the "affordable" instructors who seem to be trainers with a mail order certificate in Pilates. - 10/3/2014 1:26:48 PM
  • 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

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