Is It Really Pilates?

What Is Pilates?

What those in search of a high quality low-impact fitness workout may not know about Pilates is that not all studios follow the same procedures as originally developed by Joseph Pilates.

Following a four-year trademark dispute that ended in 2000, the word “Pilates” was ruled to be a generic term for an exercise method and the Pilates trademark was ruled to be invalid in the United States. While this allowed qualified instructors and studios to use the name Pilates without paying a royalty, it also opened the door to widespread and unregulated use of the term.

As a result of that decision, Pilates has become so broadly interpreted that virtually any exercise routine can now be called “Pilates” regardless of content. Other spinoffs can include workouts that incorporate “core work” that implies a connection to the Pilates Method which may or may not be true.

Unlike some of the so-called certification programs that can be completed in a weekend, aquiring the knowledge to teach the true comprehensive Pilates Method as Joseph Pilates intended takes a great deal of time, study and practice. In most cases an apprenticeship is also required.

Classically Trained Pilates Instruction

The Classic Pilates Method (or Traditional Method) uses the unaltered exercises developed by Joseph Pilates himself. He originally called his method “Contrology” to emphasize the importance of accurately performing the exercises.

Modifications are available to the instructor for purposes of tailoring the workout to meet a client’s specific needs; however, the exercises are still taken from Joe’s original workouts and are performed in a specific order. Whether working on the mat, reformer, cadillac, tower, chair or barrels, all of the Classic Pilates exercises are performed the way Joseph Pilates intended.

If you’re new to the practice, do a little research and ask a few questions to determine the background and qualifications of the instructor and/or studio. That’s the only way you can be assured of getting a true Pilates workout.

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