What is Pilates & Reformer Pilates?

An Explanation of Pilates and Reformer Pilates

Pilates is a uniquely precise and intelligent approach to exercise and body-conditioning. It gives you a leaner, suppler, more toned body and a calmer, more relaxed mind. It takes its name from Joseph Pilates, a German-born emigré to Britain and then America. He devised the exercise method, including the equipment used in reformer Pilates, in the early part of the last century. If you would like background to the creation of Pilates, then visit our history of Pilates page.

Long popular among dancers, gymnasts and others who knew of it, Pilates has now been discovered by a wider public. Devotees range from those who want a stronger back or flatter stomach to those with specific injuries or medical problems that Pilates can help. Others simply want to get fit or de-stress.

Pilates is a gentle, non-aerobic exercise method. It lengthens and strengthens the muscles and improves posture, without stressing the joints or the heart. Indeed, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and doctors now recommend Pilates as one of the safest forms of exercise available.

You can learn Pilates either in group sessions, known as mat-classes, or in a dedicated studio – like Pilates Central. In our dedicated studio you will find expert teachers, combined with specialised, spring-resistance equipment known. Pilates using this type of equipment is called reformer Pilates. The equipment is designed to tone and strengthen your muscles, while placing minimum strain on the joints.

Choosing the Right Pilates Studio

Wherever you learn Pilates, you should make sure that your teacher is properly qualified. Pilates taught by someone without the right training can do you more harm than good. Unfortunately many exercise teachers in gyms and elsewhere now include Pilates exercises in their classes, despite themselves never having had any training at all. Our instructors, meanwhile, have had the best training in the business.

How is Pilates Different to Other Forms of Exercise?

Pilates is more dynamic than yoga, but is less aggressive, sweaty and high-impact than aerobics, jogging or gym-work. The latter, unlike Pilates, can all place damaging strain on the joints and/or heart.

Whereas most forms of exercise build the body’s stronger muscles, Pilates exercises work as much or more to strengthen the weaker ones too. The result is a properly balanced body, with better joint mobility, a firm musculature and good, natural posture.

Pilates helps you achieve such posture by strengthening the centre of the body. This in turn supports your lower back. A strong core helps you to stand straight and hold your upper body correctly.

Whereas many kinds of exercise aim only to raise your general fitness, our instructors are able to isolate and strengthen a specific muscle or tackle a particular problem with a rare precision.

Whereas other forms of exercise often cause injuries, Pilates exercises not only cure injuries but are themselves so controlled and low-impact that they are extremely safe – if taught, that is, by a properly trained instructor. What’s more, the awareness of your body that they develop enables you to avoid the same injuries or problems recurring in the future.

Whereas other forms of exercise promise ‘no gain without pain’, Pilates is a gentle, non-aerobic exercise method, which produces a healthy, toned, mobile body and calm, relaxed mind – and so proves the existence of gain without pain.

For answers to more frequently asked questions, please see our FAQs page.