Pilates workouts are based on an exercise system that was created by German-born Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Pilates – dubbed contrology by its inventor – helps improve strength, flexibility, and control of the body. The system is presently divided into two camps: Classical/Authentic Pilates and Contemporary/Modern Pilates. With the classical/authentic style, exercises are done as Joseph Pilates originally developed them, and they are in the same order from lesson to lesson. The contemporary/modern style, on the other hand, incorporates modifications to Joseph Pilates’ original exercises, with exercise order changing from lesson to lesson.
In Pilates workouts, movements are controlled and emanate from the core, or “powerhouse,” as Joseph Pilates called it. The core consists of the deep, internal muscles of the back and abdomen, and helps to support the spine and serve as the foundation of Pilates exercises. In fact, Pilates workouts often help ease back pain due to the system’s ability to improve core strength and torso stability.
Pilates exercises can be done on a mat, or on different types of apparatus, with names such as the Reformer, the Wunda Chair, and the Cadillac. These pices of equipment use pulleys, springs, and the user’s own body weight to provide resistance for the exercises. Props such as small weighted balls, stability balls, hoops, and resistance bands are sometimes used in modern Pilates.