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Pilates: Fact vs Fiction

8 common misconceptions about Pilates.

The following statements about Pilates are pervasive. You've heard them all before. Do you believe them?

We don't know what we don't know. It's difficult to challenge a myth with words. You have to experience the truth to debunk a myth thoroughly. I believed many of the following statements at one time. Sometimes, we have to suspend our beliefs and give something a try to understand the truth entirely.

Before discounting Pilates as not for you, try it while keeping the following in mind. Decide for yourself what fact versus fiction is.

Myth #1 - Pilates is hard.

Fact: Pilates is customizable.

Pilates is adaptable to create the appropriate challenge for you. Small in-person classes or private sessions tailored to you and your needs provide the best results. If an on-demand or large group class feels unattainable, it doesn't mean you can't do Pilates. It means the class is the wrong fit for you. Look for classes with beginner, intermediate or advanced classifications.

Myth #2 - Pilates is only for women.

Fact: Joseph Pilates created the method for men in the 1920's.

After Joseph moved from Europe to New York, the female ballet community gravitated to the method for its ability to reduce injury. Several current male athletes include Pilates in their training. Jeremy Chinn of the South Carolina Panthers and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo are two examples.

"It was hard, But I was like, 'This is something that is going to make me better,' so I continued to do it. I can definitely feel the difference. A lot more flexibility." -Jeremy Chinn to ESPN

Myth #3 - Pilates is expensive.

Fact: There's an option for every budget.

I practiced Pilates at home for the first ten years with a book, VHS tape, and DVDs. It wasn't until 2011 that I took an actual class at a studio. Today, there are several options. Studio Pilates is more expensive than large mat classes or on-demand classes. You are paying for the personalization at a studio. If the cost of a studio session is outside your budget, you could schedule one or two private sessions to get the tools and insight you can use to help you ensure good form while doing the less expensive on-demand classes.

Myth #4 - Pilates is only for the flexible.

Fact: Pilates is for everyone.

It is an excellent method to help build flexibility. You don't need to be flexible to get started.

Myth #5 - Pilates isn't cardio.

Fact: Depending on the tempo of the class, Pilates can raise the heart rate.

Pilates can be slow and deliberate or move at a tempo that gets the blood pumping. Adding a jumpboard to the reformer is also a great way to increase cardio.

Myth #6 - Pilates doesn't build strength.

Fact: Pilates builds functional strength and endurance.

Pilates aims to increase strength and flexibility to protect joints and increase endurance and range of motion. I notice my strength gains when on my bike, hiking inclines, or needing to carry something heavy.

Myth #7- You need specialized equipment for Pilates.

Fact: You only need a mat for Pilates.

Joseph Pilates designed the equipment to help people accomplish the more complex and advanced moves on the mat. The original mat repertoire of 32 exercises can be highly challenging and is considered the gold standard of the method. However, even the mat exercises are adaptable for each individual.

Myth #8 - Pilates is just like yoga.

Fact: Yoga informed Pilates.

The similarities are easily seen in the shapes of the movement because Joseph incorporated them into the method. However, Pilates is more dynamic in the way of adding repetitions and seldom holding a pose.

Quarterly newsletter coming in 2024!

The newsletter will include upcoming events and projects. Also, each quarter, I will provide an in-depth look at a particular Pilates exercise and how you can apply the information to your home practice and your daily life. Digging deeper than my Instagram posts. I'll also include what I'm learning from workshops, books and other instructors. Sign up with your email below.

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