Corrective Exercise: Origins of Pilates


1.0 The action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.

‘she underwent rehabilitation and was walking within three weeks’ ~Oxford Dictionary definition of Rehabilitation


The Pilates Method  at its very basic, is a movement discipline that can be practised on a mat or on equipment. Pilates is a movement practise that is safe and utilizes self-awareness, precise movement, control, breath, flow and alignment. At its heart, Pilates is the development of self-awareness, strength and flexibility of a body over time. The Pilates Method incorporates movement that is pain free and utilizes movements particular to the body that is doing Pilates.Your body, at a simple level of understanding, is made up of muscles, fascia and bones that intertwine and affect each other. Instead of working major muscle groups in isolation like a gym work out, the Pilates Method considers muscle patterns developed over a lifetime or after an injury. A qualified APMA or PAA registered Professional Pilates Instructor, in a very small studio class, will  write a Pilates Program that will develop efficient neuro-muscular-patternings, after an initial assessment, that help prevent Injury or re-Injury for any client (that is injured or not).

The Pilates Method can be practiced by anyone, from beginners to elite athletes. Everyone can use the Pilates Method to improve their posture, breathing, and alignment. In addition, the mind as well as the body will greatly benefit: you will feel stronger “from the inside out.”

The Pilates method works for everyone, regardless of fitness level. Exercises, which are both mat and machine-based, can be executed by beginners as well as advanced students. Adaptations can be made to accommodate all levels of movement, flexibility and experience. Pilates enthusiasts also include pregnant women (both pre- and post-natal training), the elderly, and those returning to exercise after years of inactivity.

As an example, The Pilates Method approaches movement patterns through a wide-angle camera lens and understanding rather than a macro lens where only the site of difficult movement patterns are observed. Any injury or posture deviation observed builds muscle patternings that become the default pattern that the body revists again and again, unless it is trained to change and learn. The Pilates Method observes these on an individual basis and then uses corrective exercise that targets motor control, neuro-muscular-patternings along side movement , with consideration of the whole body and not on movement isolation.


 An Extract from Joseph Pilates book written in 1934, by him:

"I have the only course in the world that teaches physical education on a corrective basis and brings the results I claim for it. I have invented, as I already stated, several variety of chairs - one for the kindergarten children to build proper posture and keep the spine as it was intended it to be; another for the benefit of those afflicted with knock-knees, bow-legs and flat feet, also a corrective chair; still another for the development of proper posture for the man who must sit at a desk and has little time for exercising; and a fourth as an aid for those who have been afflicted with the scourge of infantile paralysis and require leg and arm movements."


The origins of Pilates and Pilates Equipment was in corrective exercise as Joseph Pilates referred to it in 1934 or Rehabilitation as it is referred to today. The equipment used primarily by Professional Pilates Instructors today is in rehabilitation as well as maintenance. Any equipment marketed to the Professional Pilates market needs to meet Pilates safety, client Safety and Pilates functionality requirements before a client uses it. Clients practise Pilates on equipment so they experience safe Pilates.


Pilates on the reformer

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