You’ve Heard It’s Good for You, But… What Exactly is Pilates?

With the variety of options for fitness these days, it can be difficult to keep them all straight. You may have heard that Pilates is one of the best all-in one fitness modalities but what is Pilates, exactly? The Pilates method is a system of exercises developed by the ingenious German boxer, bodybuilder, gymnast and trainer, Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century.

He believed poor posture, inefficient breathing and the modern lifestyle were the causes of most ailments. As a response, Pilates developed his unique work with the purpose of correcting muscular imbalances in the body, improving posture and coordination and to promote rehabilitative work and improved organ function.

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What is Pilates Apparatus?

While in a British internment camp during WWI, Pilates taught the other prisoners his system of daily movements for both physical and mental well-being, which he eventually called “Contrology.”

Many of these early “students” were, however, bedridden. As a result, Pilates used bedsprings attached to headboards and footboards to create rudimentary versions of what would later become Pilates apparatus to allow for limb movement for those too weak to get out of bed.

While there are many different types of Pilates apparatus, exercises, and mat work, MBS group Pilates classes utilize the universal reformer- perhaps the best known of Pilates’s inventions.

A reformer is a sliding carriage with various spring resistances which help develop dynamic stability, control, strength, focus and whole-body awareness- all essential elements of long-term physical and mental health.

Is Pilates for You?

Yes! Whether you’re recovering from an injury, looking to improve athletic performance or just improving your health- Pilates will help tremendously. You will be hard-pressed to find any workout more efficient or effective in achieving quick results- safely.

While perhaps intimidating at first, under the guidance of a trained professional, you will quickly achieve major results and enjoy doing it. The variety of apparatus and movements provide endless opportunities for challenge and continuous achievement. Pilates students at MBS are wide-ranging in age, levels of fitness, and goals. Our highly-trained instructors will help you achieve your healthiest self no matter where you are starting on that journey.

Purchase a 10 Class Pack and receive a 10% discount per class, plus a $50 credit!

Group Class at Mind Body Soul, Pilates King William Studio with teacher, Kayleigh Miller
Joseph Pilates at work with a student and early reformer prototype.
Mind Body Soul, Pilates teacher Natalii Smith with veteran student Nick Forbes at King William Studio.
Student, Samantha Sloan at King William Pilates Studio.
Mind Body Soul, Pilates teacher Natalii Smith at King William Studio.

How Can Pilates Help You?

Physical Benefits: Pilates enables you to simultaneously build strength, burn calories and increase flexibility- all with little to no impact. It can also both reduce joint pain and can improve athletic performance. Beyond helping you look and feel great, Pilates can also decrease your risk of injury during any other physical activity; whether its participating in athletics, rearranging furniture or playing with your kids. Those who consistently practice Pilates carry themselves higher, enjoy better posture and appear taller than when they started.

Mind Body Soul Pilates Teacher, Natalii Smith with veteran student, Nick Forbes at King William Studio.

Mental Benefits: Deeper muscle activation, controlled, mindful movements and a focus on breath improve overall functioning of your nervous system. The variability of exercises means you are constantly creating new neural pathways for movement and development. The Pilates method focuses on quality of movement rather than sheer quantity. Constant guidance from your instructor helps to refine your movement and target specific areas of the body. This helps relieve stress and tension in your body leading to an overall more relaxed disposition.

Continuous Improvement: The variability of Pilates movements and apparatus enables you to enjoy continuous improvement without struggling through frustrating plateaus in improvement or feeling bored or unchallenged. The methodology has a wide variety of exercises, from foundational and rehabilitative movements to more complex advanced work, so there is always more to learn. The complexity of the work also ensures you’ll work small muscles deep within the body that other methods or exercises can miss. Book your private session today!

Post-Rehabilitation: Pilates is one of the absolute best ways to recover from an injury. The apparatus can help take you from physical therapy to general fitness as well as bridge the gap between medically supervised movement and the gym. Consistent practice helps align the pelvic and spinal muscles, strengthens your core and promotes agility- all in a no or low impact way. A trained Pilates instructor can help guide you in a post-rehab program- building strength, agility, and mobility. Student, Samantha Sloan at King William Studio.

One-On-One Training: (Link to One-on One Training CTA Button) The most efficient and effective way to achieve your fitness goals are found through one-on-one training. MBS Fitness boasts some of the most qualified and experienced teachers in San Antonio ready to help you achieve your goals.

Group Reformer Training: Our group sessions are perfect for the Pilates enthusiast on a budget, in need of last moment options, or who prefers the motivation and camaraderie which comes with a group environment. Click here for a full schedule of Group Reformer Classes.

New to Pilates? A private or duo session or two is recommended (but not required) to get you comfortable with the apparatus and movements before hopping in on a group class.

Keep your eyes out for a post detailing the different Pilates apparatus and their various uses. What else would you like to know about Pilates? Post comments and questions below.

Learn About our Instructors!

Several sources were used to write this FAQ including Easyvigour, JosephPilates.com, The Pilates Foundation and Mind Body Soul’s very own Pilates teacher, Kayleigh Miller.