What does Pilates look like?

Kimberly Robins Pilates

I wish Pilates wasn’t so “known” for it’s intense exercises that show a super skinny woman in the splits or a very defined man doing crazy pull ups. Don’t get me wrong, Pilates can look like that. But it’s rare!

What does Pilates really look like? It looks like lying on your back, slowly learning to engage your core muscles properly before you even move a leg or an arm. It looks like learning to breathe differently than we do sitting at our desks. It looks like learning to feel the deep muscles that support your structure. It looks like using “torture like” machines to help you hold up your legs so you can learn to move your legs separate from your pelvis while keeping your core engaged and your spine stable.

Pilates looks like yoga, martial arts and calisthenics because it is similar. Pilates has a very “zen” feel to it as we are asked to find focus, control, concentration and fluidity in each movement. Pilates emphasizes breath work and precision throughout each exercise. It’s a very mindful form of movement. Pilates is mind-body centered as we control our bodies via the mind. You will learn much about your body and how it moves and should move through Pilates.

Pilates can feel relaxing. Pilates can look like a really good workout. Pilates can be done completely lying on your back. Pilates can also look like handstands and backbends. However the most important thing about Pilates is that is completely adaptable to your needs at each moment. Pilates is totally versatile.

Pilates looks different for every person that walks into my studio. It’s going to look like what you need it to look like to benefit your body. You won’t know that should look like, but I will. Depending on your movement goals, your pain, your flexibility and your level of strength, I will pull together the exercises that will best fit your needs.

Pilates is a specific system of exercises designed to support the structure (think spine) and balance your tissues (think leg vs arm strength) and it help to balance your flexibility and strength. If we are so strong (or tight) our flexibility might be limited and if we are super flexible we may lack strength in certain areas. Pilates helps to balance us out completely so we move more efficiently, avoiding injury and decreasing pain.