Classical Pilates vs. Contemporary Pilates

What does Classical Pilates Mean?

As a representative of the Power Pilates® training program, I am considered a Classically trained Pilates instructor. Sounds great, but what does that mean?  As with anything, there are different training modalities for Pilates training.  We consider them to be on a spectrum from Contemporary to Classical.  In Power Pilates®, we train in a systematic, integrative, classical format in that we stay true to the integrity of the teachings of Joseph Pilates.  Our training is systematic in that it starts with exercises that we consider to be the foundation of Pilates, progresses towards intermediate level work, and then can further progress into advanced exercises for the seasoned practitioner.  It is integrative in that it encompasses all pieces of Pilates apparatus so that the workout is best suited to the client or clients in any given session.  And lastly, it is classical in that we have studied the photos, film clips, and writings that Joseph Pilates himself created.  We have also interviewed and studied from what we call the Pilates Elders, those that actually worked with Joe Pilates while he was teaching.

Here is a video of a classical exercise Hanging Pull-ups on the Cadillac



How about Contemporary Pilates?

When we refer to Contemporary Pilates, we often refer to programs that have taken the apparatus and use it in ways that we do not know Joe Pilates to have used it.  In fact, the dimensions of the apparatus and the routines are often altered and the exercises may be modified or changed in ways that Joe Pilates did not do them.  Typically, there is a very strict ‘routine’ in the classical style so that the client will know exactly what is coming up and therefore be able to work with depth into the exercises.  Contemporary programs, like STOTT®, BASI® often vary from class to class which appeals to clients who like more variety with their repertoire but can sometimes lack the depth of work because it is always changing.  Of course, like all things, there is a continuum where some programs are strictly classical, some are very contemporary, and some have elements of both and meet more towards the middle.

Benefits of Classical Pilates!

Classical Pilates speaks to me as I have seen it make significant changes for my clients.  I have seen physical changes, from injury recovery to weight loss; mental/emotional changes from depression/anxiety support to self-esteem and empowerment.  The routine of the Classical method works for everyone.  It can help clients make changes from the inside out and it can help clients who are coming in with absolutely no fitness regimen along with those who are on the elite end of the fitness range.  Other benefits that will be seen are Strength, Flexibility, Balance, Breath, Concentration, Control, and Efficiency of Movement.  I highly suggest trying to find a Classical Pilates studio and noticing for yourself how great you feel when you are done!

register at Providence Pilates Center here!

Sara Dorsch