was Joseph Pilates and what is the exercise method that bears
so special about Pilates?
are the exercises like?
is Pilates taught?
is "Classic-Style" Pilates?
can I be sure that my instructor is teaching "Classic-Style"
can I find Classic-Style instructors in my area?
was Joseph Pilates and what is the excercise method that bears
H. Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. Former acrobat, pugilist
and World War I POW, he developed into what can only be described
as a fitness visionary. After decades of research, he brought
to New York City in 1926 a method of body conditioning the likes
of which health and exercise enthusiasts had never seen. Rather
than focusing on sets of repetitive weight-bearing movements,
Pilates developed a series of specialized exercises to build strength,
control and flexibility. Many of the exercises could be performed
on nothing more than a floor mat, although hundreds were developed
using a series of specialized machines. Joseph Pilates taught
his method of "Contrology" until 1967, when he died
at the age of 87.
more than seventy years after its introduction, the Pilates Method
of Body Conditioning has become one of the most popular forms
of fitness training available. Not only has the professional dance
community embraced it as the premier method of core-strength training,
but athletes and celebrities have used it over the decades to
develop the svelte, powerful bodies that their professions demand.
this somewhat glamorous background, Pilates training continues
to be one of the fastest growing exercise methods for all walks
of life -- from pre-teens to octonegarians, Pilates is embraced
not only as a form of specialized training and physical rehabilitation,
but as a deeply effective method of achieve health and well-being.
put, Pilates feels good. As Joseph Pilates himself said "You
will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and
have a completely new body in 30 sessions."
so special about Pilates?
is a different method of exercise than any other. Key points are:
move gradually through "Beginning", "Intermediate"
and "Advanced" stages of development, focusing at
first on the core "Powerhouse" area of the body --
generally the area of the body that consists of the abdominal
muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks, working together to
form the core strength of the body. Development of this area
is critical to the advancement of the client through the stages
of progress. Clients are not advanced until their bodies are
are generally not performed rapidly nor are they repeated in
many sets -- rather, the focus is on control, deep strengthening,
lengthening and flexibility.
the mat and equipment exercises are specifically ordered and
tailored to lengthen and strengthen, rather than build bulk.
Symmetry and flexibility is stressed, as well as absolute control.
Pilates bodies are leaner, more balanced and stronger than average.
Sessions are one-on-one, and usually last about an hour. Clients
are closely observed and are coached by instructors through
each movement until the client masters the form and intent of
many exercise methods, teachers of Classic-Style
Pilates are highly trained. Individuals cannot apply
to become instructors without a prerequisite 75 private sessions
with one or more certified instructors. Once the application
is accepted, the client enters the certification program. Each
would-be instructor then attends a series of intense training
workshops and must apprentice themselves to an
Affiliated Studio for no less than 600 hours.
During these 600 hours
of apprenticeship clients are observed and guided by "Teachers
of Teachers." A series of 3 written and 3 practical exams
insures that the apprentice is ready to teach without observation.
It can take a year or more for a client to achieve full certification.
are Pilates exercises like?
are two major elements to the Pilates method -- "matwork"
exercises and those movements performed on equipment. Over the
course of a lifetime, Joseph Pilates developed hundreds of exercises
using both a simple mat on the floor as well as a variety of specialized
equipment, referred to as "apparatus." These include
the Reformer, the Cadillac or Table, the Chair, the Barrel and
several other specialized pieces of equipment.
exercises were primarily developed to align, lengthen and strengthen.
Movements are generally not "aerobic" in nature, particularly
in the beginning. Instead, Pilates exercises vary in dynamic depending
on the exercise. Control and precision are emphasized, repetitions
are fewer and focus on isolating muscle groups and developing
core strength. Joseph Pilates developed hundreds of exercises,
most of which can be modified to suit various body types and injuries.
is the Pilates Method Taught?
general, Pilates is taught one-on-one in 1-hour sessions with
a professionally certified Pilates instructor. This is especially
true in the beginning, and for any exercises involving apparatus.
A typical Pilates private session consists of both apparatus
and mat work as well as any specialized exercises to address your
individual body type. In this way the client gradually builds
strength, control and balance before moving to more advanced exercises.
is "Classic-Style Pilates"
October of 2000 there was a legal decision in Manhattan Federal
District court that effectively cancelled the Pilates trademark.
This decision, while having the effect of allowing certain longstanding
Pilates centers and equipment manufacturers to use the Pilates
name without paying dues to any organization, also opened up the
possibility of anyone becoming a "certified" Pilates
instructor. There are now websites where prospective teachers
can purchase a "Pilates Certification" for $39.95!
a result, potential Pilates clients must become aware of the distinction
between highly trained instructors in the method approved by Joseph
Pilates and those that have obtained their "certifications"
by less rigorous means.
"Classic-Style Pilates" is a general term to describe the Pilates Method as was
taught and practiced by Joseph Pilates himself (or at least as close as possible to the original
There is some disagreement as to which of the myriad "branches" of the original
Pilates method are the most "Classic," but there are several which clearly have remained as true as possible to the
method as Joseph himself taught it. For the purposes of the FAQ, and of this site, we will focus on three branches:
The Pilates Studio (of NY)
All three of these schools offer their own certification, and in the opinion of Orange County Pilates, all three are valid methods. On our site, we feature only links to studios that are affiliated to one of the three branches listed above.
is "Power Pilates"
Power Pilates has been operating since 1989. In 1997 they established the certification programs in New York City to preserve and teach the classical technique of Joseph Pilates. The demand for quality instructors lead to an international network of training centers all of which meet Power Pilates high standards of education and commitment to excellence. They have certified over 2000 instructors at over 20 different locations worldwide.
Where can I
find a Power Pilates Instructor in Orange County, California?
Currently, there is just one studio in Orange County that is a participating Power Pilates center. The name of the studio is "House of Pilates" and they are located in Irvine, CA.
can I be sure that my instructor is teaching "Classic-Style Pilates"
Pilates" is a general term to describe a Pilates school or branch which adheres as much as possible to the original teachings of Joseph Pilates.
you are considering Pilates instruction, and would like to be
sure that you will be receiving the best training possible, ask
the Pilates center or individual instructor how they were certified,
by whom, and how many hours of instruction/apprenticeship they received. If they are certified by one of the schools listed above, then you can be sure they have received an adequate amount of training. Naturally, this is important, especially from a safety standpoint, but it does not account for the wide range of expertise which is gained through experience, and natural talent.
can I find Classic-Style Pilates instructors
members in my area?
you live in Orange County, California you should visit
the Orange County Pilates
website. Most instructors based in Orange County certified by
the Pilates Studio of New York , Romana's Pilates, and Power Pilates are listed on that site. If you
live farther away, the best way to find an instructor near you
is to check the instructor listings at the sites shown above.
I am interested in becoming a Certified Pilates Instructor. Is there a certification center in Orange County?
There is one now! We are happy to report that there is now a certifying center where prospective students can become certified in the Power Pilates program. Pilates Certification is rigorous, but well worth it, both in terms of job-satisfaction and financial rewards. House of Pilates located in Irvine, CA, is a Power Pilates Affiliate Training Center. Affiliate Training Centers have a "Teacher of Teachers" onsite, and students can do all of their training at the center itself. This is enormously convenient for residents of Orange County, CA who wish to become Certified Pilates Instructors.