What is Classical Pilates? Originally named Contrology by Joseph Pilates, it only became known as Pilates after his death. It drew on elements from a number of disciplines and, in his hands, was a challenging and demanding discipline. Controlology’s key aims were:
- To stretch, strengthen and balance the musculoskeletal system
- To improve postural alignment
- Focus on breath control – particularly through the abdominals
- To strengthen the abdominals and stabilise the pelvis, spine and shoulder girdle
- To increase muscular flexibility and joint mobility
Joseph’s clients were typically strong and fit, body aware and well co-ordinated – many were dancers. As a result, he could train their bodies as a whole system, rather than isolating specific muscles or muscle groups. However, his focus was less on repetition than on perfection of the movement, so there was no aerobic element to his programme. After Joseph’s death, and in the hands of new generations of teachers, his system evolved. It became slower paced, less challenging and less intense as Pilates adapted to a population without the strength or body control of Joseph’s original clients. With a more sedentary client base, there was more focus on postural correction, muscle isolation and re-educating muscle patterns, and also a greater rehab element. OK, so what’s Ten’s Dynamic Pilates? In some ways we’ve rolled the clock back. Like Joseph, we’re open-minded on the benefits of different disciplines, we’re focused on good posture through all movements, and we integrate full body movements into our classes. But in other ways, we’ve also moved quite a long way forward. We have adapted the original Contrology method for the 21st century by:
- Increasing the dynamic flow of the exercises
- Increasing the number of repetitions and level of exertion. By working the muscles to fatigue we grow stronger and adapt faster, and by building strength we can then work harder
- Focusing more on neutral spine to reduce the risk of posture-related injury
- Adding aspects of weights and circuit training into the sessions to increase the heart rate and challenge the body further.
- Making sets longer with less resting time, to add an aerobic component and increase stamina
What should you feel in one of Ten’s Dynamic Pilates Classes?
- You’ll focus – hard – on technique, posture and form
- You’ll work hard, you’ll sweat, your heart will pound and your muscles will burn and shake as you work them to failure (which will in turn make you stronger)
- You’ll work the stabilising muscles to strengthen joints, improve movement patterns and reduce the risk of injury
- You’ll also bring the larger muscles into play, putting greater stress on your heart and lungs, and burning more oxygen – and more calories
- You’ll feel safe and motivated, thanks to the personal and hands-on attention, expertise and enthusiasm of your Trainer
- You’ll improve posture and body awareness, helping you move better, more efficiently and more safely in your everyday life
And after 55 minutes of intense, time-efficient and effective effort, you’ll leave standing taller, tired but energised, with aching muscles and a highly addictive endorphin-fuelled glow.