What is Pilates?
The Pilates method is a holistic exercise system devised by Joseph Pilates in
the early 1900s, drawing inspiration from gymnastics, yoga, martial arts, Zen
meditation, and ballet, amongst others.
It can be performed with or without specialist Pilates equipment, and
provides a balanced, whole-body exercise programme designed to:
- stretch, and strengthen the musculoskeletal system
- restore the body to a more natural balance
- improve postural alignment
- strengthen the abdominals and stabilise the pelvis, spine and shoulder girdle
- improve balance and increase muscular flexibility and joint mobility
What is Reformer Pilates?
Quite simply Reformer Pilates is Pilates performed on a Reformer machine.
One of the most adaptable and effective pieces of exercise equipment available,
the Pilates Reformer allows a greater number of exercises than is possible just
using a mat. The Pilates Reformer is essentially a low frame, with a sliding
platform (or carriage) on which you lie, sit, kneel or stand to perform
different routines. The carriage is connected to the Reformer frame by a series
of springs that can be adjusted to provide more support, and thus make an
exercise easier, or to increase resistance and/or instability to increase the
difficulty and challenge of the routine.
What are the benefits of Pilates?
Pilates is one of the best all-round forms of exercise available.
There are too many advantages to list them all but here are 10 key
- It’s a great, highly effective and time-efficient full body
- It strengthens the core – the muscles that support the hips, spine and
neck - really important for anyone who spends hours a day at a desk, or
hunched over a laptop or a screen because it improves spinal alignment and
reduces the risk of posture-related pain or injury.
- It improves muscle strength, endurance and tone – particularly around
the abdominals, lower back, hips and glutes.
- It improves posture, flexibility and balance – essential for our
physical wellbeing, but too often lost thanks to today’s sedentary
- It’s prehabilitative – meaning that it doesn’t just make you stronger
and fitter, it also helps prevent injury.
- It’s mindful and immersive - a valuable time-out from the pressures of
work and day-to-day life. Promoting focus, presence and concentration, it’s
a great way to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Many exercises are bodyweight based, improving bone density, and
boosting the circulation.
- It’s low impact, and suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
- By improving your posture, strengthening, toning and lengthening your
muscles, you’ll stand taller and look leaner.
- You feel and see the benefits fast. As Joseph Pilates said “In 10
sessions, you’ll feel better, in 20 sessions you’ll look better, and in 30
sessions you’ll have a completely new body.”
What to wear to a Pilates Class
Wear comfortable clothing that will allow you to move freely (and
to sweat). Usually a t-shirt or vest and shorts or leggings. While
you should be comfortable, tops should be close-fitting enough for
you to be able to monitor and correct your posture and body shape
during exercises. At Ten, we also ask you to wear gripsocks. You
will not need trainers.
Who can do Pilates?
Pilates can be done by anyone, of any age, exercise history or
ability so everyone is made very welcome to our Pilates classes at
- It’s low impact, so kind to bones and joints.
- It’s prehabilitative, so it doesn’t just make you fitter and stronger,
it also helps prevent injury.
- Exercises can be modified to compensate for a client’s injury, areas of
weakness and/or reduced mobility.
- Pilates is highly effective for helping mothers-to-be cope better with
pregnancy and recover faster after childbirth.
- It’s a great workout for men, because it’s not only an integrated and
full-body programme, but also improves posture, flexibility and balance –
all areas where men are traditionally weak.
- Pilates is as effective at helping people recover from injury as it is
at improving elite athletes’ sporting performance.
- Pilates has even been shown to improve mental and physical wellbeing for
menopausal and post-menopausal women.
What is Dynamic Reformer Pilates?
Dynamic Reformer Pilates is the latest iteration of the
traditional Pilates discipline, performed on the Pilates Reformer
and uprated for the way we live and work now. It offers all the
muscle toning, posture-aligning, injury preventing,
mobility-enhancing and core strengthening benefits of classical
Pilates but goes a step further. As the name suggests, Dynamic
Reformer Pilates is more intense and dynamic, Movements are still
precise and controlled, but at Ten we link them into a smooth,
continuous flow with fewer pauses. We add more ‘functional’
exercises – working the core muscles in combination with additional
muscle groups – to increase the intensity of the overall movement
and deliver cardiovascular conditioning benefits. We focus on
duration of the exercise to create greater muscle fatigue, and use
your bodyweight and the Reformer to intensify the movement of the
larger muscle groups to create a highly effective and time-efficient
full body workout.
- Expect your instructor to put their hands on you from time to time. It’s
the most effective way for them to correct your form or posture and make
sure you’re set up to get maximum benefit from your session.
- If you want to see benefits, frequency is key. If you train 3 times a
week you’ll be amazed how fast you progress.
- Know when to stop. Don’t be tempted to keep going until you can’t do a
single more rep. Technique fails before muscles do, and that‘s how injuries
happen. Instead, keep going until you can’t do another rep without losing
your form or technique. Then shake it out, and if necessary reset, and go
- If you find yourself shaking during a hold. Don’t worry. It’s supposed
to happen. That’s what hard-working muscles do.
- Don’t worry about what the person on the next reformer is doing. The
only person you’re in competition with is yourself.
Read more about Dynamic vs Classic Pilates.