The method of pilates

Developed in 1920 by famed trainer Joseph Pilates, the Pilates Method is a training system focused on improving the fluidity of movement, strength throughout the body without creating an excess of muscle mass; a system, therefore, in antithesis with traditional bodybuilding. But the Pilates method is not just physical exercise, it is also physical and mental coordination, performed with specially designed tools and under the supervision of specialized trainers.

The principles of the Pilates method


Attention to perform the exercises, for all movements and for all aspects of the body.


Control not only the specific movement being performed, but also the posture, position of the head, limbs, pelvis and even the toes.

Baricenter stabilization

Stabilization of the center of gravity through work and particular exercises in the abdominal, lumbar and dorsal regions. Strengthening of the “center of the body”.

Fluidity of movements

Develop fluency and movement control to achieve “harmony”.


Accurate execution of movements through the control to improve the balance of muscle tone


Coordinated breathing with fluid and complete movements

The inventor of the method: Joseph Pilates

Pilates was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1880. As a child, he had health problems: he suffered from asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets. Determined to overcome his frailty and develop a healthy and strong body, Joseph Pilates studied and did a lot of gymnastics, even what we might call “bodybuilding” and playing sports, including diving. Through his athletic exercises he was able to develop not only a healthy but also strong and modeled body, so much so that he was a model for anatomy drawings.

In 1912 he moved to England and attended courses to become an inspector at Scotland Yard. But when the war began, because of his nationality, he was hospitalized in Lancashire and then in the Isle of Man. Pilates spent these years in hospital assisting in the field ward and developing and refining his techniques. He designed and built tools to modify the infirmary beds to allow even the injured to practice. Modern versions of these tools are still present on the machines used in Pilates studies. In the late 1920s, Pilates emigrated to the United States, where he opened a studio that soon became famous with dancers, actors, gymnasts and athletes. He wrote several books on fitness, but never wrote an “official training program.” The result is that there are now many different versions of his legendary method.

The exercises

The Pilates Method exercises are completely original, reflect principles, but require the use of very specific tools. As an example, we report three:


This exercise strengthens the central part of the body and develops balance and control

Short thorns

This exercise is very useful

for the spine and abdominals

Long thorns

This exercise is very demanding

and is useful for the spine

and improve posture.

The Benefits of Pilates Method

The method offers several benefits:

Improves strength and muscle tone without greatly increasing muscle mass

improves posture

gives a smooth belly (by the belly !!)

improves fluidity of movement

the incidence of back pain decreases because it tends to strengthen the muscles in the central part of the body

helps to give self-confidence and reduce stress


It is a very interesting type of gymnastics, although in some ways peculiar and, in some equipment, even a little curious. It is not supported, like many other modern methods of training today by solid scientific documentation, but it has some very positive aspects:

has health-related and not just aesthetic purposes such as body building and therefore completely excludes dangerous behaviors such as the use of doping,

cares and develops not only muscle strengthening, but also coordination, posture and fluidity.

And the inconveniences?

it is mainly anaerobic exercises, the type of training should therefore be associated with aerobic exercises,

the method takes care of fluidity and balance, but little deals with proprioceptivity, very useful in sports,

there is a little too “marketing” around the system.