Pilates Myths: The Truth About Pilates

Maybe you’ve heard that Pilates is similar to yoga or only for women. Or maybe it’s just all core all the time, or that it’s too expensive. Well, the truth is that Pilates has been around for a really long time. And it seems to be everywhere. But there’s a lot of myths and misconceptions around it. And today I’m going to be answering all of your questions, busting those myths, and making sure you understand the real truth about Pilates.

  • Author: lesley.logan
  • March 17, 2024
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The Real Truth About Pilates

Maybe you’ve heard that Pilates is similar to yoga or only for women. Or maybe it’s just all core all the time, or that it’s too expensive. Well, the truth is that Pilates has been around for a really long time. And it seems to be everywhere. But there’s a lot of myths and misconceptions around it. And today I’m going to be answering all of your questions, busting those myths, and making sure you understand the real truth about Pilates.

Hi, I’m Lesley Logan, founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. And I’ve been doing Pilates since 2005, teaching since 2008. I was lucky enough to take training from someone who was taught by Joseph Pilates, which allowed me to travel the world teaching people about Pilates and its benefits. And because of this, I have seen and heard many of these myths, many of these misconceptions and here’s what frustrates me, it actually keeps people from doing Pilates. If they think it’s just for flexible people, they think it’s too expensive or they think something that is not correct. It keeps them from actually having the real benefits in their body. And so that’s why I’m so excited to share these misconceptions and what the real truth is with you today.

Welcome to OnlinePilatesClasses.com™, the most supportive Pilates-loving community across the globe. Enjoy new weekly classes from our amazing teachers. Download the OnlinePlilatesClasses.com™ app today.

What is Pilates?

Let’s start with what Pilates actually is. Pilates is a strength-based workout designed to balance your imbalances. It was designed by Joseph Pilates and brought to the US in the early 20s. You can do Pilates on a Mat, Reformer, Cadillac or Tower, Wunda Chair. And Joseph Pilates also create some other pieces of equipment that you could also see in a Pilates studio or have access to in your own home studio.

So, over time, marketing experts have gotten their hands on what they think Pilates is and then telling you that you need to be doing Reformer Pilates or Tower Pilates or Chair Pilates. But actually, it’s all Pilates and originally was designed for us to do on the Mat, meaning you didn’t have to have access to any of this equipment. But then, Joseph Pilates realized that we needed some support, we need to have some connections so he created the other pieces of equipment to do in conjunction with the Mat.

Due to Pilates’ evergrowing popularity, a lot of different fitness modalities have tried to jump on the Pilates bandwagon. Meaning, if they are a low-impact workout, they’ll actually put it as a Pilates workout, when it’s not actually Pilates. So Pilates is low-impact fitness but not all low-impact fitness is Pilates.

What Real Pilates Feels Like

So how do you know if you’re actually in a Pilates class? Well, first of all, you can ask the teacher. You can ask them about their training background. You can ask about their personal practice. You’re wanting to hear words like ‘comprehensive training’ or ‘450 hours.’ You’re also wanting to hear that they do have a personal practice of their own because that’s how they’re going to help teach you the best. Classes should also be about the quality of the movement, not the quantity of the movement. So if you feel like you’re doing more than 10 reps of an exercise, chances are that you’re not in a Pilates class. Ideally, you’re looking between five to 10 when you’re new to an exercise, and then around three to five, when you’re more advanced. Every session you’re in should feel like it’s a full-body workout, especially every exercise. Every exercise can feel like it’s full body every time you know you’re in a Pilates class.

To see what real Pilates feels like, go ahead and subscribe to this channel. Take a class from us. We have one coming out next Sunday.

Myth #1: Pilates an AB Workout

Let’s get into these myths. First one, Pilates is your ab workout or is your core workout for the week. Here’s the deal, Pilates can replace all your ab workouts but it is not an ab workout – it is a full-body workout. Now we move from our center, which is not just your abs, it’s the muscles around your torso around your hips, your upper back and arms, so everything that can stabilize your spine. And then your arms and legs are to destabilize it as you move.

Myth #2: Pilates is Just Stretching

Alright, next myth: Pilates is all about stretching or just stretching. Well, here’s the deal, you can get more flexible by doing Pilates – absolutely will happen for you as a benefit. However, it is not a stretch class. If you want to take a stretch class, by all means go take one, but Pilates is a strength-based workout. And then you will have increased flexibility because of the way the exercises ask the muscles to work.

Myth #3: Anyone Can Teach Pilates

All right, next myth: Anyone can teach Pilates. Here’s the deal. I would love that every Pilates lover out there who wants to teach does because their passion is going to bring more people to taking this method. However, just because you have been teaching some other fitness modality doesn’t mean you can just look at the choreography and teach Pilates, you do need to understand the whole method from how it was founded, why the exercises are the way they are, and what the true concepts of Pilates is so that you can bring the full benefits of Pilates to people that are taking from them. So find a teacher who has been comprehensively trained, and understands how the history of Pilates works so that you can really get the benefits of it as you do it. At OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ all of our teachers are comprehensively certified. I am a second-generation teacher, meaning, my teacher studied with Joseph Pilates. And, all of our teachers together have a combined total teaching experience over 70 years. Make sure you check out the about OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ video so you can see everything we have to offer including tutorials, classes, and an amazing community, someone who can actually give you feedback on your practice and so much more. Plus, you will enjoy new workouts for every level here on the channel. So make sure you subscribe and make sure you get those notifications so you never miss a workout.

Myth #4: Pilates is Easy

Alright, next myth: Pilates is easy. All right. So here’s the deal. If Pilates feels easy, it’s probably because you’re understanding the choreography, the moves, what’s going where, but not from where it’s moving from. And that requires you to connect to your center which can take some time. In fact, I always tell people, if you really believe you’re an advanced practitioner, the beginner exercises are going to feel really hard, like the beginner exercises can be a little esoteric. And here’s another myth bust there’s actually no beginner from Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates didn’t have any levels to his exercises. In fact, when you would take from him, he would give you the exercises that were meant for your body. And then as you were ready, he would add more exercises in. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels came in because people had to create levels of classes for people to do it, and to help train teachers. So, when you are doing Pilates, if it feels easy, something is disconnected. And that’s an exploration you can take with your teacher to find out where those connections can come from.

Myth #5: You Need to be Flexible to do Pilates

All right, next myth is: You need to be flexible to do Pilates. Let me just say this right now, you do not need to be more flexible before you do Pilates. You do not need to lose weight before you do Pilates. There’s nothing that needs to change about yourself to start a Pilates practice. All right, you are amazing the way you are and Pilates will meet you where that is. But, Pilates is actually harder for flexible people because they are able to make it look like they’re doing Pilates without actually being connected. So the tighter you are, the easier it is to connect to those muscles and the more you’re going to feel the benefits of Pilates. For my people who are hyper-flexible, hello, I see you. We have to work really hard to find those connections and Pilates will challenge us in that way. And take us on that next journey. Remember, it balances your imbalances. So if you’re tighter, it’s going to make you more flexible. If you’re super flexible, it’s going to make you stronger.

Myth #6: Pilates is Mostly for Women

And maybe you’ve heard Pilates is mostly for women. Here is the deal. Joseph Pilates was a man. And he was a strong man in the circus and he was a boxer. And back when he was creating his fitness modality it was for men. In fact, only in the last few decades have women been encouraged to workout and so while a lot of women do Pilates, it is for you no matter who you are.

On Pilates is for dancers is the next myth that sounds like a lot like Pilates is for women. Here’s the deal, dancers started working with Joseph Pilates. They were actually sent to him to be “fixed.” But it wasn’t actually designed for dancers, however, because so many dancers were working with Joseph Pilates, and then these dancers were traveling the world, they started to teach his methods to other people, a lot of dancers do Pilates. Why? Because it balances your imbalances. And dancers have a lot of them. So it is not just for dancers. However, it is amazing for anyone who is an athlete doing any kind of sport.

Myth #7: Pilates is Like Yoga

All right, so maybe you’ve heard Pilates is like yoga, similar to yoga or a derivative of yoga. Yoga is its own thing. And while there are some exercises that are inspired or may look like they were inspired from yoga, they are actually two very different modalities and they have very different intentions. Pilates does have access to equipment, whereas yoga is slightly different, it’s always on the mat. So then when you look at Pilates on the mat, some people think, Oh, it must be like yoga. But again, the intentions and the goals of the exercises are very different. The breath you need to do Pilates versus yoga is very different. So here’s what I love to tell people: Pilates is going to make your yoga practice amazing. They are different exercise workouts. And I’m super excited because I have an entire video about Pilates and yoga coming up very soon. So make sure you’re subscribed to this channel and get your notification so you don’t miss that video.

Myth #8: Pilates is Expensive

Okay, so something I hear a lot is Pilates is too expensive. I just want to actually myth bust this in a big way. Here’s the deal. If you’re looking at private personal Pilates training, yes, that can be a little bit more than you want to spend on an hour-long workout. However, it’s also very similar to what personal trainers are charging of any kind, and often it’s a lot less. Alright, when we look at Pilates classes, the reason why they can look like they’re more expensive than other fitness modalities is just space. There can only be so many Reformers in a room, often 12, whereas a yoga class, some of them have 30, 40, 50 people. I’ve been in spin studios where there’s 30, 40, 50 bikes. So based on the limited amount of space that Pilates has, for the equipment that it takes up, it can be more expensive for the session, however, you’re getting more attention. And it’s personalized to your body even when you’re in a class because you are going to do the exercise that is meant for you. And at OnlinePilatesClasses.com™, you will see that we have memberships that are actually based on the pieces of equipment you have access to. And a monthly membership at OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ is going to cost you way less than a monthly membership in a brick-and-mortar studio somewhere else. And our classes are designed for all levels. They’re on the Mat, Tower, Reformer or Chair, and again, you pick the classes that you actually have access to the equipment to. You can take a class live with us each month, you can enjoy classes on our app or on-demand on your computer. And you also can get feedback on your form in our amazing, amazing community that’s going to help hold you accountable. So make sure you check out the promo code we have below. It’s OnlinePilatesClasses.com/youtube. Give us a try and see how we can help support you in your Pilates practice.

Leave your comments below

Thank you so much for watching. I hope I answered all of your myth-busting questions. If I didn’t, feel free to put them in the comments below. I’m Lesley Logan. I will see you next week.

By lesley.logan

Lesley Logan, NCPT, is the founder of OnlinePilatesClasses.com, the first free online catalogue of Pilates exercise tutorial videos, where you can also find weekly online mat classes and workshops. When not teaching from her studio in Los Angeles, Lesley can be found traveling the world leading Pilates retreats, or offering Pilates business coaching to studio owners and other instructors through her private mastermind group. Connect with Lesley on instagram @lesley.logan or through the contact page on this site.

Loving this Pilates exercise tutorial? Take weekly online Pilates mat classes with OPC Teachers.
Enjoying Lesley's teaching style? Willing to travel? Explore the world while maintaining your practice by joining Lesley on a Pilates retreat.

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2 comments

  1. hi lesley, less than a year doing pilates and very happy with results. every session is mind blowing and it’s like the only time i can truly say as my me time, being totally present in the moment, not thinking about anything but to feel each every muscle and breath.

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pop up summer tour | online pilates classes

SUCH A TEASE

ONLINE MAT & REFORMER PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Teaser is probably one of the most photographed exercises in Pilates. Which makes people think it's a "peak pose." But, it's anything but! It's simply another layer to your Pilates practice. This week we will acknowledge how each exercise contributes to your ability to do Teaser (someday) and then how Teaser teaches you where to get curious in your practice.

On the Mat we will use light weights for one round of Teaser as they can be helpful for those still adding into their practice.
No props on the Reformer.

See you in class,

xx~LL

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a Mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a Reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

UP, UP, & AWAY

ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

We are all going to feel like Super Humans after this month!!

Whenever I’m in a hard exercise (for me) where I’m holding myself up with my arms and reaching my legs away I picture myself with super human strength!!! I can do ANYTHING! It makes me smile and helps me stay STRONG.

This month our exercise is Up Stretch and when you think about it - reaching your legs away and staying strong over the carriage may feel a lot like flying!

We’ll be focusing on stabilizing our strong cores while staying equally balanced in our arms and legs. We are giving you some amazing building blocks by merging strength and stretch in all directions. You are going to get a little bit of everything that you can use to connect to your Up Stretch (and even your Roll Up and Knee Stretches Off).

Chair: Please have a foam roller and a balance pad available. We are going to challenge your balance safely.

xx-LL

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

Backstroke…the ultimate Middle Exercise! From our chest to our knees, front and back, we have to work our “Middle” in coordination to make The Backstroke happen. We’ll use a small ball on the Reformer and light weights on the Mat to help find our connection to this exercise.

See you in class,
Tami

MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, light weights and a mat!

>> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, a small ball and a reformer!

>> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

AIN'T NO PARTY LIKE A 100 PARTY

Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

So many people don't love the 100. But the 100 is an incredible exercise that when you know all its capabilities can be something you might look forward to...maybe even like a little bit. Or a lot!

We often wonder why the 100 is the first exercise. I mean, it's got a lot going on for a warm up. To me it's a survey, a feedback, a mirror to how our body is doing that day. And, how cool it is to know how your body is feeling as you go into your practice. This way you can explore what your body needs in other exercises.

Let's explore what the 100 is telling us and how to make it our own each day!

No props needed.

See ya in class,
xx-LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    STAND BY ME

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    The key to longevity is being able to get down to the ground and up again with as little assistance as possible. In this weeks class we are going to focus on how to stand in your feet no matter where they are in space.

    On the Mat we will have a playful ending that Joseph Pilates would do!

    The Reformer we’ll end challenging ourselves standing on our carriage. (Options to do the exercises off the Reformer too!)

    No props needed.

    See ya in class,

    xx~LL 💋

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.

    FRENEMIES

    Online Mat, Reformer, Cadillac & Wunda Chair Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Hello, it's OPC Teacher Christine here! I used to get commended for my form and flexibility in any type of movement class I went to, even if it was my very first class. But what I struggled with was always hitting a plateau where I couldn't make progress or improvement. For me, that changed when I discovered the strength and control I found in practicing Pilates.

    Getting on the apparatuses puts your body in a position where you find strength, stretch, and control through your center. I was unable to fold my body like origami anymore. One of the mat exercises - double leg stretch - is great for finding a strong center regardless of what the arms and legs are doing.

    For this month, we'll explore using the concept of finding an inner lift of the belly away from the thighs to find a strength in our center, the two-way stretch of the limbs, while controlling the movement of the arms and legs whether they move away from center, or come back to center.

    Mat class: Magic Circle and squishy ball

    See you in class,

    Christine

    HIGH FIVE FOR ALL

    ONLINE MAT, REFORMER, CADILLAC & WUNDA CHAIR PILATES CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

    In Pilates we often talk about the 5 spinal shapes… do you know them? No worries if you don’t yet as this month we’re going to explore them all! How tall, round, extended, rotated or bent from our sides that we can be gives us more power & control during exercise. Let’s see what we can feel when we put the focus on working toward these particular shapes… And, lookout for combo shapes!"

    On the Reformer, please have a ball, Magic Circle and your pole. A couple of pillows and a Swiffer handle all make great substitutes!
    Mat, Tower/Cadillac and Wunda Chair: No props needed.

    See ya in class,
    xx-LL 💋

    BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

    Online Mat & Reformer Pilates Class Descriptions:

    Yes, we are focusing on Horseback in this week's workout. But, we are also giving a celebration to all of us who might be back in our Pilates saddle again. Or, maybe you've been in the Saddle but stuck in the mud. This weeks workout its designed to be a positive play time with an exercise many of us avoid and one that we may never get. But, hey, it's always fun to be out where a friend is a friend - get it? If you know the song you do!

    Mat: Theraband and light weights
    Reformer: no props needed

    xx~LL

    MAT EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self, Theraband, light weights and a mat!

    >> Wondering what mat I’m using? You can find out more here.

    REFORMER EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Your awesome self and a reformer!

    >> Wondering what reformer I’m using? You can find out more here.