Classical Pilates sticks as closely as possible to Joseph Pilate’s original work. This means his original exercises and the order in which they were performed and how the system works as you move around the studio from one piece or apparatus to another. The entire work from mat to reformer to chairs, barrels etc are all interconnecting making it a system of body movement. Classical Pilates teachers focus on the entire body, mind and spirit, and not one specific muscle group making “Classical” Pilates more martial arts oriented.
Another key feature of classical Pilates is that the work is Performed on equipment with dimensions, spring tension and wheel action as designed by Joseph Pilates. On traditional equipment, the user requires to work the equipment (reformer) by way of resistance work. The spring tensions and wheel traction helps the practitioner connect deeply into their “powerhouse”.
Contemporary Pilates infuses Pilates exercise with training principals from Physiotherapists and western medicine. The contemporary equipment is different in dimensions and spring tension. The wheel action is smooth and floats without resistance. Contemporary Pilates breaks a lot of the work down adding many more modifications. Contemporary teachers focus of body parts. Exercises for the abdominals, exercise for the biceps, triceps lats etc. making contemporary Pilates is a bit more fitness oriented.
Clinical Pilates is used by physiotherapists to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions, ranging from low back pain and chronic pain to hypermobility and chronic fatigue syndrome. The exercises range from the regular physio rehab exercises and some adapted exercises on the Pilates reformer. Regular Pilates is conducted by a Pilates instructor, whereas Clinical Pilates is prescribed and supervised by a Clinical Pilates trained Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist
We all have our preferences and we, at the Authentic Pilates Studio prefer and dedicate our teaching to the “Classical” traditional method.
I have taught many Instructors who come from a “Contemporary” Pilates background and are interested or curious about the traditional Classical method.
Most believe that the only difference is that the traditional Pilates relies on a “set order” of repertoire and that the equipment is antiquated and not up with the times! Well that is until they actually experience the method. It doesn’t take long before the true difference in the work is understood and the penny drops!
One such instructor mentioned how much she was enjoying the authentic method more in her body as she practiced each week. “I have been experiencing a huge change from working with the classical equipment as opposed to my contemporary reformers. Even though many of the exercises are the same, the breathing pattern is the opposite and the technique is very different. Its more structured and disciplined.”
Most instructors feel a huge change in their own body after working in the classical method. Classical is more structured in its system and it just makes sense. I believe that while these instructors continue to teach “contemporary” Pilates they become better teachers having explored and understood more about the CM.
So is there a big difference in Pilates methods? It’s a most resounding yes!
Written by the Authentic Pilates Studio