What is Pilates?
Pilates is an approach to conditioning developed by its founder, Joseph H. Pilates. Pilates trains the body to move correctly as it teaches the mind to function optimally through centering and breathing techniques. Anyone can practice Pilates, whether you’re a beginner or a cross-training athlete, regardless of age, gender, or physical capability.
Pilates as a fitness method emerged around a hundred years ago. Its early applications included the rehabilitation of injured soldiers toward improving range of motion and managing pain. Drawing from a background in gymnastics, body-building, and the martial arts, Mr Pilates devised a series of exercises and training techniques now known universally as Pilates.
In Pilates exercises, the muscles work to lift against gravity or the resistance of bands and springs. Pilates workouts require you to take your time, focus on the task at hand, maintain balance, and practice proper breathing. In the process, you’ll burn fat and calories; improve your posture so you look taller, leaner; develop body flexibility or alleviate stiffness in the joints and muscles; build strength and enhance the body’s immunity, and learto breathing and centering methods for reducing stress.
Pilates workouts are generally done on an exercise mat—Mat Pilates or Pilates Mat exercises—or using Pilates equipment or apparatus often found in a Pilates studio. The most common Mat Pilates exercises are Back Extensions, Double Leg Kicks, Cat and Cow Stretch, Hip Extensions, and Knee Folds. The Hundred, the Frog, the Elephant, Leg Circles, and Knee Stretches are also executed using the Pilates Reformer. Some of the Pilates Chair exercises are the Push Down and Pull Up. There’s also the Twist and Reach, which works the obliques, and the Tendon Stretch for the torso.
So if you’re ready to take that first step to taking up a regular exercise regimen but aren’t sure where to start, then Pilates is a good option, especially if hitting the gym or taking up a sport isn’t your thing.
Learn more about what Pilates is.
“(Pilates is) The attainment and maintenance
of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind
fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing
our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”
~ Joseph Pilates
Founder Joseph Pilates studied Western forms of exercise such as medical gymnastics, physical regimes in Germany, ancient Greek and Roman training methods, and Far Eastern relaxation techniques. He invented the Pilates apparatus, which are designed to help accelerate the process of stretching and strengthening; body alignment and core-strengthening. He designed a full complement of equipment and accessories, including the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, High Electric Chair, Spine Corrector, Ladder Barrel, and Pedi-Pole.
Mr Pilates started out as a gymnast and bodybuilder, then became a self-defense instructor for police trainees (among other things). Growing up, he suffered from chronic asthma and contracted rheumatic fever and rickets. It’s no wonder why improving physical strength became both a necessity and a lifelong quest for Mr Pilates. He believed that poor health can be attributed to bad posture, improper breathing, and a “modern lifestyle,” which characterises the sedentary, stress-riddled working professional of today.
Unlike the usual workout program that we follow at the gym, Pilates is not a collection of repetitive standalone movements. Mr Pilates first coined the term contrology to describe his sequence of 34 exercises—each flowing to the next in purposeful succession. In its original design, the exercises were executed in the exact sequence and repetitions, before moving onto the next exercise.
The apparatus now used widely in the practice of Pilates—such as the Pilates reformer, Pilates chairs, barrels, tower, and Cadillac—evolved from the bedsprings and contraptions that Mr Pilates put together. Pilates himself engineered the first equipment and devised the specifications to teach his methods properly.
More than a straightforward workout, Pilates is about achieving mind-and-body harmony, freedom of movement, and a zest for life (which establishes the why of Pilates). It’s an activity not just for the athletically-inclined but, dare we say, everyone looking for a path to health, happiness, and new horizons.
The idea of Mr Pilates’ 34-sequence method is such that it progressively warms the body up, challenges it with exertion, and then cools it down. The intent to complete the sequences is as important as the exercises itself. Thus, this “conjuring of intent” becomes an internal process, which is where the mental-fitness aspect of Pilates comes in.
In the first half of the 20th century, Mr Pilates developed a system of exercises which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body, believing that mental and physical health are interlinked. He had great success in training dancers of The New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. As such, Pilates became well-known in the dance scene.
In different forms, Pilates are now practised in community centres, gyms, and physiotherapy rooms. Many other fitness services offered by Pilates-inspired businesses have blended their own takes on Pilates with other disciplines.
How Can I Learn Pilates?
If you want to learn Pilates the right and safe way, there are basically three ways to do it: (1) take a Pilates virtual class or Pilates online session, (2) get a personal Pilates trainer, or (3) join a Pilates group class that is supervised by a certified Pilates instructor.
What you learn from Pilates will provide you with a good solid bedrock for fitness and wellness. For one, full breathing exercises, which are integral to Pilates, can stimulate the circulatory system. It’s a cleansing process that can help detoxify the blood and refresh the cells.
At Pilates Plus Singapore, our exercise programs are adjusted and customised to your fitness level. Our instructors are certified trainers who have been practising professionally for at least 10 years. They are authentic advocates of wellness and movement, each with an intimate personal journey with Pilates as a life-changing practice.
Read more on how you can learn Pilates.
Pilates Exercise Fundamentals
Pilates is a versatile fitness program that helps you manage your body better with improved mobility and flexibility while developing mental wellness. There are two general categories of Pilates exercises: (1) Mat Pilates, which is practised mostly on the floor using only the bodyweight or simple weights; and (2) Pilates Equipment exercises, using Pilates apparatus normally seen in at Pilates studios.
However, Pilates beginners and people with physical challenges would need an instructor to teach them the fundamentals of the exercises and breathing techniques. Here at Pilates Plus Singapore, we’ll also teach you how the body works, why your movements affect your mindset, and what you need to create a balance for your physical and mental wellbeing.
Pilates Mat Workout
Mat Pilates are floor workouts that build body strength and activate the brain’s stress-busting functions. Pilates Mat workouts are low-impact exercises that may involve the use of weights, balls, therabands, or rings. First-timers and people suffering from back pain will benefit most from Pilate Mat exercises because the exertion level and repetitions can be adjusted to their physical capability.
Mat Pilates may seem relatively passive compared to other crushing, high-intensity exercise programs. That’s because its focus is on the concept of control instead of seemingly endless reps and muscle exhaustion. Plus, you’ll only need a mat, some floor space, and everyday items you can use as exercise aids. As with all Pilates exercises, Pilates Mat workouts are intended for strength building, muscle toning, flexibility and balance development, and an overall improvement in body coordination and mobility.
The most common types of Pilates studio equipment used today are the Reformer, the Cadillac, Pilates Chairs, Pilates Wall Systems, and Stall Bars—without which your Pilates journey wouldn’t be complete. The typical small Pilates equipment, on the other hand, are Bands, Toning Circles, the Big Ball, Foam Rollers, and Free Weights—mostly used in Mat Pilates workouts.
Pilates Reformer exercises include the Hundred, the Frog, the Elephant, Leg Circles, and Knee Stretches. Pilates Cadillac exercises are for toning and strengthening muscles and building flexibility. Pilates Chair exercises include the Push Down for the lower body, and the Pull Up for the torso.
Pilates exercises can also be done using wall units, which may include a Pilates Tower or a Trapeze Table. Some come with a Pole System, Raised Platform Mat and Mat Boxes, and Short Box Bars; and Stall Bars, which are often used with accessories, including the Stall Bar Bench and Abdominal Board.
Pilates is a highly effective full-body workout that strengthens and stretches the entire body to create a well-balanced physique. Pilates offers a variety of stimulating training that consists of different variations of exercise, some of which are performed with or without equipment. Here are but some of the benefits of Pilates:
- Develops long, lean, strong and flexible muscles
- Develops and improves mind and body awareness
- Improves posture and body alignment
- Improves total body mobility and strength
- Improves balance and coordination
- Decreases aches and pains especially in the neck, shoulders, back, hips and knees
- Achieve a flatter stomach
- Strengthens the core
- Improves stamina
- Improves performance in sports
- Improves oxygen uptake
- Helps to prevent osteoporosis
- Improves muscle tone
- Improves breathing technique thus making you feel more energized
- Provides effective rehabilitation after an injury
At Pilates Plus Singapore, we don’t just teach you the exercises. Ultimately, we help you build the lifestyle you deserve by being the best version of yourself.
Where can I take Pilates classes in Singapore?
Pilates Plus Singapore is the only Pilates and movement studio in Singapore that offers the Strength Pilates Series for both Mat and Reformer classes. The program is specifically designed to give you actual results in strength gain with our whole-body workouts.
And we’re offering a sweet deal for first-timers, too! It’s a one-time-only introductory group package to the following beginner-friendly sessions:
- Strength Pilates Matwork
- Pilates Mat Plus
- Calisthenics Class
- Calisthenics Fundamentals
- Capoeira Class
- Handstand Class
- Movement Class
For only $75, you can enjoy 3 group sessions from any of the classes on the list. Available in both International Plaza and UMove Safra Mt. Faber branches, the promo is valid for 30 days starting from your first booked session. When you enrol at Pilates Plus Singapore, you’ll benefit from:
✅ Certified trainers with more than 10 years’ experience + a true passion for Pilates
✅ Affordable rates + value-for-money promo packages to fit every budget
✅ In-studio + virtual classes targeted at your fitness + wellness goals
✅ Convenient location at the heart of Singapore’s CBD
✅ Studio hours from 7AM-8PM, for classes that fit your schedule best
Pilates is a journey towards attaining body-mind harmony, enabling people to live life to the fullest. Our collective goal at Pilates Plus Singapore is to help everyone condition their body, mind, and spirit—to attain strength and health, confidence and joy, and grace throughout the years.