Misconceptions and Myths of Pilates

We do a lot of searching online to share with our readers, various stories about Pilates. We like to convey to them who is practicing the method and the practitioner’s reasons for doing so. The stories we find relate to people from all fields of profession and the purposes of doing the Pilates vary widely as well.

One on the things that we frequently see in these stories are statements that perpetuate misconceptions and myths surrounding the Pilates method. The comments come from both the writer of the article and the practitioner both. We want to try and eliminate some of those myths and will try to do so in this article.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Pilates is the idea that the exercise is specifically for women or even just a women’s only routine. That myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. In actuality, the Pilates method was developed by a man, Joseph H. Pilates, while being held in an internment camp on the Isle of Man in the early 1900s. His purpose was in part not only for his health but the health of his fellow male detainees who he encouraged to participate in the exercise. Interestingly enough, in 1918 when the Influenza epidemic broke out in England, killing thousands, not one of his trainees died from the virus.

The method was coined a women’s exercise routine because of the success it offered ballet dancers in the treatment of injuries. Once the benefits of injury treatment and prevention were discovered, it became almost a standard workout for women in that profession. These days, men and women in all professions from athletes to actors and actresses alike as well as everyday folk can be found participating in Pilates classes. Still, with the stigma of the method being a “woman’s exercise” being in existence for so long, it’s hard for people to change their idea of the workout.

Another myth of the routine is that you can’t build muscle doing the work or that the routine is just for the purpose of losing weight. That is simply not true. Muscles are developed in the moves involved with Pilates exercise. It may be true that you aren’t going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will develop muscle and contribute to a longer and leaner look to your body. The exercises, when performed correctly can help improve posture, flexibility, and stability which assist the body in that “lengthening” effort.

Additionally, a misconception of the Pilates method is that is it easy. This is another stigma of the workout. When performing the exercises, the practitioner is engaging and focusing on the specific muscles at work holding the core in many instances in an isometric form. Breathing, concentration, control, and precision are all part of the principles of the method. Putting all of this together with each move becomes a physically and mentally challenging workout. In fact, per a recent comment from Sylvester Stallone after participating in a Pilates exercise session with his daughter, he said the workout was brutal.

Bearing all of this in mind, hopefully, this information dispels some of the misconceptions of the exercise routine and sheds some truth about the reality of the practice. In doing so, maybe the misstatements made by participants of the method and writers of articles that refer to the work will change their comments about the exercise causing the complete elimination of the stigmas associated with Pilates.