Which Type of Pilates is for You?

Which Type of Pilates is for You?

"Change happens through movement, and movement heals." - Joseph Pilates

Everyone has different reasons for trying pilates: some enjoy it as their main workout, others may be introduced to the sport as a form of rehabilitation, or perhaps someone may simply be curious to try something new. No matter what your reason may be, pilates is an effective full-body workout that can help you meet your fitness goals, strengthen your core, nurture your body to excellent form and posture, or complement another sport you may be practicing to improve your performance. 

Dorinda Walraven, experienced pilates instructor at The Bay Clubs in San Francisco reminds us, "Pilates was called 'Contrology' at its inception, having evolved from its founder's familiarity in anatomy with his background in body building, wrestling, yoga, gymnastics, martial arts, boxer, skier and as a diver. Joseph Pilates represented the multi-sport athlete. Famous dance choreographers like Martha Graham and George Balanchine were believers of Contrology, now known as Pilates."

Here we present the most commonly practiced forms of pilates nowadays, an exercise appropriate for every body, every person, and every age group.


Reformer Runway PilatesThe original method created by its inventor, Joseph Pilates, the reformer was originally dubbed "the apparatus." During WWI, Joseph helped nurse injured comrades back to health, and despite being bound to their beds, he found an alternative - attaching springs to their hospital beds. Nowadays, the reformer is a customizable, powerful and effective machine that enables you to work the entire body. You can adjust spring strength, pull or push the carriage, and use connected straps to target parts of the body while tailoring it to your level. It's a good mix of effective challenge that definitely helps you feel accomplished. 

Best for those with some pilates experience, but still appropriate for all levels. Try an intro class or 'stretch' reformer class in early phases. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing that hugs your body while you move through pike to plank.


Recommended for: Intermediate to Advanced Pilates-Goers

(Photo credit to runwaypilates.com)


Types of Pilates DecathlonPossibly the most common and mobile form of pilates, mat pilates was adapted after Joseph Pilates wanted to bring his rehabilitative practice to dancers located out of the city. Mat practice utilizes a thick, comfortable mat for support traditionally with equipment, like a soft ball you can place under your back for support, or between legs to ensure a good 'squeeze' during exercise. Often times a pilates ring is a must, ensuring balanced and symmetrical effort during toning movements. A foam roller is an item everyone should own and leverage, perhaps being one of the most recommended and underrated tools by instructors. It's excellent for loosening up tense or knotted muscles, therefore increasing blood supply to flush toxins for quicker recovery.

This is ideal for beginners as it is often gentler, more classic, and incorporates a lot of breathing method, but still great for experienced pilates-goers. The best part: it can be done in the freedom of your home according to your own schedule! Add resistance and more challenge with toning bands, which can really amp up how hard this practice can be. 

Recommended for: Beginners and Intermediate Levels


If you took the reformer machine put it on steroids, you'll get the megaformer. Also known as the Lagree method, named after its designer who gained popularity in Los Angeles, the megaformer is guaranteed to make you sweat. With movements that have fun names like scrambled eggs, french twist, bear pose, and so forth, it may sound giddy, but this exercise is no joke. Don't be intimidated though, this machine will shake and work muscles you never worked before for the best! When you first start, you may be sore for a couple days following. Some big name celebrities swear by this workout method!

Recommended for: Intermediate to Advanced Pilates-Goers



Typically a rarer find, this form of pilates involves wood boards attached to a wall space with engraved numbers, lines as well as attached springs and straps. You can use bands against the board for resistance, providing added challenge to the body. Springboard exercises often involve a circuit and mix of cardio, giving an extra pump to that heart rate! If you prefer a dynamic style of pilates, this may be the right workout for you. 

 Recommended for: All Levels


There may be even more pilates options by you, with classical vs. contemporary methods, and so forth. Of all the different options available, pilates is more accessible than ever to help you meet any of your body goals. Try it out, and you might just fall in love with its transformative power!


Stay connected and try pilates at Pilates with Decathlon!

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