Top Pilates Myths – True or False?

What actually is Pilates?! There is an insurmountable level of benefits, yet these common pilates myths are what tends to sway people from crossing the threshold into the Pilates world.

What does Pilates even mean?

It’s Joseph Pilates’s last name. He is the creator of the apparatus, exercises, and most importantly the principles that has brought this form of fitness to the world and aided in improved body movement and awareness.

Pilates looks easy!  Also, Pilates looks too hard!

False! These are normal misconceptions for many people. The truth is that there are multiple levels to suit everyone’s needs. The more you continue to practice, the more you understand that it’s challenging for everyone.  Every day is different, and every lifestyle is different. The principles of how to effectively move never changes. Although breaking a sweat and muscle fatigue levels differ from other forms of fitness, Pilates difficulty is accustomed to your needs instead of leaving you feeling beat up and torn down.

Pilates is for women and specifically dancers.

Definitely not true! Here is another misconception in the eyes of the public. Joseph Pilates started his work with male soldiers and only upon moving to New York did dancers become a target group simply because of proximity. He happened to open his studio next to a ballet studio. His innovative work doesn’t speak of the female abs or the feet of a male. His principles are about the movement of the human body in its most efficient state – regardless of sex or demographic.

Pilates is like yoga.

Ehh, not really. The major reason for this misunderstanding is that there are Pilates exercises done on the mat. Although some movements have similarities, there are also some major differences. No matter what, Pilates starts and ends with efforts being initiated from the core. Pilates also incorporates repetitions of movements, while Yoga focuses on holding various poses. While the mental component of Yoga is more reflective and meditative, Pilates mind-body focus is on making sure your movements are precise and connected to your breath.

The machines look like scary torture devices.

They’re actually super helpful! The Reformer mimics the medical bed that Joseph treated his early patients on, and the Cadillac emulates a bunk bed. The springs derive from the mattress and encourage movement with stability. Nothing scary about that! The equipment is simple and geared more towards efficiency versus flare.

Pilates is a fad.

Pilates is a lifestyle. Seeing celebrities practice something ignites the masses to pounce on it as well. Although this is where so many people first discover this form of fitness, Pilates concepts are pivotal parts of every physical therapy practice and climb the ladder to the most elite athlete’s cross-training.  Moving efficiently, improving range of motion, and rehabilitating injury are definitely here to stay.


Fear is a huge driving force that dictates our choices and belief system. Knocking down those walls is a choice and many times supported by simply educating ourselves on what’s out there. Try a Pilates class on the mat or equipment. Experience different instructors. Most of all, learn to move from your center versus allowing emotions to drive you. You’ll be left with less stress and an open mind!

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