Vintage Pilates (Pilates 101)

7 Nov


Also known as “classical pilates”, “contrology”, or “mat pilates”.  Anyone who does pilates has heard of the founder, Joseph Pilates – but how much do you really know about why he created the specific pilates exercises (34 to be exact) that he did and put them in their very specific order?

It was 1954 and  Joseph Pilates was 59 going on 60 when he demonstrated these poses and coined “pilates” as a fitness term.   He published a book entitled “Return to Life through Contrology”.  Within it, 34 classic mat work exercises which are at the heart of any pilates routine.  The moves he designed focus on core muscles in the “powerhouse” (abs, pelvic floor, lower back), proper alignment of the spine, and awareness of breath.

Joseph Pilates created this order of exercise to go through a sequence that he believed to be logical and appropriate. It first warms up the body, a principle common for all exercise programs. Then it progresses to more challenging exercises once the body is warmed up and ready for them. Finally, it progresses into cool down exercises before the end of the session. It also ensures all areas of the body are targeted in every position, first with gravity and body weight and then against it.

A classical pilates teacher will follow this order of exercises, but will pick and choose from the list to match the abilities of the student. For beginners, the more fundamental exercises will be done in classical order. For more advanced students and those who are ready for a challenge, the intermediate level, and advanced exercises will be chosen.  Each exercise can be modified to meet the level of the student and can also include equipment such as exercise balls, fitness bands, and the magic circle.

Without further ado, here are the 34 classic pilates exercises, in proper sequence!  You will surely recognize them (or variations of them) from your classes at Pilates X.   Examples and tutorials of each of these exercises can be found by clicking here and choosing which exercise you would like to learn about.  The best practice of course, comes from including your Pilates X classes consistently in your fitness routine, but refreshers in between are always recommended!og34exercises

Joseph Pilates said it best himself:  “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness…[and] everyone is the architect of their own happiness.”   See you at the Studio!

PX Studio


Article Sources:
Shape (
Very Well (
Easy Vigour (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: