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Joseph Pilates said that the use of Contrology (now called Pilates) would develop the body uniformly, correct wrong postures and restore physical vitality. He also used to say that a few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence are worth hours of doing sloppy callisthenics or forced contortion. There is so much wisdom in these two sentences and it all leads to the conclusion that a Pilates program isn’t and should never be a “one size fits all” exercise regime.

The reference to well-designed movements is, in my opinion, not singing the praises of the method in its entirety (although it is indeed well-designed), but it is referring to the requirement of the instructor to carefully tailor the Pilates program for each client to address imbalances and optimise physical functionality. When we are born our body is normally in good alignment, but through certain repetitive movement patterns or activities we lose the plumb line of the body structure and muscle groups become over- or under-developed. A well-designed Pilates program aims to address the body as a whole. Consider a vehicle that needs to have its wheel alignment adjusted – each car will be treated differently but the ultimate goal is still the same.

Pilates program

A unique and adapted Pilates program

To develop the body uniformly the instructor needs to work off of the client’s given baseline. This is affected by previous or current injuries, performance levels, training history, mobility, strength, alignment and body composition. Instructors analyse and gain insight from the client’s body, putting together the puzzle pieces in order to adapt the Pilates program to achieve the goal of uniform development.

In order to correct wrong postures, it is necessary to know what it is that might be wrong or imbalanced and which changes need to be made both within and outside the studio to correct it. The restoration of physical vitality will look different for each client. For some, it might be bending over to tie their shoe laces without restriction or pain, whilst for others, it might be running an ultra-marathon or improving their stamina in sport.

Pilates program
As can be concluded from the above, the instructor not only needs extensive knowledge and understanding of the body’s biomechanics but also the ability to customise the Pilates program for each client. There is never a “one-size fits all” approach in a quality Pilates class.

This is the reason that the Body Refinery offers an array of different types of classes suited for different levels of physical ability and which allow for the adaptability of each client’s Pilates program. There is also considerable work that goes into the preparation of each class and detailed notes of each client’s progress are recorded to ensure that a tailored program is maintained.

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