Pilates is a form of exercise developed by Joseph H. Pilates (1880-1968), who studied Eastern and Western exercise techniques and blended them into a conditioning system. Pilates focuses on deep abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles, helping improve posture, balance and coordination. It emphasizes control, concentration, centering, precision, flowing movement and breathing. All populations can reap benefits from Pilates. For example, it is a wonderful way to get back in shape after pregnancy or injury, while others find it a great supplement to sports or other exercise programs.

To benefit fully and see results quickly, you should practice Pilates two to three times a week, and you can practice at home or in a studio. In a studio, you experience personalized, professional feedback and instruction, the camaraderie and encouragement of fellow students and the incentive to stay on a regular exercise schedule. At home, you can practice at your own time, pace and duration and without the expense of a class.

We recommend starting at a studio where you have a professional to get you started right.  You can follow up with a combination of visits to a studio and with a DVD that explains the basic principles of Pilates: breathing, abdominal control and pelvic, shoulder and head placement. We have listed some of our favorite DVD's, books and websites below.

DVD for General Fitness
Stott Pilates: Essential MatworkIntermediate MatworkAdvanced Matwork

DVD for Injured or Deconditioned Populations
Stott Pilates: Ultimate Back Care (VHS only)
Balanced Body: Preparation for Balanced Body's Pilates Mat Program
Pilates Exercises for Osteoporosis by Sherri Betz

Books for General Fitness
The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler • Pilates on the Ball by Colleen Craig

Books for Injured or Deconditioned Populations
Pilates Body Conditioning by Anna Selby and Alan Herdman • Body Control by Lynne Robinson and Gordon Thomson