Why is Pilates good for you

What Pilates really is - and what isn't

Our lively expert has always been super sporty, but her first Pilates class was a "life changing moment": "Do you know the feeling of having arrived? Pilates was perfect for me: efficient, effective, uncomplicated, varied, focused and focussing, demanding and rehabilitative. I trained strength, flexibility, balance and coordination at the same time, while being gentle on the joints, I was able to improve functional movement sequences and change dysfunctional patterns", recalls Gudrun Kohla.

Do you know the feeling of having arrived? Pilates was perfect for me.

Pilates trainer Gudrun Kohla

Within a few months my back problems and the aftermath of various old sports injuries disappeared. My posture improved, the bikini figure was added as a side effect. And all that with little expenditure of time - perfect for my tight life with children, management job and always felt too little time.

My back problemsdisappeared, my posture improved, the bikini figure was added as a side effect.

The trainer training courses - there are many and can be read on their website - were the next logical step. She has been teaching Pilates mat and equipment lessons in groups and personal training regularly since 2015, and in 2018 she opened her own studio in the 3rd district near Wien Mitte. We asked Gudrun what prejudices and errors she is often confronted with.

Prejudice 1: Pilates is not a real sport

Yes, okay: From the outside, some exercises look like a few people are rolling around on the floor and stirring the air with their arms and legs. And then there are ridiculously few repetitions, really, where is the challenge? Not even close. Pilates is exhausting. Very exhausting, in fact, as anyone who practices it can probably confirm.

You will likely discover muscles in the process that you have never felt before.

Kohla: "You will likely discover muscles in the process that you have never felt before. The good news: You ultimately determine how strenuous your Pilates training is. The exercises can be wonderfully adapted to your physical requirements and goals under the guidance of an experienced trainer.

Prejudice 2: Pilates is only for women

The German national soccer team doesn't think so, and neither does stars like Tiger Woods or Dirk Nowitzki. More and more men are finding their way into the gym and are often becoming the most passionate exercisers.

You will find elements from a wide variety of sports, including Yoga, boxing and functional training.

What they love about Pilates is that the training gives them the mobility, flexibility and core strength they miss in action-packed or extreme endurance sports - it is also the perfect prerequisite for increasing performance. Kohla: "You will find elements from a wide variety of sports, including Yoga, boxing, functional training and what is known today as 'Animal Flow'. Not that unmanly, is it?

Prejudice 3: Pilates only trains your back and stomach

That's right, one of the main focuses is on strengthening the deep core muscles, often referred to as a "powerhouse". It is extremely good for the back and forms a beautiful silhouette with a flat stomach and slim waist. Got something, right? But Pilates can do a lot more than that.

You train the whole body: legs, arms, buttocks, shoulders, neck, wrists and ankles and your 'powerhouse'.

The expert: "You train the whole body: legs, arms, buttocks, shoulders, neck, wrists and ankles and your 'powerhouse', you move every single segment of your spine in all levels and directions of movement.“The repertoire therefore includes exercises from - in the truest sense of the word - the tip of the nose to the little toe. Incidentally, one of the first devices that Joseph Pilates developed was a “foot corrector”.

Prejudice 4: Pilates is only for the mobile

Definitely no. It promotes your mobility, but it does not require a particular level of it. And it has nothing to do with hours of stretching. Pilates primarily aims to improve your mobility, i.e. the range of motion in your joints that you actively muscularly control, within which you can move safely. No external pressure, no pull, no wild bobbing. You decide how far you can and want to go.

Prejudice 5: Everything so slowly and fluidly - yawn! Where is the training effect, please?

There are now many different forms of Pilates training, from the New York style with its classic, relatively rigid, dynamic exercise sequence to styles that emphasize slow and flowing movements, to cardio-like pop with groovy music Pilates.

Try climbing a flight of stairs in slow motion or crouching down slowly. All right?

But faster is not necessarily better, says trainer Kohla: "The slower and more precisely you perform and steer a movement, the more muscular control and strength is required because the swing impulse cannot do any work for you. Try climbing a flight of stairs in slow motion or crouching down slowly. All right?

What Pilates Really Is

1. A deep full body workout

You learn to move your entire body from a dynamic, strong center in a controlled, flowing and energy-saving manner in all levels and directions. The method was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, a passionate athlete and movement analyst.

2. The perfect body shaping program

It forms a strong, evenly trained body with well-defined long, lean muscles. Your posture improves, your body straightens up.

3. A sharper perception, both physically and mentally

The training helps you to recognize and optimize your movement patterns. You strengthen your core and also train the deep, skeletal muscles. This supports an even distribution of stress across the entire spine and protects your intervertebral discs. Back problems often improve. Muscular imbalances, which are often the cause of pain, can also be compensated and myofascial adhesions can be resolved.

4. Effective. Efficient. Straightforward.

And all of this with little expenditure of time, practically zero use of materials and equipment, can be carried out anytime and anywhere, even at home alone. All you need is some consistency.

5. For everyone: Diversity in motion!

The exercises can be adapted to every fitness level and every personal goal. Pilates Guru Kohla: "My youngest customer is 16, my oldest 78. The spectrum ranges from back, shoulder or neck pain sufferers to people who simply enjoy regular training to athletes who are preparing for a competition.

Sports in fact check