One hundred years ago, Joseph Pilates set out to develop an exercise system that would strengthen both the body and the mind. Today, his vision has turned into one of the most popular and effective fitness systems worldwide.
With over 10 million practitioners in the US alone, including the likes of Beyoncé and Emma Stone, Pilates is widely recognized by both the public and medical researchers as a powerful way to tone your core, lose weight, improve your posture, and find balance — physically and mentally.
What is Pilates?
Pilates focuses on low-impact exercises that encourage good posture, improve balance, and strengthen the core muscles. The practice is often compared to yoga, as both emphasize proper postural positions, flexibility, breath control, and stability.
Pilates exercises can be done either on a mat or with the help of machines like the Reformer, a piece of equipment with a sliding carriage and resistance bands.
Mat workouts rely entirely on bodyweight exercises, while machine workouts typically use the added resistance of the Reformer to challenge practitioners with a more demanding routine. As such, beginners are advised to start on the mat.
Some Pilates exercises, like the Plank or the Hundred, are so mainstream that you may have already tried them without even knowing you were doing Pilates.
To get a better idea of what Pilates is all about, check out our selection of free Pilates workout videos from professional trainers, no signup required.
Who is Pilates for?
There’s a common misconception that Pilates is only for gym addicts and dancers, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In reality, Pilates is an effective fitness system for exercisers of all levels who want to:
Because it focuses on low-impact movements, Pilates is an ideal exercise system for anyone suffering from joint pain, arthritis, or any other medical conditions that make high-impact workouts like running a no-go.
Some variations of Pilates, such as Clinical Pilates, are used in conjunction with physiotherapy to treat back and neck injuries as well as chronic pain in those areas. There is emerging evidence that Pilates may be helpful in the treatment of:
Yoga vs. Pilates
Exercisers are often unsure of the differences between yoga and Pilates as both fitness systems share some of the same core tenets. These include a focus on:
While there’s quite a bit of overlap between the two, Pilates puts a greater emphasis on strength building and muscle toning than yoga. Pilates is generally considered more secular, whereas yoga focuses more on meditation and spirituality.
Exercisers who are looking to tone their bodies and burn calories will tend to be better suited for Pilates.
Here’s a chart to help you make sense of the differences:
Low-impact weight loss
While Pilates won’t burn as many calories as a HIIT routine or a 10-mile run, its weight-loss potential is nothing to scoff at.
Plus, with the help of “the pilates effect,” a toning of your muscles and an improved posture, you’ll look like you’ve lost weight before you ever drop a pound.
How to start Pilates
If you want to start toning your core, losing weight, and improving your posture with Pilates, you don’t need to wait.
Tream offers free online fitness videos by top Pilates trainers, so you can start right now from the comfort of your home. Just plop down a mat and browse through our wide selection of free Pilates workout videos for men and women, no signup required.
With Tream, you’ll get all the benefits of an in-person pilates class without having to drive back and forth from a pilates studio. Our mobile-friendly platform makes it easy to squeeze in a quick workout whenever you have a few minutes of downtime, be it early in the morning, late at night, or even on the go — our classes run on your schedule.
There are new workouts added almost every day, so you’ll never find yourself short on motivation or inspiration. You can sort through videos by workout type, popularity, and upload date, so it’s easy to find the videos and exercises you want, make a playlist, and go through them at your own pace.
Want a more personal connection with your trainer? Tream lets you search for trainers based on tags and categories and then stay in contact with them via private messages. Just head over to our trainers page and click “Pilates” to view all our Pilates trainers. When you’ve found a trainer you like, you can follow them to get notified whenever their latest workouts are posted.
Have a question about an exercise? No problem. Just send a private message to your trainer or leave a comment on the workout video. You’ll get an answer and advice from your trainer — and perhaps even some motivation from your fellow Tream members as well!
Ready to tone your core, lose weight, and balance your body and mind? Start browsing through our selection of free Pilates videos right now, no signup required.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is never intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.