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Classical Pilates is Strength Training

The myth behind Pilates being a stretch routine and what you should know.

Written by Erica Walters, Pilates Fit Studio Owner, B.S. Exercise Science, Certified Classical Pilates Teacher, Host Studio Instructor Trainer for Real Pilates of NYC. M.S. Exercise and Sports Sciences (projected graduation from Tulane May 2024).

How did Pilates come to be known as a stretch routine? We don’t know either. Classical Pilates is a System and a Workout regimen, but there is more to unpack here. There are nine major pieces of apparatus in the original Pilates system, including the famous reformer. All pieces of Pilates apparatus use springs for resistance. When you use springs with your body weight, you will understand how the discipline of Classical Pilates differs from traditional weightlifting but gives you the benefits of Strength Training.

What makes Pilates Strength Training?

In resistance training, we develop muscle mass with external forces. We do this in Classical Pilates by using spring resistance combined with bodyweight exercises, creating a progressive overload that can be easily increased. The spring resistance will challenge your body and allow your musculoskeletal system to get stronger.

Why do I need to resistance train?

  1. Increase Force Production: Simply put, strength is the ability to produce force against an external resistance. Strength training will enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Think pressing out 20 pounds of spring at the studio and then lifting your 20-pound child. Phew, that was a workout! With the springs on the Pilates apparatus, you work and build your muscles by pressing the springs out and resisting the springs back in, to increase your muscle mass.
  2. Increased Ability to Reduce Force: Reducing force can stop a moving body abruptly, which is important for avoiding injury. You accomplish this through eccentric muscle contraction with the springs and by working against gravity with your body weight. A spring naturally wants to spring back, so in Pilates, you must work to control the spring on the return. This can also be accomplished by doing bodyweight exercises and isometric holds, which work against gravity.
  3. Decrease Your Risk of Injury: Improving muscle strength decreases your risk of falling and other related injuries. Developing strong bones and muscles will allow your body to be more resistant to injuries, and general aches and pains.

The Classical Pilates Difference: Strength. Stability. Stamina, Stretch.

Symmetrical Strengthening. The use of submaximal movements to address and correct movements and muscle imbalances to improve the quality of movement to do the everyday things that matter most in life. Your teacher’s role is for alignment in your sessions where they will align the bones so that the correct muscles can fire to build strength.




Pilates exercise is as unique as you are and your workout should reflect this! We say ditch the crowds and work with a Classical Pilates Specialist 1:1 or in a small group of 3-4 people.

At Pilates Fit Studio, our team of Real Pilates Specialists caters to the needs of individuals across all fitness levels and ages through targeted results programming and custom workouts. At your first session, your teacher will do an assessment with you to discuss your movement background, health history, and your personal goals.

With a complete system of movement, every teacher is comprehensively trained in Real Pilates of NYC. We program and design workouts for young athletes and full-body conditioning. We are specially trained in modifications for back injuries, scoliosis, osteoporosis, hip and knee replacements, and shoulder injuries, as well as pre-and postnatal exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise:

  • Increased bone mineral density
  • Increase lean muscle mass: in conjunction with fueling your body properly
  • Decreased prevalence of many chronic diseases
  • Beneficial effects of psychological measures
    • Mood
    • Perseverance
    • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Live longer
  • 21% decrease in all-cause mortality
  • 23% lower risk of a cardiovascular event

Have more questions?

Let studio owner Erica Walters answer your fitness and wellness questions!

“I founded Pilates Fit Studio because Louisville’s growing wellness space demanded a high level of education around quality training with globally recognized standards. It was only fitting that I bring the gold standard of Classical Pilates to Louisville.”

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