What is Pilates?
The Pilates training system is considered the main trend in the fitness industry of the last decade - in the United States of America alone, more than 11 million people practice Pilates, which is 20% of all people involved in fitness (1) .
Pilates is used by ordinary trainees to increase muscle tone (primarily the muscles of the abs and back), professional dancers to prepare for performances and accelerate recovery, as well as in rehabilitation physiotherapy.
Differences between Yoga and Pilates
Despite the fact that many fitness centers tend to “combine” yoga and Pilates, attracting the same trainer to conduct classes, these two activities differ both in logic (yoga has deep energy roots) and in the mechanics of execution.
If the basis of classical yoga is special exercises, “asanas,” which are most often performed motionless and serving to develop a static stretch, then the basis of Pilates is movements borrowed from ancient Roman and Greek training practices .
The training program was authored by Joseph Pilates, an American of German descent, who during the First World War developed a special exercise system for English soldiers undergoing rehabilitation (2) .
In 1926, Joseph moved to New York, and after a few years, his modified training system became extremely popular among dancers. The first studio of Joseph and his wife, Clara, was in the same building as the New York City Ballet, on 8th Avenue (3) .
In 1990, Sean Gallagher bought the training studio of D. Pilates, who died twenty years ago, and founded Pilates, Inc. on its basis . and registered the word Pilates as a trademark. He soon tried to ban its free use.
Gallagher insisted that he had all the rights to the Pilates system, and any use of this word should be paid. However, after many years of trial, he was recognized as a fraud, and the word Pilates was commonly used (4) .
At the beginning of the century, in England, Joseph Pilates developed equipment to increase the effectiveness of his rehabilitation system - and even then Pilates simulators resembled beds with movable beams and elastic straps.
Today, both improved versions of such "beds" are available (for example, shown in the main illustration of Pilates Allegro® 2 Reformer ), as well as numerous "small" equipment for Pilates - rugs, hoops, massage rollers and so on.
Exercise machine or Pilates mat?
On the one hand, a special Pilates simulator allows you to perform many more different exercises, using additional resistance, on the other hand, such systems are significantly more expensive than a regular Pilates mat.
Not every fitness club can afford to have a Pilates training machine worth about $ 5000 (not to mention the need for a special room in this case), which is why Pilates exercises are most often carried out on rugs.
The largest companies in the market
Since the word “pilates” was recognized as common, and the author did not patent the training system, anyone can use and modify it. The Pilates market has become, above all, the market for professional training equipment.
The largest manufacturer of Pilates equipment is California-based Balanced Body, Inc. The company has been operating since 1976, producing both simulators, training and video materials. The annual income is estimated at $ 2 million. The number of employees is 100.
The system of special exercises developed by D. Pilates for the rehabilitation of soldiers gained mass popularity after almost a century. Initially, training implied special machines, so the variation on the rugs is a simplification.
- The Pilates Phenomenon: Where Do We Go From Here ?, source
- Pilates Origins, source
- 8th Avenue. New York City. The Pilates Studio, source
- Trademark Lawsuit - Court overturns Pilates Trademarks, source
- Balanced Body, Inc., Inside View, source