Classical Pilates Explained by Reformer Retreats

classical pilates

Pilates is a disciplined form of exercise created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. It involves a series of controlled movements that target all muscle groups and assist in improving posture, flexibility and functionality. Pilates also increases mindfulness and relaxation whilst reducing stress and anxiety. It does this because it has a strong focus on breathing and mind-body connection, one of the key principles of classical Pilates. 


Today, there are a range of adaptations of Pilates offered at studios. Despite this, classical Pilates is still considered to be the truest practice. Moreover, classical Pilates teachers are required to complete rigorous training under teachers who are within the lineage of Joseph Pilates. 

What is Classical Pilates?

Classical Pilates is the original method of sequence work created by Joseph Pilates. It was designed so that the body can properly move through a full range of motion. The classical method has a focus on the 6 principles of Pilates which are:

  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Centring
  • Breath
  • Precision
  • Flow

The intention of classical Pilates is a full body workout for both the body and the mind. It focuses on strengthening the powerhouse (core) which helps to improve balance, support the spine and assist with the mobility of your spine. The Pilates movements created by Joseph Pilates were designed to challenge strength, stretch and stamina.  

‘’In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body’’ 

Joseph Pilates (1883-1967).

Classical Pilates equipment:

The wall tower:

The wall tower is a modified version of the traditional Cadillac apparatus, rarely seen in studios outside of major cities like London. Working on the wall tower gives you access to resistance springs which help to strengthen and engage every part of your body. This means you can get the most out of your Pilates session. The classes are designed to be fun, energising that provide you with a full body workout that combines all aspects of Pilates. The wall tower helps to create a lean body with a better posture, better balance and perfect for those who fancy more of a challenge. 

The Reformer

One piece of equipment that is incredibly popular in the world of Pilates is the classical reformer. It was designed by Joseph Pilates and resembles a bed-like structure with a carriage that moves backwards and forwards along tracks within a frame. There is also a set of springs and pulleys which create additional resistance during a reformer session. The reformer focuses on proper muscle engagement and core strength. You can learn more about the reformer in our previous article ‘What is Reformer Pilates?’. 

The Mat

Classical mat classes work through the 34 Pilates exercises put together by Joseph Pilates himself. The order was designed to allow you to get stronger, more flexible all whilst improving your stability. We make sure to follow the order each and every time as the theory behind it is that you achieve progression through a well balanced and challenging session. The great part about following the order is that over time you will get more familiar with each movement and therefore better and better every time you do it. 


What are the benefits of classical Pilates?

There are a wide range of benefits associated with Pilates. The more often you take part in Pilates exercise, the quicker you will see results. In order to achieve the best results, like anything, Pilates requires commitment and dedication. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from Pilates:

  • Increased strength
  • More functionality
  • Improved breath
  • Better posture
  • Increased flexibility
  • Better balance
  • Reduced back paint
  • Stress relief
  • Enhanced sleep

Classical Pilates retreat

Whether you are new to Pilates or a Pilates pro, if you are interested in getting involved in classical Pilates or you just fancy deepening your understanding of it further, Reformer Retreats could be the answer you didn’t know you needed. We have put together a weekend dedicated to classical Pilates. The retreat includes reformer sessions, mat classes and a range of other activities that help to challenge and inspire whilst promoting relaxation and wellbeing. All of the Pilates sessions are led by second generation, classically trained teachers who are passionate about passing on their knowledge and skills to attendees. 


To find out more about our Reformer Retreats, please take a look at our upcoming event or get in touch.