8 Different Types of Pilates Methods to Know About

different types of pilates

Let’s Explore Various Pilates Types Such as Mat Pilates, 3-2-8 Pilates, Contemporary Pilates, Classical Pilates, Winsor Pilates, Reformer Pilates, Clinical Pilates, and Stott Pilates

Pilates is a type of exercise that is designed to strengthen the muscles, lose weight, and gain optimal physical and mental health. It was designed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s’ and is still quite popular among all age groups. Pilates has evolved from time to time and changed as per the various requirements. Here’s a detailed article on what is Pilates. In this article, we will explore different types of Pilates.

Various Types of Pilates

There are the most popular eight different types of Pilates.

1)  Mat Pilates

As the name indicates, mat Pilates is done on a mat, and there is no need for any type of equipment. The mat is a bit larger and more cushiony than a yoga mat. Because mat Pilates can be done from home also and you don’t need to travel to the Pilates studios or classes, it gained tremendous popularity during the recent pandemic. Many Pilates instructors have started providing virtual live Pilates sessions, or online 1:1 coaching using platforms like Yottled. It is 100% free for Pilates instructors to build their webpage, create online booking pages, and accept payments.

Try these mat Pilates exercises that will strengthen your hips, pelvic floor, shoulders, legs’ muscles, and lower back:  15 Most Popular Mat Pilates Exercises

Here’s a detailed article: Mat Pilates and Floor Pilates: What is Mat Pilates? Definition, Benefits, and Business Ideas

Here’s a video of 34 classical Pilates Mat exercises.

The original 34 classical Pilates Mat exercises

2) 3-2-8 Pilates

This is not a separate type of Pilates. 3-2-8 Pilates is a weekly workout plan that includes a sequence of weight lifting, Pilates, Barre, and walking/running. For the first 3 days, you need to concentrate only on the intense weight exercises of your choice. Do the full-body weight workout on the first day, followed by the upper body and lower body on the second and third days.

On the fourth and fifth days, let your body recover and calm down by doing low-impact Pilates and Barre workouts. You can choose any Pilates exercise but it is advisable to follow Natalie Rose’s TikTok channel to get better guidance as she’s the one who came up with the 3-2-8 Pilates method. Apart from that, walk (or run) an average of 8,000 steps per day to lose 300 calories.

With this combination of Weights, Pilates, Barre, and walking, you can lose weight quickly, tone muscles, reduce inflammation and boating, and gain more flexibility. Here’s a detailed article: 3-2-8 Pilates.

3)  Reformer Pilates

Pilates exercises done with some special types of machines are known as reformer Pilates. The machine is called a “Pilates reformer” or simply a “reformer”. There are almost 60 different kinds of exercises that can be done using the Pilates reformer. This type of Pilates should be done under a trained instructor’s supervision.

Reformer Pilates is expensive and generally starts from $40/per session. They are best for the spine, legs, and shoulders.  Once you’re an expert, you can buy the reformer at your home, too. Pilates reformer costs between $3,000 to $9,000. The add-on accessories like a reformer box, rotational Diskboard, Jumpboard, Vinyasa Triangle, etc. cost about $300 to $500.

There are 7 to 8 types of reformers available in the market. Some of the common ones are Classic Reformer, Wunda Chair, Cadillac, and Pilates Ladder Barrel.

Here’s what a classic Pilates reformer looks like.

An image showing the machine/equipment used in one of the Pilates types called reformer Pilates

Image source: merrithew.com 

4)  Clinical Pilates

Clinical Pilates is a therapeutic exercise offered by some qualified physiotherapists as a part of treatment for various injuries and health conditions. Clinical Pilates is meticulously customized for each patient as per their location of the injury on the body, weight, and health issues. This type of Pilates is claimed to be helpful in stabilizing the muscles of the neck and lower back, accelerating recovery after surgery, and reducing chronic pain.

5)  Classical Pilates

Classic Pilates, also known as Contrology, is the original form of Pilates that is based on a sequence of exercises. These exercises are carefully designed by Joseph Pilates that follow steps in a particular order. It starts from the basic foundation exercises and leads to more complicated ones gradually. The seamless transition from one exercise to another and its sequence are the core concepts behind classical Pilates. Classic Pilates is done on the mat and reformers as well.

6)  Contemporary Pilates

Contemporary Pilates, also known as hybrid Pilates, means including various other types of exercises in classical Pilates. Contemporary Pilates = classical Pilates+ additional workout from other exercise categories. Other categories may include yoga, physiotherapy, aerobics, aerials, etc. Some people even consider clinical Pilates to be a part of contemporary Pilates.

Unlike classic/traditional Pilates, which follows a strict sequence of steps and exercises, contemporary Pilates is modified and adapted as per the user’s needs, body types, lifestyles, and physical conditions. Many Pilates instructors use various prompts like stretching bands, rollers, dumbbells, gym balls, etc., along with traditional mats and Pilates reformers.

One of the best examples of contemporary Pilates is POP Pilates. Developed by Casey Ho, POP Pilates combines dance with traditional Pilates. It is a choreographed dance merged with Pilates that provides body flexibility and improves posture.

7)  Stott Pilates

Stott Pilates is based on two main principles.

  • Restoring the original curve of the spine.
  • Protecting, realigning (in case of injury), and improving the condition of the muscles surrounding the joints.

Stott Pilates is helpful to anyone having any severe pain, surgery, or injury in the spine, neck, back, and shoulders.

What Is the Difference Between Stott Pilates and Pilates?

In classical Pilates, the focus is on the flat back while exercising, while Stott Pilates’s workouts are designed to restore the spine’s natural curvature. In other words, Stott Pilates is designed to support and restore the original curve of the spine. Another difference between Stott Pilates and classical Pilates is that many of Stott Pilates’ exercises are designed to incorporate tools like stretching bands, exercise balls, weights (dumbbells), rings, etc. While basic Pilates doesn’t require any of such tools.  

8)  Winsor Pilates

Developed by Mari Winsor, Winsor Pilates emphasizes breathing coordination and targets the “band of energy”, i.e., the middle area of your body (abdomen) to reduce weight. It also includes other classical Pilates exercises. There is a total of 13 breathing and physical exercises that are performed on the mat for 20 minutes. The breathing exercises are developed in a way that they increase the oxygen level in the blood. It also improves the working of abdomen muscles and enhances the metabolism which ultimately accelerates the weight loss process.

What is Hybrid Pilates?

Hybrid Pilates is the same as contemporary Pilates. It means combining Pilates with different other exercise types. Here, you’re adding some tools and techniques of Pilates and merging them with other exercise types like Yoga, Aerobics, Aerial, dancing, etc. For example, when you use an Aerial (A silk fabric hammock, tied on the ceiling and hung 3 to 4 feet above the ground) to do Pilates, it’s a contemporary hybrid Pilates. In the same way, when you do poses of yoga using a Pilates reformer machine, it is also a hybrid Pilates. Another way of doing hybrid Pilates is working on your breathing by combining Windsor Pilates and breathing yoga exercises like pranayama and Surya Bhedana. By doing so, you’ll get the benefits of Pilates combined with other types of exercises.

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Medha Mehta

Medha Mehta

Medha is a Sr. content marketing manager at Yottled. She is passionate about writing, SEO, and digital marketing. She's a tech and cybersecurity enthusiast.

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