What Is Contrology Pilates? Is it Different than Traditional Pilates?


People often say Contrology is the synonym of Pilates. But that’s not the truth. Let’s explore what is Contrology and how modern-day Pilates has changed some of its core principles.

What is Contrology?

When Joseph Pilates introduced a special type of stretching and breathing exercise in 1929, he called them “Contrology”. He used the word Contrology because those exercises had a fundamental principle, which is to let your mind control the muscles. Unlike other exercises, which you can do while listening to music or daydreaming, Contrology requires you to concentrate on each body part that you move with utter awareness.

The goal of Contrology is to get a balanced body, mind, and spirit. To attain these goals, Mr. Pilates incorporated six principles in his book Return to life through Contrology.

  1. Breathing,
  2. Centering,
  3. Flow,
  4. Concentration,
  5. Control, and
  6. Precision.

Are Contrology and Pilates the Same Thing?

The answer is yes and no! In 1929, Joseph Pilates started a studio in New York to practice Contrology and named it “Pilates”. Since then, Contrology is also known as Pilates. He introduced a group of exercises that can be performed on a mat, known as Mat Pilates, and pieces of equipment, known as Reformer Pilates. He designed the equipment himself with precise measurements and features.

After Joseph Pilates’s death in 1967, people started changing the original Contrology methods and added new types of exercises to it. Now the original Contrology is known as Classical Pilates and the altered version of Pilates is known as Contemporary Pilates. Here are some of the new types of Pilates.

  • STOTT Pilates
  • Winsor Pilates
  • POP Pilates
  • Clinical Pilates

4 Differences Between Contrology and Pilates

The contemporary Pilates techniques use some of the basic Contrology principles but have omitted others. These are some important points to understand the difference between Contrology and contemporary Pilates.

1) Weight Loss

Classical Pilates has many benefits but it is not designed for weight loss. It generally burns less than 200 calories for an hour of exercise, which is way lower than other exercises like swimming, cardio, Zumba, etc. The main goal of Contrology is to get flexibility and toned muscles, but not weight loss. However, some contemporary Pilates such as Winsor Pilates and POP Pilates is designed to burn fat and lose weight.

2) Curve Line

The Contrology emphasizes the flat back while exercising. But one of the contemporary Pilates, STOTT Pilates is designed to support and restore the spine’s natural curvature.

3) Clinical Benefits

The Contrology doesn’t aim at providing clinical benefits. However, one of the contemporary Pilates, clinical Pilates, includes exercises designed by certified physiotherapists for providing the following benefits.

  • treatment for various injuries and health conditions,
  • recovery after surgery, accidents, and pregnancy, and
  • reducing chronic pain.

Contrology can be performed by anyone without any restriction, while clinical Pilates is meticulously customized and different for each patient.

4) Transition

Contrology is based on a sequence of exercises. There is a seamless transition from one exercise to another. However, in many contemporary Pilates, such sequences are missing.  

Conclusion: What is Contrology Pilates and How it is Different from Pilates

Contrology includes the original principles of movements introduced by Joseph Pilates. In today’s era, Contrology is known as classic or classical Pilates. However, contemporary Pilates may or may not be similar to Contrology because many of them have changed the purpose and modified the style of original Contrology.

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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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