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Pilates 101: An Introduction to the Core-Building Exercise

Named after its inventor, Joseph Pilates, Pilates is an exercise consisting of slow, fluid, and precise movements that aim to improve physical well-being and promote a harmonious connection between the body and mind.

Read on to learn about Pilates, what to expect from a Pilates session, and how it benefits you.

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a non-competitive, low-impact exercise that seeks to enhance the mind-body connection.

It was initially created in the 1920s for rehabilitative purposes and thus quickly gained popularity among dancers and sportspeople. In modern times, Pilates is a popular exercise among the masses and individuals from all walks of life practise it.

There are two versions of Pilates: mat Pilates and equipment-based Pilates. The former is done on a mat and can thus be performed at a studio or home. The latter is done with specialised equipment utilising springs for resistance and is typically done in the studio.

Both versions emphasise slow and intentional movements, focusing on alignment, posture, and breath control. Ultimately, it seeks to improve your core strength and mobility while encouraging a deeper awareness of the body.

Unlike body-building, where exercises focus on isolated body parts and help individuals build big muscles, Pilates is more low-impact; by stretching and lengthening your muscles, Pilates exercises help you build a leaner and more flexible body. It focuses on building core strength and enables you to achieve a toned body.

What to Expect in a Pilates Class

Depending on the Pilates class that you sign up for, you might be using one (or more) of the Pilates equipment or props. While the equipment might seem intimidating and challenging at first, they are easily adjustable to suit the individual’s strength and fitness level.

In a beginner class, you will likely be introduced to foundational Pilates principles and concepts like body awareness and muscle control. Initial movements and exercises might seem easy due to its small and deceptively simple movements. However, when done correctly, the movements require significant strength and control. Therefore, you should expect a challenge and full-body workout that will leave you sore.

Key Benefits of Pilates

Because Pilates encourages you to stretch and lengthen your muscles and promotes mobility and stability, it complements physical therapy and can help to accelerate recovery. Therefore, individuals that have sustained sports injuries or are experiencing chronic pain can benefit from the exercise.

Furthermore, Pilates encourages good posture and core strength, developing dynamic strength that supports joint movement. Hence, practising Pilates can help prevent future injuries caused by daily activities or other workouts. Improved posture can also reduce neck, shoulder, and back discomfort.

Pilates also focuses on slow and intentional breathing. The breathing exercises help you practise concentration and mindfulness, reducing tension and countering stress and anxiety.

Who Can Do Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise everyone can partake in, regardless of age, fitness level, and injuries sustained. Its wide range of movements makes it versatile and able to suit individuals from all walks of life.

It is ideal for beginners and individuals with limited body control because it focuses on body awareness and proper form. The skills attained from Pilates classes can then be transferred to other sports and everyday activities like walking and sitting.


Unlike many forms of exercise, Pilates is for everyone—athletes, individuals with low fitness levels, and people with limited mobility can attend Pilates classes. It enhances your mind-body awareness and connection, develops your core strength, and improves your range of motion.

If you want to try private Pilates in Singapore, visit Chuan Studio. We also offer somatic movement therapy and GYROTONIC® classes and movement therapy. Contact us to learn more or sign up for our classes.


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