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What's the difference between Classical and Contemporary Pilates?

The terms "Classical Pilates" and "Contemporary Pilates" refer to different approaches and interpretations of the original Pilates method developed by Joseph Pilates. Here are the main differences between Classical Pilates and Contemporary Pilates:


Origins: Classical Pilates refers to the teachings and principles established by Joseph Pilates himself. It adheres closely to the original exercises and sequencing created by him. Contemporary Pilates, on the other hand, encompasses various adaptations and modifications made by instructors and practitioners over time.


Exercise repertoire: Classical Pilates follows a specific set of exercises as developed by Joseph Pilates. The repertoire consists of traditional exercises performed in a specific order, with little deviation from the original sequencing. Contemporary Pilates, however, incorporates a broader range of exercises, often integrating modern movement principles and variations to suit individual needs and goals.


Equipment usage: In Classical Pilates, the emphasis is placed on using traditional Pilates equipment, such as the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, and other specialized apparatus. Contemporary Pilates, while still utilizing the traditional equipment, also incorporates additional props and modern equipment to enhance and diversify the exercises.


Teaching approach: Classical Pilates aims to preserve the original teachings and methodology of Joseph Pilates. It typically follows a more structured and standardized approach, with a focus on precise execution and adherence to the original principles. Contemporary Pilates, on the other hand, allows for more individualized instruction, modifications, and adaptations based on the needs and abilities of each client.


Evolution and innovation: Contemporary Pilates has evolved and adapted over time to incorporate knowledge from other movement disciplines and advancements in exercise science. It may integrate elements of anatomy, biomechanics, physical therapy, and other modalities to enhance the Pilates practice. This evolution has led to the development of specialized branches of Contemporary Pilates, such as rehabilitation-based Pilates or sport-specific Pilates.


Both Classical and Contemporary Pilates have their merits, and the choice between them ultimately depends on personal preferences, goals, and the guidance of a qualified instructor. 

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