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What is Pilates?

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

At bounceREHAB, we LOVE Pilates. Pilates is a form of exercise that has become very popular in recent years, with growing numbers using it as part of their regular training routine to optimise wellness. Let’s break down the technical side of Pilates, and why it could enhance your fitness and recovery.

A little bit of history

The origins of Pilates date back to the 1920's, when Joseph Pilates began to use his exercise methods under the term 'Contrology'. As a child he was sick and physically impaired for many years, and so used his training to dramatically change his quality of life. Joseph Pilates developed the original methods of Pilates, which make the exercise training very accurate and precise. His 'Contrology' was used famously by hospitalised WWI soldiers to NYC elite ballet dancers. His method was passed on after his death in 1967 at the age of 83. It was only after his death that it became known as the Pilates Method.

Today, these principles have been adapted and refined. The Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (APPI) defines the methods of Pilates under the following principles:

  • Centring - Engaging the deep core and pelvic floor muscles to create a neutral ‘’centred’’ position in the lumbar spine

  • Concentration - To focus on movement accuracy and mental precision when training

  • Control - Close control of movements using postural cues

  • Precision - Accuracy of exercise technique

  • Flow - Smooth exercise transitions

  • Breathing - In co-ordination with exercises to maximise use of core muscles

Here are some examples of original Pilates exercises – they date back roughly 100 years!

Common impairments that Pilates can address:

  • Strength impairments

  • Flexibility impairments

  • Functional movement impairments

  • Cardiovascular fitness impairments

Once these impairments are are identified we can start to work on them and help improve your bodies wellness.

What type of Pilates should I do?

There are so many options to choose from when starting your Pilates journey. Pilates is usually broken down into two main categories.

Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates is the foundation of all Pilates which involves a set repertoire of exercises performed on an exercise mat +/- additional equipment. Using body weight resisted movement and small apparatus creates a full body work out that could rival any PT gym session. Feel strong and confident whilst building essential core, upper body and lower body strength as well as focusing on body mobility and mindful movement abilities.

Mat Pilates has modifications and different levels to suit and progress all body types. Pilates can cater for all injuries and can be designed to create injury rehabilitation protocols.

Equipment or Studio Pilates

Equipment Pilates gets a bit more interesting. At bounceREHAB we have the highest quality Pilates equipment available. The Pilates equipment that we have at bounceREHAB includes:

  • Pilates Reformers

  • Ladder Barrels

  • Barrels

  • Split Pedal Chairs or Wunda Chairs

  • Cadillacs or Trapezius Tables, and much more.

Pilates equipment is quite unique to Pilates. All of the equipment has its own unique features and is able to build and adapt the Pilates method to every and any body type.

At bounceREHAB we have many othropaedic surgery patients coming to the clinic for Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation. The Pilates equipment is perfectly suited to cater for a vast array of these types of patients such as total knee replacement rehabilitation, total hip replacement rehabilitation, spinal surgery rehabilitation, pre and post natal rehabilitation, shoulder reconstruction and rotator cuff repair rehabilitation.

Evidenced Based Practice

At bounceREHAB we use the most current literature and research to build and develop our Pilates method and to give the very best support to our Pilates clients. Our readings on research never ends and therefore we are always developing our Pilates method to help you more.

Here are come cool research articles that you may find interesting.

  • Cruz-Díaz D, Romeu M, Velasco C, (2018) did a randomised controlled trial that looked at the effectiveness of a 12 week pilates intervention on disability, pain and kinesiophobia in patients with chronic lower back pain and found that pilates intervention in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain is effective in the management of disability, pain and kinesiophobia.

  • Laws A, Williams S, Wilson C (2017) found that a 6 week course of clinical pilates significantly improves functional movement in recreational runners and that pilates my lead to a reduction in the risk of running relates injuries.

In Summary

At bounceREHAB we have many pilates options for you to choose from. All of our options are designed to help you improve your bodies wellness no matter what stage you may be at. We encourage you to reach out and discuss you needs with one of our team members who can guide you to make the right decision in your wellness journeys.

As said by Joseph Pilates "You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty session and have a completely new body after thirty sessions".


Paul Dardagan - Titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist


Bachelor in Coaching Science

Graduate Certificate in Human Movement Science

Masters in Physiotherapy

Graduate Certificate in Sports Physiotherapy

Masters in Sports Physiotherapy

Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy (completing)

Masters in Executive Business Administration in Entrepreneurship (completing)

Niamh Rafter - Physiotherapist


Bachelor in Physiotherapy

APPI Mat Pilates

Medical acupuncture

Dry needling


Cruz-Díaz D, Romeu M, Velasco C, (2018) The effectiveness of 12 weeks of Pilates intervention on disability, pain and kinesiophobia in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial Clinical Rehabilitation 1 –9

Laws A, Williams S, Wilson C (2017) looked at the the Effect of Clinical Pilates on Functional Movement in Recreational Runners and found that clinical pilates significantly improves functional movement in recreational runners, and this may lead to a reduction in the risk of running-related injuries.

Mallin G, Murphy (2013), looked at the effectiveness of a 6-week Pilates Programme on outcome measures in a population of chronic neck pain patients and found that pilates has a role to play in reducing pain and disability in neck pain patients.

Wells C, Kolt GS, Marshall P, Bialocerkowski A (2013) The Definition and Application of Pilates Exercise to Treat People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Delphi Survey of Australian Physical Therapists J. Of Phys. Therapy. 94 (6) 792 -805

Withers GA (2017) Pilates as a therapeutic exercise In touch Journal of Physiotherapy 28 – 32

Withers GA (2010) The role of Pilates in lumbar spine instability training Fitpro Journal 20 - 21


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