Confession: For longer than we care to admit, we thought yoga and Pilates were pretty much the same thing. Assuming that other people might have similar misconceptions, we checked in with our friends at Club Pilates to dispel some common myths about this killer workout we’re now totally obsessed with.
MYTH: PILATES IS ONLY FOR WOMEN
Nope. Pilates is named after its founder, Joseph Pilates (yes, a guy). Many of Pilates’ earliest practitioners were men, and you’ll see a healthy sampling of dudes in classes everywhere. In fact, professional sports teams often incorporate Pilates into their cross-training routines to improve players’ balance and stability.
MYTH: YOU’LL HAVE TO USE ONE OF THOSE CRAZY, TORTURE-LIKE DEVICES
Yes, certain types of Pilates require intense-looking machines like the Megaformer pictured above, but all of the basic movement principles of Pilates can be practiced with no equipment—look for classes called “Mat Pilates.” Also, once you get the hang of it, those machines aren’t nearly as terrifying as they look. (If we can do it, you can do it.)
MYTH: PILATES IS JUST LIKE YOGA
Not quite. While yoga is typically a series of flowing movements and postures, Pilates targets different muscle groups to increase flexibility, balance, muscle control and core strength. Plus, many forms of Pilates use specific equipment, versus the simple mat (and sometimes blocks or straps) setup of yoga.
MYTH: YOU HAVE TO BE SUPER FIT AND FLEXIBLE TO TRY PILATES
Like most things, Pilates takes practice. The longer you stick with it, the better you’ll get. In fact, Pilates is an excellent option for older people who might not be religious exercisers, since it’s so low-impact. It also increases flexibility, which is super important to maintain as we age. Basically, Pilates is for everyone. If you’re worried about your skill level, check to see if any of your local studios have beginner classes, where you’ll be able to ease into the movements and principles.