Pilates: Debunking the Myths and Misconceptions Around It

Pilates is a relatively recent form of movement modality which is becoming a progressively popular and well-known form of exercise among the masses, it is still a long way till it becomes as mainstream as yoga or going to the gym.

Owing to this, there are several myths and misconceptions circulating about it. This not only prevents a lot of people from taking it up as their preferred form of working out but also deprives them of the amazing results and benefits it can guarantee.

This article is going to address some of the most prevalent misconceived notions about the workout form and debunk them for you.

Pilates is similar to yoga

While there may be some overlap between these two modalities, Pilates is considerably different and in no way is it a derivative of Yoga.

Yoga has been around for more than 5000 years. it, however, was only introduced in the 20th century by Joseph Pilates.

While both Pilates and yoga have many similar goals, there is one significant difference between the two. In addition to the mat work, there are different exercise machines involved in Pilates like a Pilates reformer, for instance.

The sessions predominantly focus on your core strength, body control, and toning your muscles. Yoga, on the other hand, is spiritual-based and involves elements of meditation. It increases flexibility, endurance, and spirituality.

Pilates is only for women

The new fitness era is proving the stereotype wrong. More and more men are joining Pilates as well.

This could not be farther from the truth. Men can equally benefit from it, if not more. Did you know it was founded by a man? Yes, it was designed by Joseph Pilates originally for the physical rehabilitation of soldiers after the First World War.

Men can get an extremely good workout out of these exercises where they can build their form, muscles and strength. It is just as effective as weight training. So do not dismiss the idea of taking it up if you are male just because the pop culture does not portray a lot of men doing Pilates or because the nearest class only has women signing up for it.

Having equipment is a must

This is a big misconception. People often refrain from even knowing about the workout form because the notion that it is high on equipment is wildly prevalent. It is understandable why this knowledge may deter some people.

Every beginner is trained to perform exercises that do not require equipment at all. There exists mat Pilates for which you would only need a mat and you will be set. So if you do not want to be around a lot of equipment, simply join a mat Pilates class.

Avoid it when you are injured

This is true of most other forms of workouts when you have just sustained an injury. But as we have mentioned above, it was introduced for the rehabilitation of war soldiers. It can be done after sustaining injuries too.

Of course, you might want to talk to your instructor about the exercises that are safe for your condition. But once your doctor gives you a green light, you do not have to miss a single session.

You need to be flexible to do Pilates

As Pilates is often associated with yoga, a lot of people think they need to be flexible enough to do Pilates. If you have been holding yourself back because all the people you see doing Pilates have a graceful dancer-like fluidity about them, it is time you learned the truth.

Pilates does not need you to be super flexible. The flexibility that most people have is not a prerequisite, but rather a result of practising the exercises. It works out different muscle groups through elongated movements. And that results in the litheness that is common to all instructors and students.

So if you have been passing up on the opportunity to take up this super effective mode of workout just because you cannot seem to touch your toes without bending your knees, do not worry anymore.

It does not need you to be super flexible. The flexibility that most people have is not a prerequisite, but rather a result of practising Pilates.

It only works out your core

We agree that it is an exceptionally great workout for your core, but to think that it is limited to that is simply not true.

Doing Pilates is nothing short of a full-body workout. All your muscle groups are activated during different exercises while paying special attention to your core. Moreover, it teaches you the proper way to breathe and helps you concentrate better by bringing your awareness to each muscle group as you work it out.

These exercises do not just offer bodily advantages, but you can notice a boost in other aspects of your life as well.

It is just a stretching class

Because the movements and exercises in the workout style tend to be slow and controlled, some people mistake it for a stretching class. A fact about it here is that it was originally called Contrology, owing to the controlled and focused movements that it has.

In no way is Pilates just a stretching class because it incorporates a lot of other elements of a workout. Your entire body is in motion while going from one exercise to another. So it is good cardio for all the people who are looking to shed some weight. You are also working against the resistance of your own body so there, it has a weight training factor as well!

Unluclass Suggestion: Read “What is Pilates”

Pilates is too easy

If you are finding Pilates to be too easy, then you are probably doing it wrong. it is not as easy as it looks. If performed appropriately, Pilates exercises can be quite challenging, sometimes even more than weight training or cardio on a treadmill.

The workouts consist of exercises designed to challenge your muscles. In a Pilates session, you work on your stabilising muscles. Although it is somewhat easy to work your dominant muscles, such as the quadriceps, it is equally back-breaking to work your minute muscles.

If you are working on your small muscles by applying the accurate technique to your Pilates workout, you will discover that it is not a cakewalk.

Pilates is too difficult

If you have done Pilates, you probably know it is not easy. Pilates sessions can be both challenging and beneficial for you. A lot of people run away from it because they assume it is too difficult and draining.

One of the appreciable things about Pilates exercises is that you can alter them according to your needs. For instance, you can modify the equipment to make the exercise more challenging for you.

However, if you find the Pilates workout to be difficult, it is possible to change the equipment to make the Pilates session easier.

Pilates alone can help you lose weight

Even if you do pilates everyday. you must involve a bit of cardio in your routine if your goal is to lose weight.

While it is true that practising Pilates can prove to be immensely beneficial. However, when it comes to weight loss, it may not be as effective as other cardio exercises.

So if you are aiming to lose 5 Kgs just by doing Pilates, you might want to incline towards an approach that is more realistic. You burn lesser calories in Pilates, it is difficult to shed off weight by solely doing it.

If weight loss is your primary goal, you must combine Pilates with other types of cardiovascular exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, or running. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle also plays a principal role in losing weight.

The truth about Pilates

This form of exercise truly is a bag full of every possible candy you can think of, but you might want to lay off all the candies that relieve your sweet tooth. The role of a balanced diet cannot be stressed enough when trying to get results from it. (or any form of workout for that matter).

It is certainly not the same as yoga and women alone do not benefit from it. It is for men as well. In a session, you do not necessarily require any equipment to perform the workout.

The myth that you should avoid the workouts when you are injured is somewhat true. However, you need to pick a skilled trainer when you are injured so you can perform in a safe environment and acquire efficient Pilates training.

You need not worry about not being too flexible, Pilates exercises, in particular, are designed to increase your flexibility. Even though it is popular for working your core, it is helpful in so many other ways. It improves your strength and works the stabilising muscles of your body.

Never confuse it with a stretching class. A Pilates workout has several benefits. For instance, it improves your posture, makes you more flexible, boosts your stamina level, and reduces stress. Therefore, it is much more than just stretching.

It is neither too easy nor too difficult. The exercises are designed to challenge people who belong to different fitness levels. If done correctly, Pilates can challenge your muscles. There are different workouts to choose from that are designed for anyone and everyone. Be it a first-time practitioner or a Pilates pro, all types of people can benefit from it.

Initially, it is recommended that pilates must be done under a Pilates instructor.


Finally, Pilates can unquestionably help you lose weight. However, it is best to couple it up with other forms of exercise for better and quicker results. A proper nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle are also important factors to keep in mind when you plan on losing weight.

If you are someone who has never attended a session because you bought into the myths out there, unmask the truth about Pilates and get right to your first workout ever. Your body will thank you. What are you waiting for?

If this debunking of myths has piqued your interest and you want to find out more and even start practising it, how about learning from the best instructor that all the celebrities go to?

Online Pilates course by Radhika Karle

Learn Pilates online from the renowned nutritionist and Pilates instructor Radhika Karle. We have online Pilates lessons available here on unluclass where she will impart the correct technique, exercises and ways of optimizing your workout. Check our website for more information on our tailor-made online Pilates classes. Happy learning!

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