Classical vs Contemporary Pilates

At Maiden Lane Studios, we teach Pilates contemporary Pilates, with the same adherence to precision and quality that Joseph Pilates originally envisioned. Although all bodies are different and can benefit from either school of thought, we believe a contemporary form of Pilates is more in line with modern scientific knowledge of the body and innovative by allowing for more creative movements and sequencing. At MLS, you’ll never get the same Pilates routine twice or hit a plateau as our program evolves with current research.

Pilates was originally developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates began teaching his Pilates method, or what he termed “Contrology,” when he moved from Germany to New York with his wife, Clara. He devised a specific system, technique, and order of exercises.

Classical Pilates

Classical Pilates mirrors strictly to Joseph Pilate’s original work, including the exercises and the order in which they are performed. Another key feature of classical Pilates is the position of the pelvis. Classical Pilates teaches abdominal exercises in a “posterior tilt” (for example, when laying on one’s back, the lower spine is completely pressed into the floor), creating a tuck in the pelvis.

Contemporary Pilates

Contemporary Pilates is based upon the original work of Joseph Pilates, but has been adapted to today’s research about the body, biomechanics, and the field of rehabilitation. Contemporary Pilates is generally taught in “neutral pelvis” (when laying on one’s back the lower spine will have some space between the back and the floor, and the hip points and the pubic bone will all be in one plane).

Although many of the exercises are similar to classical Pilates, a contemporary repertoire allows for additional exercises, variations, and more influence from the rehabilitative field. Performing exercises in neutral pelvis also helps alleviate everyday stress from sitting at desks and in cars and builds strength in the supporting muscles of the spine. Pilates was originally created at a time when most of the general population worked in labor rather than offices. A contemporary take on Pilates takes a more current and functional approach on how we use our bodies everyday.