The Core Principles of Pilates

Core principles of pilates

Pilates is a comprehensive exercise system that uses isolated muscle movement to create and maintain strength, correct muscular alignment, core muscle control, spinal mobility, postural strength, flexibility, and resilience. Pilates exercises are now widely regarded as a leading exercise protocol for injury prevention.

Pilates was created by German athlete Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Inspired by a series of different exercise disciplines, including gymnastics, yoga, dance, martial arts and body building, Joseph Pilates sought to develop the optimum exercise regime for physical health, vitality, strength and well being. In collaboration with leading dance and physical exercise experts, Joseph Pilate’s techniques were refined in New York city in the 1960s.

Pilates is taught in various forms in the present day. Fundamentally there are two main approaches: Mat Pilates - in which exercises are performed using body weight and small pieces of studio equipment as necessary - and Reformer Pilates, which takes place on a Pilates machine with weighted, dynamic extensions.

Many physiotherapists are now trained in the principles of Pilates, and a Pilates routine is often prescribed to clients as part of the rehabilitation process.

Wayne Gordon, Pilates instructor, professional athlete and TV Gladiator talks us through the correct positioning for Pilates exercises and about setting the core and pelvic floor muscles. This instruction provides the foundation for performing further Pilates exercises.

Pilates Neutral Position

Before you begin to perform Pilates exercises, you will need to learn how to set the position of the pelvis. This is done laying on the back with the knees bent and feet flat. Start by rocking the pelvis to help understand the movements in the lumbar spine.


Wayne demonstrates how to rock the pelvis back and forth through its full range of motion and then find the neutral position. This is the position in which you will operate for all of the supine lying exercises in this series.