Classical Pilates Myths That Stifle Us

Classical Pilates Myths That Stifle Us

I was hesitant to try Pilates on Classical equipment because of the myths swirling around and the overall intimidation of the cold steel and aluminum frames. Despite being a studio owner and Balanced Body certified, I remained leery. Not until I hit a wall teaching and being a cheerleader to my choreographed sessions did I take the leap to explore the Classical world. Learn more about  Contrology Authorized Demo Centers

Myth 1. Classical equipment and springs are too strong & heavy for me.

The springs look so rugged I assumed they were best left to serious athletes. I was wrong! The springs don’t feel heavier /stronger to me than others; just different. I immediately used my center more and was forced to work evenly on the way out and the way in. The spring design is so different it will change the way you move. The dimensions of each apparatus are also original to Joe’s designs and place the body in an impactful position for full bodywork. The difference is miraculous and changed everything about my practice.

Myth 2. Classical Pilates is one-size-fits-all with no modifications.

I often hear that because Classical Pilates does not alter Joe’s original exercises or use modifications, it is too restrictive or difficult for the beginner. This is completely contrary to the truth. The true genius of Joe’s system is his collection of inventions and repertoire of 500+ exercises.

The mat and reformer have a specific sequence that intelligently builds one exercise to the next to prepare the body for the challenges yet to come. I have recently learned an important distinction from my teacher, Jay Grimes, that everyone was given the same initial ~8-10 exercises on the reformer or mat. Not until those were executed without hesitation could you get to your next several exercises. Joe chose those specifically for each student based on the body in front of him. He was able to correct and balance the body while making each student feel special.

Today, Joe’s tailored approach is inspirational in the mass class model I see everywhere. Personalization is the ultimate modification! Not everyone did every exercise on every apparatus, which is an important distinction. If the exercise isn’t appropriate for you, don’t do it because there is one that will make you stronger or more centered until you can. That’s the beauty of studying the work he spent 80 years developing.

Myth 3. The same order of exercises day in and day out is BORING!

That’s where the magic happens! You don’t have to anticipate the subsequent exercise or watch the instructor demonstrate. Once you learn the basic order, you can work deeper, find your center, engage the muscles that should be working and relax the ones that aren’t involved in each exercise. Jay recently shared, “Often, it’s about finding the right muscles to do the work, not just strength.” I love this because it is so fundamental but the actual challenge.

Myth 4. Pilates is great for the abs, but it’s not cardio!

Classical Pilates makes you sweat! Have you heard, “If you aren’t sweating, you aren’t doing it right!”? SO TRUE! Joe designed the order of mat and reformer to be full-body exercises flowing with transitions. There are specific transitions that become exercises in themselves and keep you moving! Try using the spring tension to open and close them smoothly, taking your box on and off efficiently, eliminating any fidgeting before each exercise, and FLOW. Finding the rhythm is half the fun!

I love teaching and the growth in being a forever student. I’m hooked on all things Classical! I am happy to answer any questions if you are curious about transitioning to Classical equipment or work at For the mat exercises with transitions, follow me on Instagram @cid_ford.


Crush the myths around Classical Pilates, including that the equipment is too strong, it’s repetitive and boring, it’s not cardio, and there are no modifications. Open your world to something new!


Cid Ford Feltenstein BS Bio, Balanced Body Certified, PMA, The Method graduate work Vintage Pilates, CPT, FNS, HC, RYT200. Cid supports clients through the winning combination of intelligent lifestyle and nutritional choices with a strong foundation of Classical Pilates. She is fortunate to have Jay Grimes and Sandy Shimoda as her mentors in The Method ; additional work with Ana Caban, Daniela Escobar, and Ken Krech. Cid works with clients online and in her private studio in South Florida. @cid_ford



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