Pilates Styles

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He was a sickly child, plagued with rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever and was continuously taunted by children bigger than him. His drive to overcome these ailments led him to explore and practice many different sports like bodybuilding, gymnastics, diving and many other physical pursuits.

During World War 1, Joseph Pilates assisted many war victims, aiding in their rehabilitation.  Some Pilates Machines, look as though they have been fashioned around the frame of a hospital bed. After World War 1, Joseph Pilates met and married his wife Clara and they set up their first studio in New York in 1926, which attracted a diverse population, including socialites, circus performers, gymnasts and athletes.

During his lifetime, this method of exercise was called Contrology and it was only after his death that it became known as the Pilates Method. The heart of this founding style was muscle control along with strengthening the mind and body. This style also used a variety of equipment and emphasized alignment, developing a strong core, improving coordination, balance and breathing.  Classical Pilates refers to the original methodology set forth by Joseph  Pilates.

There are many different styles of Pilates which can leave potential students and future Pilates teachers puzzled over which style is best. Pilates exercises can display some differences in terms of how the exercises are executed. Styles can vary from teacher to teacher.

Some styles of Pilates are explained below:


We quite often see Pilates classes that are fusion based, using some of the elements of Pilates but incorporating other movement techniques and methods. This means that they have moved away from the true methodology of Pilates and can become more like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on an unstable surface. By the same token, classes will vary tremendously at various studios. Classical Pilates is essentially Pilates in the truest, most authentic form as Joseph Pilates had intended and Classical Teachers go through a rigorous training program.


Fletcher Pilates stems from the teachings of Ron Fletcher, a master instructor and first-generation teacher. This refers to those who studied directly under Joseph Pilates. His style is similar to the classical teachings, infused with movement and dance that stem from his background as a dancer. 


Winsor Pilates was started by Mari Winsor, a dancer who studied under a first-generation teacher, Roman Kryzanowska. While this method shares many aspects of Classical Pilates, it differs in its’ focus on maintaining continuous movement. It means using transitions that ensure the body is always in motion, which increases the cardiovascular benefits and the burning of calories. 


Stott Pilates was developed by Lindsay and Moira Merrithew with the help of fitness professionals such as physical therapists. The biggest difference between this and the original method is that Stott Pilates focuses on maintaining the natural curve of the spine while the original method focuses on maintains a straight spine. 

There are many different styles and the ones mentioned above are only a few. It is important to note that Pilates needs to be practical and must include preparatory exercises and modifications that can assist people – with various physical issues – to train. Although styles may vary from teacher to teacher, it is important to ensure that Pilates Teachers have a qualification that is based on rigorous training, proper form, progressions/regressions, knowledge of all apparatus, critical thinking, anatomy and safety.   

Like any other exercises, if Pilates it is not done correctly or under the guidance of a well-qualified and observant instructor, it can cause injuries.

Training at Pilates Dynamics is done within strict protocols and measures to ensure that our trainers are properly prepared for the Pilates international world.  We are committed to upholding the standard of Classical Pilates, as opposed to other programs with a more contemporary approach to the original method.  We are of the belief that the original method continues to be very effective, safe, and endlessly adaptive to our clients’ ever-changing needs. We are dedicated to preserving the legacy of Joseph Pilates, and at the same time we are also equally dedicated to teaching our trainers and instructors proper mechanics, anatomy and physiology. This is where Classical training meets contemporary learning.

If you would like to find out more about our studio and our style of teaching, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 072 999 2229 or email us on info@pilatesdynamics.co.za  

You can also take a tour of our studio on our website which is: www.pilatesdynamics.co.za