“Contrology” Pilates


What is Contrology?

Contrology is a synonym with Pilates. In other words, Pilates exercise was originally named “Contrology”. That’s right, Mr Joseph Pilates, whom the exercise Pilates is named after called his style of fitness Contrology. However, the general public regarded it as just Pilates, “Contrology” or “Pilates” has evolved into a contemporary method…

Why did Pilates name Contrology his exercise?

Mr Pilates’s exercise was based on the following principles: Breathing, Control, Concentration, Coordination, Precision, Fluidity. Therefore, no movement is jerky, fast or uncontrolled. As you practice Pilates you become aware of every part of your body and control each part in synchrony with the breathing patterns. For instance, you become aware of your abdominal muscles, your head placement, your legs, front, your back, and your shoulder placement. Then, you are able to control these body parts as you execute the exercises with precision.

How do you do “Contrology”?

Joseph Pilates wrote: “The attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind and the ability to perform life’s daily activities with zest and ease”

Concentration and control are at the heart of Pilates exercise. Nevertheless, many factors influence how you are able to connect all body parts. Your emotions, your psychological state and your ability to concentrate influence how you execute movement. For instance, erratic states of the mind, the inability to concentrate on the tasks in hand can strongly influence how you feel. Consequently, your feelings affect how you execute your exercises and how you perform in many of your daily activities.

Thus, a calm, focused, able-to-concentrate state of mind and able to control movement is quintessential to Pilates exercise. Consequently, Pilates is mindful movement. For instance, if  your mind is going through your grocery list whilst practicing Pilates, or chatting away, you are unlikely to achieve mastering complex movement. Accordingly, you will miss out on all of the above principles and therefore unable to reap the benefits of Pilates exercise.

How has “Contrology” evolved?

Initially, Pilates exercise was sought by dancers, gymnasts, boxers and athletes alike. Given the fact that Mr Pilates’ first studio was a boxing gym near many dance studios in New York City, many dancers frequented his place. Eventually, he was discovered by Hollywood celebrities and the socialites. However, Contrology Pilates is no longer a workout for the elites and celebrities, but a widely practiced mainstream form of exercise.

Since Mr Pilates’ death in  October of 1967 new scientific information about the body, biomechanics, kinesiology and sports science has emerged. Much of this evidence-based information has been incorporated into Pilates by some educational institutions, such as STOTT PILATES®. Whilst preserving the original exercises, contemporary Pilates has evolved  by making Pilates exercise an anatomically based approach. As a result, contemporary Pilates has become one of the safest and most effective exercise methods available.

Is Contemporary Pilates better?

Firstly, lets state that any exercise is better than NO exercise!
Mr Joseph Pilates was 50 years ahead of his time and that is why his exercises have survived. Most people would agree that if Mr Pilates was alive today he would, no doubt, continue to be ahead of his time and evolve as he did then during his lifetime. Stagnation in any discipline tends to have poor desired outcomes. As time moves on, new data, new information, new research arrises.

Without a doubt, by incorporating evidence-based research in sports science and rehabilitation into Pilates, not only our knowledge increased but we have greatly progressed.
Contemporary Pilates has made it possible for Pilates to make it into the mainstream of exercise and rehabilitation programmes. By the same token, contemporary Pilates continues to incorporate new evidence- based knowledge and scientifically proven, accepted practices.
For this reason, we believe that a contemporary method that is current new information in sports medicine and accepted practices in exercise science should be preferable.

What Pilates should I look for?

Look for a quality instruction regardless of the method. There are come great purist classical Pilates instructors and there are bad ones. Similarly, there are good contemporary Pilates instructors and there are bad ones.
Firstly, you should find an instructor that is fully qualified. In addition, your instructor should be well versed in anatomy and physiology, understand why they are doing what they are doing without inaccurate or mystic information.

All Pilates instructors are exercise providers, therefore they have a duty to speak the same language as any other exercise educator.  Anatomy and physiology should be part of their vocabulary. Phrases such as “Use your stomach, or your powerhouse” are not really anatomically correct terms that should be avoided to prevent confusion. Instead, terms such as “Transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, obliques, adductors, gluteus”  should be best used during a session in order to increase our anatomical knowledge. In addition, your instructor would be willing to educate you and inform you of how the body actually works biomechanically.

Core Kensington  offers Top quality Pilates classes and Personal Training sessions with fully qualified, great instructors. Our instructors are STOTT PILATES® trained and have most have qualifications in special populations and injury rehabilitation.
We are located at 375 Kensington High Street.

or contact us on 02078541934

Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor” Joseph Pilates

Blog written by Carlo Yanez
Registered Osteopath B.A.(Hons.), B.Ost.(Hons)
Fully certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor
Contrology Pilates