Do you remember the first time you heard about Pilates? This form of exercise has been around since at least the 1980s, but many people haven’t heard of it until recently.  Of course, once a person hears about it, they then start to wonder what it is all about.  And that leads to what the heck do all these words mean?

Hey, I get it!  It’s almost like the Pilates teachers are speaking in a foreign language and we need to decipher what it all is!  Don’t worry!  I’ve gotcha covered!

Here are the Common Pilates Terms You Need to Know

Pilates Practices

Classical Pilates: This method of teaching will have you doing the same exercises with a pelvic tilt in the same order, class after class.  The focus with this type of Pilates is quality instead of quantity.

Winsor Pilates: This type of Pilates is based on the more traditional methods, which includes deeper stretches and a focus on breathing.

Reformer: A reformer is a type of apparatus that is used when doing Pilates.  The system is comprised of springs, straps, and pulleys, plus there is a gliding platform that allows you to sit, lay down, kneel, or stand while doing the exercises.  The springs are perfect for resistance training and it helps guide you as you are strengthening and lengthening all of your muscles.

Pilates Movements and Positions

Navel to Spine: This movement will have you bringing your abdominal muscles up and in.  Basically, think of your navel as having a string attached to it that is helping you draw it back towards your spine.

Neutral Spine: You are going to be tempted to push your spine all of the way into the floor when you are laying on your back or even flattening it in other positions.  However, it is important that you keep a neutral spine when doing Pilates exercises most of the time, as it will prevent your muscles from working too hard and getting injured.

Centering: Centering is focusing on the center of your body, both physically and mentally.  This is not as easy as it sounds, so plan on working on this quite a bit in the beginning.  Every Pilates exercise that you do with have you starting in this position, which focuses on your lower ribs and pubic bone.

Power House: This is the area around your torso, which includes your abdomen, your entire pelvic region, your lower back, and your bottom.

Doming Abs: This occurs when you push your abdominal muscles out instead of pulling them in when contracting.

The Ultimate Guide to Pilates Terms Square

Flow: Pilates is all about flow and moving fluidly and gracefully.

Supine: This position has you laying on your back with your head facing the ceiling.

Prone: This position is when you lay face down on the floor.

Concentric: This is the shortening of muscles.

Eccentric: This is the lengthening of muscles.

Extension: This is the straightening out of any limb while using the muscle.

Flexion: This is the bending of any limb while using the muscle.

Hyperextension: This is the stretching of a limb, but taking it past the normal range of motion.

Rotation: Anything that twists around a central axis.

Abduction: This is a contraction of a muscle that happens in the middle of the body.

Adduction: This is a contraction that goes towards the midline.

These are the most common Pilates terms that you will hear when you are taking a class or doing a few of the exercises on your own.  Download this Pilates workout for beginners now and start using these terms right away!  

The Ultimate Guide to Pilates Terms Long