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Pilates in, Zumba out!

What the f-ck. You're still going to that Zumba class. I suppose you still drive a non EV car? Dumbass.


Pilates: Bent back into fashion

Why Pilates is making a comeback


By Michelle Cheng, Quartz Media

Oct 11, 2023


In 2015, a New York Magazine article argued that Pilates had failed to stand out from the growing crowd of boutique fitness classes—CrossFit, rowing, cycling, HIIT, barre, yoga—going so far as to label its fall as “Pilatespocalypse.” Critics told the writer that part of the problem was with Pilates itself—it’s too quiet, too antisocial, and too critical—and, with traditional Pilates in particular, doesn’t produce enough sweat.


But the Pilates downturn may be over. Club Pilates, the biggest Pilates studio in the US, has grown rapidly from 150 studios in 2016 to over 800 globally. Google Trends data shows that search queries for “Pilates” are at an all-time high, and the gap between searches for Pilates and HIIT or Zumba is wider than ever. The exercise has also inspired a slew of Pilates-type workout studios, such as Solidcore and Lagree Fitness, which focuses more on strength training. How has Pilates elevated itself to be more than just a fad, compared to—dare we say it?—Zumba?


Let’s glide on through this email to find out.


By the digits


$4,400: Price of a classical studio reformer, which is a Pilates machine equipped with springs, a sliding carriage, ropes, and pulleys


$30 to $60: Typical price of a small group class using Pilates equipment and personally tailored exercises


$60 to $150: Price of a private Pilates session


~500: Hours of training needed to be a certified Pilates instructor


$5,000: Starting price of a comprehensive Pilates training program


45 minutes to 1 hour: Typical length of a Pilates class


200+: Pilates influencers on Instagram, according to the Pilates Education Institute


Explain it like I’m 5!


How does Pilates work?


One misconception about Pilates is that it will help you build stronger muscles or carve out a six-pack. But that’s not exactly true; it’s more that Pilates is really good at helping someone who is already very physically fit maintain a strong body.


According to the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), a nonprofit professional organization, Pilates is a “method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body.” The Pilates method, according to PMA, is a systematic practice of specific exercises that come with focused breathing exercises; the method is suitable on its own but also pairs well with professional sports training and physical rehabilitation.


In mat Pilates, which came before the method’s equipment was developed, founder Joseph Pilates developed a system where you start with your back on the mat since (it’s easier that way), then progress from lying to seated to standing. “Reformer” Pilates uses machines and springs to provide a more dynamic session. Classes may involve a range of furniture-resembling apparatuses invented by Joseph Pilates that bear cool-ish names like the Reformer and Wunda Chair.


Studies show that Pilates can improve abdominal endurance and hamstring flexibility as well as reduce body pain.




What’s driving the Pilates comeback?


Pilates has become more accessible. Studios have adapted a more contemporary practice that is not focused on a systemic order of moves as in classical Pilates, and there’s more of a focus on meeting you where you are, Abby Phelps, a Chicago-based Club Pilates franchise owner, told Quartz. Those changes appeal to a wider group of people. Studios have also been moving from private sessions to group-based classes—which also widens access since classes become cheaper. On-demand workout apps like MindBody and ClassPass, where you can pop into a class last minute, help too.


Katie Santos, a Pilates consultant, told Quartz that physical therapists refer their clients to Pilates. Athletes such as LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Andy Murray swear by it. NBA pro basketball team the Miami Heat has its own Pilates instructor. That’s pretty hip for a has-been fitness fad.


All the demand though has led to concerns about the quality of classes and finding enough teachers. Training for Pilates is both costly and time-consuming since it can take a whole year to be fully certified, said Santos. Of the 60 studios she consults with, a quarter of the studios tell her they could double the number of instructors, she said.



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