pilates 101 and benefits
Image: Courtesy of Frame

Everything You Need to Know About Pilates, According to an Seasoned Expert

From Frame co-founder, Melissa Bentivoglio.

You, me, and everyone else has tried a trending workout or two in the past. We’ve done yoga, HIIT training, maybe even a little kickboxing — but the way I ran to a Pilates class when Lori Harvey said her abs were made on the reformer was world record setting. Unsurprisingly, I loved every minute of it. The way the reformer can target muscles you didn’t even know you had and give you the ability to build foundation strength is actually kind of mind-blowing. Being a Pilates newbie, I had a few burning questions. How was Pilates invented? Why does it have the ability to give you major muscle gains and stretch you out at the same time. I decided to interview one of the founders of the coolest new Pilates reformer, Frame, to tell me a little bit more about the exercise I love so much. Melissa Bentivoglio is a classically trained ballet dancer and a renowned Pilates and fitness instructor. who credits her dedication to Pilates as having changed her life after years of elite level performance. In 2018, she designed her own proprietary Reformer for use in her own studio and from there, went on to invent Frame.

Frame is the first major Pilates innovation in over 100 years, giving Pilates a long overdue reboot to kick your workout into high gear. This high tech reformer digitally connects to a streaming platform where users can take pilates classes for every level. They’ve even replaced those ‘blue’, ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ tough-to-add springs Pilates aficionados know and “love” with resistance for you in just one click. The sleek design can fit under the bed and be stored vertically. We’re obsessed with Frame and how they’re introducing a new approach to Pilates and shaking up the fitness game with full-body, low-impact workouts that meet high-tech functionality and design. Keep reading to learn more about Pilates from one of Frame’s co-founders, Melissa Bentivoglio.

Everything You Need to Know About Pilates, According to an Expert

How was Pilates invented?

Pilates was invented by Joseph Pilates in 1920 for the same purpose that led me to Pilates: rehabilitation. Some of the earliest pioneers in modern dance were also treated with Pilates, including Martha Graham and George Balanchine. My journey began when, as a dancer, I injured my hip and took to Pilates for rehabilitation. Pilates offers a natural progression not only for people recovering from injury, but to prevent injury and maintain daily exercise as well.

Why has it become so popular?

Pilates has seen an uptick in popularity recently as people are embracing low impact fitness. Mentions of Pilates from celebrities have also drawn attention to Pilates including Hailey Bieber, Kerry Washington and Kate Hudson. Pilates offers many different levels for people whether it’s their first time on the reformer or mat or they’ve been practicing for years. This makes Pilates not only accessible for the beginner, but keeps the Pilates veteran coming back for a challenge.

What in the practice of Pilates allows for the building of the foundation of muscle and an overall great workout?

Pilates activates deep muscles that are not easily activated through other types of exercise such as running or HIIT classes. Pilates focuses on engaging through the “Powerhouse”, from the ribs all the way to your hip line including the low back, abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hip and glutes. Pilates movement prompts the activation of deep intrinsic muscles and stabilizers, the pelvic floor muscles, obliques, inner thigh muscles … the list goes on and on.

What are the health benefits of Pilates?

Pilates is often associated with both strengthening and lengthening due to its range of exercises  and focus on alignment. Pilates exercises often focus on increasing flexibility, increasing muscle strength, aiming to prevent injury, improving posture and increasing body awareness. Personally, in addition to all these benefits, Pilates offers time for myself where I’m able to focus on the mind body connection and step into my day with, hopefully, reduced stress and a clear mind, feeling ready to take on the day.

Do you prefer to use the reformer or not at all?

Pilates is very versatile. Reformers provide an additional challenge and full body workout which is what made me fall in love with it and led to the creation of Frame Fitness. Through creating Frame Fitness, I wanted to be able to provide people with the opportunity to get high quality Pilates workouts from home with a reformer that was thoughtfully designed. We were able to bring to the market a reformer that is sleek, can fit in a compact space and offers a variety of workouts at the users’ fingertips. Pilates has so much to offer from more traditionally formatted classes, to boot camp style classes as well as Prenatal exercises. Frame Fitness is able to offer this wide variety of on and off-reformer classes and fit a variety of needs to meet people where they’re at.

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