Armature within the wide world of Pilates

An armature is an internal framework – the skeleton of an object, so to speak. Armatures are most commonly used in sculptural practice to create the base structure of a sculpture.

At Armature, we teach clients how to bring their skeleton and joints into the most optimal alignment for ease of movement and pain-free daily activities.

We do this through exercises based on both the Pilates method and current research on human biomechanics and physiology. Essentially, we teach evidence-based Pilates. This uses the principles of the scientific method – hypothesis, test, retest – combined with Pilates principles and functional movement training – to find the ideal exercise prescription for individual postural conditions, pain and injuries. This is based on current industry research – so our ways of teaching and programming are constantly evolving.

Originally, Pilates was started by German exercise fiend Joseph Hubertus Pilates. Born in 1880, he was a sickly child and spent his young adult years learning everything from tai chi and yoga to boxing and martial arts in an attempt to become as healthy as possible. He also spent much time watching the movement patterns of babies and animals and these observations influenced his manifestos about how a human body should ideally operate. Check out his ideas in his readily-available books – Return to Life through Contrology and Your Health.

Early prototypes of his spring-loaded equipment started in England when he was working in a WWI military hospital. Being a resourceful and creative chap, he used simple bed springs to create resistance training for wheelchair-bound patients to maintain muscle tone and strength.

He later went to New York and with his American wife, a nurse named Clara, established a studio in Manhattan. They trained athletes, gymnasts and dancers in what became the method of Contrology. Pilates developed different pieces of equipment – the reformer, the Cadillac, the wunda-chair – to help with the execution of Contrology which called for, among other things, control, precision, flow and breath.

Current research in human and exercise physiology disputes many of Pilates original ideas, but there’s no arguing that he was a man ahead of his time. His radical thinking and supreme desire for health and fitness put him in a league of his own and his traditional exercise method lives on today.

Along with classical Pilates, there are also many contemporary schools that take Pilates’ principles and combine them with modern science to optimize the benefits of the technique. Pilates is now used just as much for exercise rehabiliation as it is for strength and conditioning. These days, it is so ubiquitous that you’ll find it across all aspects of the fitness continuum. When taught and performed correctly, it is just as effective for increasing the range of movement of a frozen shoulder as it is for improving the performance of an elite athlete.

People are always asking us “what is Pilates?” That’s a complicated question. But to keep it simple…Pilates is moving better in all aspects of life and maximizing the human armature to feel supple, strong and healthy, whether you’re an Olympian or an exercise novice.

“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 you’ll see the difference, and in 30 you’ll have a new body.” Joseph Pilates.