Originally created by Joseph Pilates for dancers to prevent back injuries, Pilates is a form of exercise that specifically works to improve joint strength and stability throughout the trunk of the body.


An excellent form of activity, Pilates has been known to help those suffering with lower and upper back/neck problems, shoulder instability, and hip and knee instability. It's designed to strengthen and lengthen the trunk giving greater power from the core and helps create greater stability in the spine. The activities are slow, controlled, but still highly challenging and can be progressed and regressed to suit everyone.


Pilates is the perfect workout for anyone of any age, any fitness level and any ability. We welcome beginners who want to start building a great foundation, to the elite athletes that want to work on key areas of strength. The activity uses many different apparatus and these can even be adjusted to suit clients with any medical conditions or ailments.


Pilates classes run every Wednesday from our dedicated training studio in Rawtenstall and will run for one hour. If you'd like to take part be sure to book yourself on early as we only have space for 18 participants per class. You can book your Pilates class via the booking link below, or by giving us a call direct. 


Running Time: 18:00 - 19:00

Price: £5.00 Per Class

Understanding Pilates



Pilates is a series of precise, controlled exercises developed by Joseph Pilates, as a way of overcoming his own physical shortcomings. Joseph suffered with Asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets in childhood and used his methods to restore his own health. He studied anatomy books and reinforced what he learned by observing animals in the woods. “Take a horse,” he later said in discussing body conditioning, “If a man wants to race him, he keeps him in top form. He makes the horse move. Why not keep humans in top form too?” Joseph studied Eastern disciplines, like yoga and martial arts, and blended them with more Western forms of physical activities, such as bodybuilding, gymnastics, boxing and recreational sports; even incorporating ancient Greek and Roman forms of fitness practices. By the age of fourteen he had sculpted his physique to such an extent that he was posing for anatomical charts. When Britain entered World War I, Joseph was living in England and had been teaching his fitness training regime to the police and Scotland Yard. His German citizenship sadly led to his imprisonment along with other German nationals as “enemy aliens.” Despite the unfortunate circumstances, this was a fundamental time in the development of his method. Photojournalist I.C. Rapoport, who interviewed Joseph in 1961, documents that Joseph said he observed animals in the camp stretching and incorporated this into the foundation of his matwork. During his imprisonment Joseph taught his exercises to fellow compatriots, and later he acted as a nurse-physiotherapist of sorts. One of the greatest examples of the immense benefits of practicing Joseph Pilates’ holistic approach to health is the outbreak of a terrible influenza in 1918. The 1918 influenza epidemic decimated populations all over the world; areas of close co-habitations of people, such as internment camps, were especially hard hit. However, all those who followed Joseph’s routine survived due to their good health. Joseph Pilates emigrated to the US in the 1920s and opened a studio in New York, where his method quickly became popular among the dance community. He continued to develop and advance the Pilates method until his death in 1967 at age 87.


Why Tracey chose Pilates.

After several severe horse-riding injuries (C5 fracture, coccyx fracture), two caesarean sections and numerous episodes of back/neck pain I was hospitalised in 2006 when my back finally gave up. I was carted off on a stretcher (In my underwear!!!!) after being unable to get up from the bathroom floor. I stayed in hospital unable to move for over a week but the hospital had an outbreak of MRSA so I had to be discharged into a wheelchair. I spent the next 6 months moving from my bed to a Zimmer frame and eventually onto crutches and attended Physiotherapy twice per week. I felt useless, fed up and wondered what life held for me if this was my state of health at my age. I was in awful pain, with sciatic pain travelling down to my heal. I could not sleep and had to rely upon pain killers to get me through. I had always been a fitness instructor and I loved running but my previous injuries and surgery had left my core weak and my posture poor.

I trained as a Sports Therapist and achieved an MSc in 2012. This has helped me to understand the best way to avoid further back pain is by strengthening and stabilising the joints and improving posture and alignment. Pilates has given me the tools to help both myself and others to reduce their back pain, posture, muscular balance, increase functionality and flexibility whilst having the added benefit of creating a flatter tummy!!


What does it do?

Pilates uses movements which aim to stabilise, strengthen and align the body. By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely in tune with your body. You actually learn how to control its movement.

In Pilates the quality of movement is valued over quantity of repetitions. Proper breathing is essential, and helps you execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Last but not least, learning to breathe properly can reduce stress.


What are the benefits?

Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured. Pilates exercises develop a strong “core,” or centre of the body. The core consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.

In order to function effectively we require both static and dynamic balance. Coordination is a complex skill and requires good balance alongside strength and agility. Coordination allows for smooth and efficient movement patterns to complete a task.

Balance impairments and muscular weakness are the highest risk factors for falls. Falls are a huge problem in the over 65 age group. Falls and fractures in people aged 65 and over account for over 4 million hospital bed days each year in England and account for over 18,000 unscheduled admissions and 390,500 bed days each year in Scotland.  Falls have a hugely detrimental effect on confidence. After a fall, an older person has a 50% probability of having their mobility seriously impaired.

It has been shown that a tailored exercise programmes can reduce falls by as much as 54%, specifically exercises that challenge balance and improve strength through resistance training and exercise in a standing position.  Research has shown that individuals may benefit from Pilates-based exercises that are integrated into traditional resistance and balance training programs. Pilates exercise specifically increase trunk muscular strength and it is the improvements with core strength and control which allow for enhanced static and dynamic balance control.


Who is it good for?

Pilates is used in the NHS to rehabilitate all kinds of joint injuries, anyone who has suffered with low back pain, neck pain, joint pain will benefit from the postural alignment gained from Pilates. It is a great way of strengthening the core and ensuring postural alignment.

Balance and coordination are some of the main components which are important for success in sport. Sports that require good balance control include skiing, gymnastics, dance, running, golf, netball, basketball, surfing plus many others. If we can increase our core strength and control, we can create better distal force production which would be hugely beneficial in sports such as cricket, boxing, golf, hockey etc.

After pregnancy and childbirth, it is really useful to strengthen the pelvic floor and avoid stress incontinence.

Anyone who wishes to strengthen the abdominal wall and create a longer and flatter outline will love Pilates too!


Why do we need it?

In our day to day life we spend a lot of time sitting. When sitting we tend to slouch which causes the spinal muscles to lengthen and become weak. This also allows the pelvis to tilt backwards which places more stress through the low back. We also hunch forward with the shoulders which creates length and weakness through the top of the back and neck and tightness through the chest. If our body is not properly aligned and balanced, we put ourselves at an increased risk of injury.


Why is it different to other types of fitness training?

A lot of conventional workouts tend to work the same muscles. This leads to weak muscles getting weaker and strong muscles getting stronger. The result is muscular imbalance – a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain.

Pilates conditions the whole body, even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease, better performance and less chance of injury. That’s why so many professional sports teams and elite athletes now use Pilates as a critical part of their training regimen.


What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?

Both types of activity improve balance and focus upon breathing but Yoga focuses on flexibility, strength and spirituality using flowing movements. Pilates aims to use flowing movements and control of breathing to stabilise and strengthen the core of the body.


Will I be able to do a class?


YES!!!!! After completing a health screening questionnaire to ensure you are fit to exercise, we will ensure you have options to enable you to start to build your core strength, balance, flexibility, and muscular balance. Everyone is different so we will tailor the activity where necessary to suit.