Skip to main content

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is suitable for everyone – the fit and healthy, the injured, the young and the old.

Joseph Pilates founded Pilates over 100 years ago. He was one of the first to explain imbalance theories within the body & developed his own exercise regime to improve the performance of dancers and gymnasts. His legacy lives on. Pilates continues to evolve and benefit thousands of people every day.

Matwork Pilates consists of 34 original mat based Pilates exercises. They are designed to correct muscle imbalance by promoting core stability, flexibility, postural and body awareness and endurance. Pilates is a gentle but physical workout that will teach you how to become fully aware of your body, your posture, and your movement patterns. It will improve your strength and muscle tone, and leave you feeling relaxed with a sense of wellbeing. Routine in Pilates will allow you to recognize incorrect movement patterns, isolate them, and correct them. This makes the discipline invaluable for injury prevention as well as for rehabilitation.

"Can't praise Jo enough. Since starting classes at the clinic my range of movement has increased dramatically. The classes are fun and Jo does everything humanly possible to accommodate any difficulties you have."

Dave Schofield

APPI Modified Pilates

The Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (APPI) is firmly established as a world leader in Pilates training. It was founded by Physiotherapists in 1999 in response to the demand for rehabilitation based Pilates. Whether it be for neck or lower back pain, stroke rehabilitation or recovery post-surgery, a great deal of Physiotherapy rehabilitation focuses upon the importance of a balanced, aligned body, with appropriate muscle control. Based on up-to-date research on pain, pathology and function, APPI modified the traditional 34 Pilates exercises making them ideal for rehabilitation and for the more sedentary lifestyle of today.

The APPI specalise in certifying Physiotherapists or equivalent degree specialists; you can therefore be confident that your therapist will only provide safe and effective Pilates sessions tailored to your individual needs.

"All exercises are explained or demonstrated and easy to follow. Impressed that it’s spotted and individually supported if not completed correctly. Easy therefore to learn and achieve maximum gain."

Sue Bolderson

Pilates & Back Pain

“Pilates is considered to be one of the best forms of exercise for improving back pain and posture... because participants are taught how to target the core muscles and stabilize the spine”.

It is advocated in the medical world that Physiotherapists trained in Pilates have a vital role in the delivery of safe and effective Pilates to people with back pain. While orthopaedic and spinal surgeons frequently recommend Pilates for back pain and after injury, they also highlight the fact that if the exercise program is not tailored to an individual’s needs or taught correctly according to their back diagnosis, problems can occur.

Your Physiotherapist’s knowledge of pain, pathology and function, the three cornerstones of the APPI method, is advanced. This means we have a real understanding of anatomy and any strengths and weaknesses you may have. Our classes at Pilates Clinic Retford are small; with a maximum of 12 participants we allow for ongoing supervision and correction as required. This makes us ideal for using Pilates to rehabilitate the spine in addition to a number of other injuries, illnesses and medical conditions.

"very welcoming and understanding manner. I am confident in the level of exercise I am taking part in (and) feel as I am treated as an individual at all times. You are making good changes in people’s lives."


Pilates during Pregnancy

“Pregnancy is the perfect time to get in touch with your body and there’s no better way to do so than with a mind/body workout such as Pilates or yoga. Such classes aim to improve posture through stretching and strengthening exercises which should help to reduce pregnancy aches and pains....Pilates is particularly good for strengthening the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles....the deep breathing and relaxation techniques are essential tools to help you de-stress and will be invaluable during labour” NCT

Pilates during pregnancy is recommended by the NCT, both as a form of exercise and for back pain during pregnancy. The NCT is the UKs leading charity for parents and provides invaluable information and support during pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

Post-natal Pilates

Pilates during the post-natal period is an ideal form of exercise. It not only provides all the benefits already mentioned, but it will also help to rehabilitate and repair your body after all the stress placed upon it during pregnancy. Pilates will hasten your recovery after the birth of your baby, facilitating your body’s ability to cope with the new demands of early motherhood. It can rehabilitate your pelvic floor muscles, aid overstretched muscles regain strength and tone, realign your joints and posture correctly, and provide a very welcome form of relaxation.

Provided there were no complications during your pregnancy and birth, Physiotherapy-led Pilates can be started as soon as you are medically fit; in most circumstances it is recommended pelvic floor exercises are commenced immediately following the birth. Following a caesarean section, re-strengthening you abdominal muscles is imperative and a gentle form of Pilates can be started as soon as you are medically fit and feel able to do so.

Dependent upon the severity, Pilates can be modified for conditions such as symphysis pubis dysfunction, pelvic joint pain and diastasis. This will require 1:1 sessions to begin with.

"Angela varies activities each week so there is always something new to interest us. Lessons are well planned."


Pilates for Neurological Conditions

Jo Pritchard, Principal Physiotherapist at Pilates Clinic Retford, lectures on Pilates for Neurology across the UK. You will therefore know that Jo and her team will constantly be up-to-date with recent research, that the Pilates you receive will be tailored to your individual needs, and that you will gain the maximum benefit from your classes or private sessions.

Multiple Sclerosis:

Pilates is a popular form of exercise for people with Multiple Sclerosis, and many current research papers advocate it as a form of rehabilitation to improve posture, strength, flexibility, pain, quality of life, and fatigue. Our Neurological Rehabilitation Pilates classes are predominantly for people with MS, and a report proving the benefits of our classes was presented at the Neurological Physiotherapy (ACPIN) International conference in 2018, and the 2018 MS Trust UK conference. Following these presentations, Jo was asked by the MS Trust in February 2019 to video her Neurological Rehabilitation Pilates Classes for their national website. These classes are now avaliable for all to view for free.

To read the report click below.


To view Jo’s Neuro Classes, click below.

MS Trust Pilates Classes online

The MS Trust submitted our class for the Bristish Medial Association (BMA) Patient Information Awards - it was longlisted for the 2021 final, reaching the top 10 out of over 260 applications from healthcare professionals and charities across the UK!


Pilates is an ideal form of exercise for many post-stroke patients. It is especially effective for balance re-education in addition to re-training specific muscle groups. It is also a perfect way to return to exercise in the community instead of the hospital, socialise with others and increase your confidence. Recent research studies have started to prove that Pilates can help improve walking, balance and quality of life in chronic stroke patients. One of these studies can be read below


Parkinsons Disease:

The core exercise regimes for people with Parkinson’s Disease work on balance, postural awareness, correction of poor posture, and the control of movement. Modified Pilates focuses on all these aspects, as well co-ordination, flexibility, muscle strength and concentration. It is perfect for the body and for the mind, even helping you sleep better at night. Exercise is as important as medication for all stages of Parkinson’s Disease, and Pilates fits into all 3 stages – at diagnosis to compliment your higher intensity and more vigorous exercise, at the maintenance stage to keep you active, and at the complex stage to keep you flexible and functioning independently.

Jo Pritchard was invited to speak about Pilates for Parkinson’s Disease at the Parkinson’s UK Exercise Hub’s annual study days, conferences and online workshops in 2018, 2022 & 2023. Delegates included some of the UK’s most renowned experts in Parkinson’s Disease. For further information on the Parkinson’s Disease Exercise Framework, please follow this link:


Other Neurological Conditions:

Pilates can be beneficial for many other Neurological conditions. Please contact us at the clinic for more information.