What is the difference between Pilates and Clinical Pilates?

You’re not alone if you don’t know the difference between the two.

Pilates is a fitness means that was developed by the German physical trainer Joseph Pilates during the First World War. Pilates was developed to aid the rehabilitation of injured soldiers, but quickly became popular firstly among dancers and then socialites. Joe identified the importance of connecting the mind with the body, creating mindful movement, for ongoing health and wellbeing. Concepts incorporated in to his workouts included correct alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing and flowing movement. Joe termed his exercise method ‘Contrology’, with multiple publications being released outlining the benefits of this type of training.


Clinical Pilates has evolved from traditional Pilates, with the input of physiotherapists and evidence-based research, in to a rehabilitation tool for injury management, injury prevention and performance enhancement. Rather than homogenous programs, clients are given specific exercises based on clinical findings as well as client goals and ability. In addition to the well recognised benefits of improved flexility, strength and core activation, Clinical Pilates has been shown to assist in pain management, falls prevention, improving bone strength, increasing coordination and breathing control.  Equipment-based programs, such as the program offered at South Melbourne Physio, enable practitioners to use equipment to challenge or facilitate the neuro-muscular system by adding resistance as well as increasing sensory feedback.

The Clinical Pilates program at South Melbourne Physio is suitable for anybody who wants to get moving or ‘keep moving’ under the guidance of an experienced physiotherapist. Please contact me to discuss how this program may be able to benefit you, and tailor a plan to suit your needs.