Fuse Pilates for the People (What Makes Us Different)

I’m always puzzled when people are surprised that they’re not taking a “regular Pilates class” when they come to Fuse. We never say we are traditional. In fact, I think we try pretty hard to say we’re not. There have been a lot of questions about what makes Fuse Pilates different from traditional Pilates. The answer? Plenty (but not too much). Let me explain…

There are people who teach what I call “old-school Pilates.” Those people (lovely, well-intentioned, sometimes dogmatic) might hate what we’re doing here at Fuse.  In fact, some of them have told me that I don’t teach “real” Pilates. Groan when I say that we teach our classes to music. Roll their eyes when I say I would never ever start a class with the hundreds. And say a prayer for my soul when I say that Fuse includes some barre style isometric exercises (gasp!). I even got a lecture from a grandmotherly type who clearly wanted to bring me back into the fold as if I were an Amish kid who discovered reality television. These traditionalists think Joseph Pilates had everything figured out at his studio in New York City (1926-1966), and that not a single thing should be altered.

Don’t get me wrong… Joseph Pilates was a visionary – well ahead of his time and quite frankly, ours. If it weren’t for his inventions and his creativity, would there be anything like a reformer out there today? Would people consider using springs as weight? Would something like Fuse even exist?Fuse-Reformer-Tower39-300x199

I unapologetically say that Fuse is inspired by Pilates and we use traditional Pilates apparatus, but if you are looking for a traditional class, you are in the wrong place. Although we know and teach traditional exercises as part of the Fuse method, it is not our focus. We are happy to recommend more traditional studios to you if you are freaked out, offended, shocked, or in any other way nonplussed by exercises that Pilates himself didn’t create.

What we offer here is something different, something that is more fitness-focused, and in my (traditionally-trained) opinion – more fun, less stodgy, and a whole lot more approachable than the “traditional.”  For many Fuse students, including yours truly, this method has resulted in more results faster.Fuse-Mat47-199x300

Granted, there are two main schools of Pilates right now: traditional and contemporary. Traditional (or “classical Pilates”) includes those Pilates Elders trained by Joseph Pilates himself, and many of the people they trained. These teachers are committed to continuing the Pilates legacy by teaching exactly as Pilates himself taught.

Contemporary Pilates takes the traditional exercises and integrates what has been learned about anatomy and exercise science in recent years. Well-known contemporary schools include Stott and BASI. Although they take a more contemporary approach and have some non-traditional exercises, they stay pretty close to the original.

At Fuse, we like to push the envelope and fuel our Pilates with exercises that aren’t from the Pilates catalogue – traditional or contemporary. We feature exercises that come from other disciplines and make them work on a reformer, tower, chair, or on the mat. And, we don’t focus so much on rehab (unless you’re working in a private class – the perfect and proper place for that kind of Pilates).

Our main concern is that an exercise works what you want it to work. You want to work your upper back? We’ll make sure you feel that you got a great upper back workout. We take what we know about the human body and exercise science to develop or include variations that target muscle groups in safe, effective, and challenging ways. And, we cue stability, focus, and breath – fundamentals of traditional Pilates.

One of my mentors called what we do at Fuse “vanity Pilates” – focusing on body sculpting to the degree that every single class is created around students’ requests. I prefer to think Fuse is Pilates for the People. Fuse is for the masses of people who want to work out so that they don’t get injured, so their backs don’t start to hurt in the first place, and YES, so that their butts look perky in their favorite jeans.

Because gravity is real, people! As is boredom! And you have to battle both every day.

What does that mean to Fuse? That means classes that are constantly changing, include exercises you may never have seen or done before, and those moves will be choreographed to music so your workout (although so deep that a student recently said she thought I was working her soul), never ever feels like work. It’s like a dance party for your entire body.

I’ve been told (many times) that the original Pilates repertoire is all you need. I don’t disagree, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you do the same exercises in the same order over and over and over again, you will be so bored that you’ll actually think a walk on a treadmill sounds exciting. And you’ll stop coming to Pilates of any sort. Which is a terrible thing when Pilates – both traditional and not – can be so much fun.

Have you tried both Fuse Pilates and traditional Pilates? What do you think?

Stay hard core,

Mariska

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Posted in Exercise science, Fuse Pilates, History of Pilates, Pilates and tagged , , , ,

All Comments (1)

  1. Clare says:

    My muscles got used to traditional pilates too quickly; without variety, it stopped serving me. About the music: during Joe’s time, exercise science thought music detracted.from the work, but we now have much better evidence to suggest that incorporating music into a workout improves muscle efficiency, heart rate, recovery, and motivation.