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Pilates on YouTube™

How to Find the Best Pilates Videos on YouTube™

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Updated January 25, 2013

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It makes sense to search for Pilates on YouTube™. The videos are free and there is a seemingly infinite selection. In fact, you can find some of the best Pilates videos on YouTube™. There are tutorials and inspiring demonstrations. There is historical footage of Joseph Pilates teaching and performing exercises as well as videos of various Pilates Elders and skilled contemporary teachers. Plus all kinds of Pilates and fitness tips.

YouTube™ is also a source of a tremendous amount of questionable Pilates: Pilates exercises demonstrated with bad technique, a wide variety of imbalanced Pilates workouts, and a scary number of videos titled "Pilates for This or That" that have no basis in Pilates at all.

The project then for those searching for Pilates on YouTube™ becomes a. How do you know, especially if you are a Pilates beginner, what a good Pilates video is? b. How do you find the best Pilates on YouTube™?

My hope here is to help you find the better Pilates on YouTube™. We can't really name all the great videos or the bad, they are changing all the time anyway, but we can get some tips in place so that you will know what to look for.

How to Find the Best Pilates Videos on YouTube™

1) Be as Specific as You Can
Providing that you know something of what you are after, the better way to search is to type in a very specific phrase. For example, Pilates exercises for beginners, Pilates mat exercises, or Pilates workouts for pregnancy. I also got better results searching for specific Pilates exercises.

You can define your search in other ways as well. One of my favorite specific searches is for Joseph Pilates. This will get you on track to viewing some of the archival Pilates videos, which are very interesting. Similarly, searching the names of specific teachers such as those you are familiar with through reading about them or seeing them on Pilates DVDs is a good way to start.

One of the worst ways to search for Pilates videos on YouTube™ is to type in the word Pilates by itself. What typically comes up are the most highly marketed Pilates videos, not the best. These are often videos made by celebrity fitness folk who have very little actual Pilates training or by amateur teachers hired to promote fitness conglomerate sites. This search will also bring you to videos that get a lot of views, but many of those views are due to the hype and flashy personality of the presenter rather than quality content. The bottom line is, if it looks like a dog and pony show, it probably is -- and that's not what you are really after in Pilates. Please see:
What is Pilates?
Getting in Shape with Pilates

Additionally videos that claim to address the interests of pop culture such as flat abs, better buns, or workouts to "feel the burn" tend to come up high in a YouTube™ Pilates search. Pilates can in fact give you flatter abs, a better butt, toned inner thighs and so forth; and you can find quality workouts with terms like that in the title. However, if those goals are presented outside of a greater fitness scenario that includes attention to technique, an intent toward balanced musculature, and safety precautions it is unlikely that you are getting the best of Pilates.

2) The Best Pilates Videos Reflect Pilates Principles and Benefits
There are certain basics that you should expect to see in a Pilates video. These include the qualities of movement known as the Pilates Principles: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. They also include attention to communicating good technique. Pilates is not just a set of exercises. It is all about how you do them from the inside, so a good teacher is going to communicate that. Sometimes that makes beginner videos seem a little slow, but it is worth it in the end.
Free E-course Essential Pilates in 7 Days

Even if you don't know Pilates well, you are probably looking for Pilates videos because you are inspired by certain benefits you associate with Pilates. It might be strength and flexibility without bulk. It might be balanced muscle development. It might be graceful, efficient movement. The best videos will clearly show you those things.
Learn more about the benefits of Pilates

Let me give you an example of what I mean: I searched YouTube™ for Pilates ab exercises. When I did, I rejected several videos immediately because it was clear from the what I saw that the person demonstrating, while trim, had a thick middle and was in the process of making it thicker by letting their abs poof out everytime they did a forward flexion move such as a chest lift (like a crunch but better). They didn't understand proper Pilates technique of using the deep abdominal muscles. Will you get flat abs doing what they do? No.

You can see things like that even if you don't know Pilates well. Ask yourself, Is this person demonstrating a way of moving I really want to emulate? Do not be deceived by teachers who happen to be trim. That is not all there is to Pilates, even if it can help you lose weight.
Benefits of Pilates
What is a Pilates Body?
Pilates Technique

3) Search for the YouTube™ Channels of Known Teachers
I have to be honest with you, dear reader. I found it tricky business to find good Pilates on YouTube™, though it is there. By far the best way to go about it is to seek out the channels of Pilates teachers and companies you have confidence in from other venues. If you have Pilates DVDs you like, look for videos by those instructors. If you have read articles by or interviews with Pilates experts, seek out their videos. If you know the names of Pilates Elders, second generation, or well thought of contemporary teachers look for them.

YouTube™ can be a support resource for Pilates, but I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I think it is one of the riskiest ways to learn Pilates. Remember, no one looking out for you on YouTube™. Anyone can post and call their video whatever they want to.
Top Ways to Learn Pilates
Pilates Info for Beginners
Pilates Exercise Instructions

Please see links below to Pilates videos and video recommendations

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