The Real Pilates Standards of Training are distinguished by our focus on 4 key elements. Your weekly assignments are designed to develop your skill in each of these areas as well as your Anatomy, History and more.


Anatomy Course Overview:

Each week, you will watch and/or read some anatomy material. The videos will be hosted on our Vimeo account (PW:  rpttanatomy). As you watch, make notes/definitions for the Key Concepts listed (this can be flash cards, handwritten notes, a spreadsheet, whatever works for you). You can submit these to us for review, but that is optional. Then, you’ll hop over to canvas to answer that weeks’ discussion question. The first half of the course is designed to give you an overview of anatomy. We want to give you a general orientation of the terms, concepts and ideas that you’ll need to delve into the cases that will make up the second half of the course. In the second half, you’ll get some background material on a condition commonly seen in Pilates clientele, a list of muscles to learn, and will be asked to design a program for a potential client with that condition.  

This Week: WATCH Anatomical Terms Video Below.

    Key Concepts    

         - Standard Anatomical Position

An upright standing position with the legs together and arms by the sides with the palms facing forward. This is the position that the relational terms reference: i.e. even if the person is in a headstand, the head is still superior to the feet.

         - Prone vs Supine vs Lateral

Prone: lying face down

- Aspects:

Anterior - Front surface/view of the body (the side with your face and belly button)

Posterior - Back view of the body (the side with your butt)

Lateral - Side view

- Reference/relational terms:

Superficial vs Deep - towards the skin vs towards the internal organs

Superior vs Inferior - towards the head vs towards the feet

Lateral vs Medial - towards the sides vs towards the midline 

Proximal vs Distal - closer to the heart vs further from the heart

         - Planes

Sagittal - divides the body down the center into left and right halves. Movement in the sagittal plane involves forward and backward movements like flexion and extension.

Coronal - divides the body into front and back sections. Movement in the coronal or frontal plane are lateral movements

Axial - divides the body into superior and inferior halves. Movement in the axial plane are horizontal movements like twisting or horizontal movement of the limbs


  • What do you notice about Anatomical Position? Is there anything in Pilates that resembles this?

Setup for Chest Expansion, the “out” position of Footwork I, the beginning of the Roll Up, etc. Many of the “setup” positions for Pilates exercises mimic Anatomical position.

  • The Midline of the body is an effective verbal cue. What other phrases do you think describe this anatomical location?

Center line, towards the middle, towards the heart, hug the legs together  

  • In Pilates, we initiate all moves from the Powerhouse. What is the benefit of working in this way or what we describe as Proximal to Distal?

Set up and initiate from the strongest and most stable position. Teach the client to use this in all movement in their everyday life.

  • Describe which planes of movement each of these three exercises demonstrate. Explain your reasoning.

  1. Side Kicks on Mat

Front/back: sagittal.

Up/down: coronal

Circles: saggital and coronal

  1. Swan on Barrel


  1. Saw on Mat

Transverse (twisting) and sagittal (flexion/leaning forward)