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Standing Tall: Exploring Standing Pilates with a Nod to Ron Fletcher’s Legacy

Standing tall, rooted in core strength. Pilates isn’t just a practice, it’s a posture towards life.
Elevate your core, elevate your practice. Standing Pilates: where tradition meets elevation

The Pilates domain is akin to a living tree, continually growing and branching out into new dimensions of practice. One such branch that has extended the core essence of Pilates into an upright dialogue with gravity is Standing Pilates. This modality builds a bridge from the traditional mat work to a vertical exploration, embodying a fresh yet authentic narrative in our Pilates journey. A significant figure who contributed to this narrative and whose work resonates with the essence of Standing Pilates is Ron Fletcher, a revered Pilates Elder known for his inventive yet authentic approach to the method.

The Concept: Standing Pilates transports the six guiding principles of Pilates—Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow—from the mat to standing postures. The gravitational challenge in these upright positions enhances the core engagement, balance, and functional strength, promoting a more holistic integration of the Pilates principles.

Meeting Ron Fletcher:

I had the honor of meeting Ron Fletcher at his studio in Los Angeles and subsequently attending his workshops in San Francisco. Ron was a true gentleman, speaking highly of Alan Herdman, who is credited with introducing Pilates to the UK, and was my first teacher. Ron’s reverence for the tradition and his contemporaries was palpable, enriching our discussions with a blend of respect and curiosity that is vital for the growth of any practice.

Ron Fletcher’s Contributions:

Ron's unique approach to Pilates, marked by the development of the Fletcher Towelwork® and Fletcher Barrework® programmes, resonates with the essence of Standing Pilates. During my time in Los Angeles, I also had the privilege of attending classes at Ron's studio with his adept teachers Diane Severino and Michael Podwal. Their teaching, reflective of Ron’s innovative yet grounded approach, provided a deeper insight into the blend of tradition and creativity that marks the evolution of Pilates.


  1. Improved Posture and Alignment: The transition to standing positions nurtures a greater awareness and maintenance of posture and alignment, essential for efficient body mechanics both within and outside the studio.

  2. Enhanced Balance and Coordination: The balance and coordination required in Standing Pilates are amplified, promoting a harmonious interaction between the body, mind, and the surrounding space.

  3. Functional Strength: Reflecting everyday movements, Standing Pilates fosters functional strength, particularly in the lower extremities and core, making the strength gained applicable to daily life.

  4. Increased Bone Density: As a weight-bearing form, Standing Pilates supports bone health, an important factor in combating conditions like osteoporosis.

  5. Versatility and Inclusivity: Standing Pilates, much like Fletcher’s Towelwork® and Barrework® programmes, offers a versatile practice that can be tailored to different fitness levels, making Pilates more accessible.

  6. Community Enrichment: By integrating Standing Pilates and drawing inspiration from Ron Fletcher’s work, Pilates teachers can foster a richer, more inclusive community experience.

Ron Fletcher’s legacy, embedded in his innovative yet authentic approach, provides a fertile ground from which Standing Pilates can draw inspiration. His understanding of movement, alignment, and the importance of upright postures enriches the narrative of Standing Pilates, offering a deeper layer of exploration for both teachers and practitioners. As we venture into the vertical dimension of Standing Pilates, we carry forward the torch of innovation lit by pioneers like Ron Fletcher, continually evolving the practice while staying rooted in the foundational Pilates principles.

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Jennifer Grumbley
Jennifer Grumbley
Oct 23, 2023

Standing Tall: This week, Pilates Intel included a Pilates Arm Routine. I had encountered these arm movements, but separately, and as an individual exercise, I added them to a mat routine. Once upper back issues, or in my case, osteoporosis, are diagnosed, what is really needed are all those arm exercises, one after the other, to really tackle weak, stiff, upper spines: a timely routine for me to add to all the others! Jennifer

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