Classes & Programs


For over 19 years, Belleville Health and Sports Center have offered Pilates, an alternative to typical strength training regimes. Traditionally strength-training methods like free weights and Nautilus machines isolate muscle groups. Pilates, however, works to develop control and balance in the body by utilizing a broader group of muscles and proper execution of each exercise.

Micki Classen, former director of Belleville Health and Sports Center and avid Pilates user, finds Pilates more relaxing and a better stress reducer than other forms of exercise. She says you must leave your everyday problems at the door and focus on what you’re doing. Exercises are designed to stretch and strengthen muscles. Pilates works layers of muscles and lengthens and elongates muscles instead of bulking them. Classen, states that Pilates is “all about control”. Using all the muscle groups together, focusing on the exercises and concentrating on posture, more grace, and a firmer, toned body.

Belleville Health and Sports Center utilizes Pilates Allegro Reformers and Towers for the classes. The machines consist of springs and straps that act as pulleys and exercises are done in many positions to achieve results. Proper positioning and concentrating is stressed throughout the exercise. The exercises are completed in a smooth and flowing manner. Though Pilates may look easy, Classen stresses it is harder than it appears. She stated that she is still challenged by the exercises.

Though Pilates may be a new idea to some, it originated over 75 years ago. Joseph Pilates suffered from rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever. He worked to overcome these afflictions by studying Yoga, Zen meditation, and various forms of exercise. Combining these practices, he developed a fitness routine that incorporated physical fitness, breath control, and concentration.

Belleville Health and Sports Center currently have eight Pilates machines. After the introductory session, instructors start to add to the basic moves, making them more complex. Participants begin working with Pilates once a week and eventually exercise two or three times each week.

Mary Lou Tyrell, a BHSC member, first heard about Pilates through fitness magazines. Since beginning the exercises, Tyrell says she has noticed amazing results, including more flexibility and a stronger back. Classen says she will be a lifetime user of Pilates because it makes her “feel strong” and looks forward to exercising. She believes Pilates will be a lasting fitness trend because it is “friendly”; the risk of injury is minimal if the exercises are done properly, and the exercise produces dramatic results. She also feels that people will stay fit at all levels of their life when using the Pilates method.

Our Reformers Pilates Gym is located at the Belleville Health and Sports Center, in Belleville, Illinois.

All participants must begin at the Introduction class level. Classes are offered approximately every 10-12 weeks. If you are interested in signing up for Introduction to Pilates, please notify the Front Desk.

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Monday - Thursday: 5am - 9:00pm

Friday: 5am - 6pm

Saturday - Sunday: 7am - 3pm

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