Earn your lean legs and six-pack abs the same way Madonna and Patrick Swayze got theirs.. In Short Dancers, professional athletes and others use Pilates to increase strength, flexibility and concentration. The Pilates Method, as it was developed by Joseph Pilates, requires quite a bit of specialized equipment, which eerily resembles torture devices and hospital beds. Have no fear, though. This is not a pain-equals-gain philosophy. Pilates developed his machines and methods while rehabilitating bed-ridden soldiers. You'll learn how to progress at your speed as you work with trainers.