Pilates Frequently Asked Questions

STOTT PILATES exercise is ideal for everyone from young adults and aging baby boomers, to post-rehab patients and elite athletes. Pilates, pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates, is a mind-body exercise system to strengthen the weak and challenge the strong. Pilates (1880- 1967) was a German expatriate who first made his mark in England during WWI (World War 1) when he developed a series of exercises and innovative equipment to help prisoners of war regain strength and mobility. Exercises can be performed on a mat or specialized equipment. When Joseph Pilates immigrated to New York, the professional dance community there discovered his conditioning techniques could help prevent injury and improve strength while maintaining long, even muscle tone. Martha Graham and George Balanchine were both students of his, and two of the first celebrities to benefit from doing pilates.

Developed by professionals for professionals, the STOTT PILATES method is an anatomically-based approach to the original exercise method. It is a progression in pilates that incorporates modern exercise science and rehabilitation principles, eliminates contraindicated movements and emphasizes neutral alignment, core stability and peripheral mobility. The STOTT PILATES repertoire consists of more than 500 systematic, mind-body exercises that can be performed on a mat or on specialized equipment pieces.

STOTT PILATES exercise is ideal for everyone from young adults and aging baby boomers, to post-rehab patients and elite athletes.

STOTT PILATES conditioning will help you develop optimal strength, flexibility, endurance and posture without adding bulk or stressing your joints. The perfect compliment to cardiovascular exercise, athletic training or rehabilitation, STOTT PILATES exercises will leave you looking toned, feeling revitalized and moving with ease.

When taught effectively the STOTT PILATES method:

  • Builds core strength and stability
  • Improves posture and alignment
  • Increases flexibility
  • Improves muscular balance and strength
  • Increases endurance and muscular tone
  • Prevents injury
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Relieves stress and back pain
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Heightens body awareness
The average active person, doing 2-3 classes per week should see some results within 10-12 classes. This will vary depending on each individual and things surrounding the number of classes a person takes each week, whether they are private or group classes, whether they participate in other physical activities, and whether they are existing injuries. The question is best answered by one of Joseph Pilate’s favourite quotes from chillier. “It is the mind itself which builds the body”.
Pilates can be a positive addition to your overall weight loss program. Weight loss occurs when the number of calories consumed is less than the number of calories expended. The most successful and healthy way to achieve weight loss is an exercise plan that includes an aerobic component coupled with a strength training component(such as STOTT PILATES) and a balanced diet. Combining pilates with aerobic exercise also offers additional benefits such as greater mind-body connection and improved posture, flexibility and functionality.

Pilates helps strengthen, build and tone muscle mass. “Muscle tissue is partly responsible for the number of calories burned at rest (the basal metabolic rate or BMR). As muscle mass increases, BMR increases, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight.” – American Council on Exercise.

Co-founder Moire Merrithew agrees that while Pilates can aid in losing weight, it’s not as easy or as fast as some would make it seem. “Commercials are effective marketing tools”, she says, “but science does not back up Pilates programs that position themselves as calorie burning systems”. The Pilates method of exercises not aerobic (cardiovascular), which, along with a sensible diet, is necessary for burning fat.

Pilates will help strengthen, build and tone muscle mass. Muscles are metabolically active tissue. “Skeletal muscles are responsible for more than 25 percent of our calorie use. An increase in muscle tissue causes a corresponding increase in our metabolic rate.” (American council on exercise personal trainer manual c 1996) the relationship also works the other way.

A strong healthy muscle will metabolize fat much more effectively than a weak, non fit muscle. Because Pilates strengthens muscles, people who practice it regularly become more effective at metabolizing calories, which had been stored as fat.

Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, pilates workout is gentle and controlled with no sudden jarring action is therefore more important that you work with a qualified instructor to ensure you are doing the movements correctly. An experienced instructor will be able to modify the exercises to accommodate your limitations, continually challenge you within your range and monitor your improvements. If you commit yourself to a consistent workout ached ale you will certainly feel results.

“Having suffered for many years with back problems and having visited Doctors, Hospitals and Physiotherapists it was suggested by a Physiotherapist that Pilates might help with my problem. My problem being a debilitating severe muscle spasm, which occurs when the back muscles support the lower vertebrae, which do not separate as normal. Whilst Pilates doesn’t cure the problem it has lengthened my spine, improved my posture and strengthened my back muscle so that the spasm hardly ever occurs, but more importantly the lessons and exercises learned on realigning and lengthening the back enables me to confidently react to a spasm with exercise, rather than rest and reduce recovery time from what was often weeks to a matter of days.” – Colin Leahy (Managing Director Carlton Freight).

Mat-based workouts are very convenient and they can be done anywhere. However, a mat workout will provide no added resistance. A reformer workout adds resistance to your routine and can correct muscular imbalances better than a mat routine would.
The available information on pregnancy and exercise can be very confusing and conflicting. Stott tries to stay on top of the latest research regarding safety and pregnancy and covers this topic in the ISP (injuries & special populations) segment of our certification.

No two women’s bodies are the same, and this is especially true during pregnancy and not for others. During a normal, healthy pregnancy, moderate exercise is safe for the foetus. Exercise is also said to prevent various veins, haemorrhoids and ease back pain-not to mention boosting self esteem. The guidelines stated by the American council on exercise are not as hard and fast as they used to be.

However, research suggests that no new exercise routine should be started during your first trimester. As ell, you should be careful of over-exerting the abdominal muscles. During the second trimester these muscles become stretched out, and some women experience diastases recti (separation of the abdominal muscles).

With reduced support for the back, you also run the risk of injuring the lower back futher, because of the increased amounts of remained progesterone release the body during pregnancy, the ligaments surrounding the joints become lax, which leaves them loose and vulnerable. For this reason, you should be careful not to overstretch. It is important, though, to continue strengthening and rebalancing muscles around the joint-still trying to centre the body as it goes through many postural changes due to pregnancy.

Today many guidelines for pregnancy indicate that once you reach the second trimester you should not exercise in a supine position (lying on your back) as your may be cutting off oxygen to the foetus even if you yourself are not feeling dizzy). In general we teach that it is better to be safe and not take any chances. In the second trimester we still do some mat work courses but we make sure that the upper torso is raised as it is when using the “spine supporter”. We then alternate the inclined position with sitting, kneeling and standing exercises done on the mat, reformer and Cadillac. A great piece of the equipment for pregnancy is the stability chair, because it facilitates so many exercises in an upright position. Of course drinking lots of water is always important, and be sure not to over-exert yourself. The beauty of this type of work is that it can be individualized for anyone’s ability.

Physically, many people have been known to actually get taller by working out consistently. By emphasizing posture, you learn to stretch your spine through Pilates, and by strengthening the deep abdominals to support the rest of the body you learn to maintain your height effortlessly. The most impressive results are those reported to people who have slouched most of their lives and after a few months of practising Pilates they are able to stand up much straighter, and are therefore measurably taller. Even people having studied dance consistently for years before beginning a Pilate’s program, have noticed an increase in height over time.
  • Pilates is three-dimensional (i.e. exercise can be performed using all movement planes) spring resistance more closely resembles muscular contraction
  • Emphasis on concentric/eccentric contraction for injury prevention
  • STOTT PILATES is customizable for special needs
  • In Pilates exercise, emphasis is placed on rebalancing muscles around the joint
  • Pilates corrects over-training and muscle imbalance that leads to injury
  • Pilates emphasizes balancing strength and flexibility (for injury prevention and more efficient movement)
  • STOTT PILATES leads to improvement in posture and body awareness.
STOTT PILATES is a muscular-skeletal conditioning program. In combination with some kind of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, aerobics, aqua fitness, etc), it’s all you need. For people who reach advanced levels, they can actually elevate their heart rate with STOTT PILATES power workouts
People are becoming increasingly more interested in fitness modalities that help relieve stress. They’re also much more interested in prevention and taking care of their bodies. They want to stay fit and look good for as long as possible.

Pilates is complementary to many ways of working out. It’s excellent for an aging population. Its mind-body aspect is even said to be useful in preventing stress-related illnesses, like heart disease.

Many celebrities choose pilates because not only does it improve their physical appearance, it also helps with their stamina, stress relief and focus. Pilates is invigorating and helps people feel de-stressed. For celebrities, on whom the outer world places a spotlight, pilates allows them to “get away from it all” by internalizing and connecting the mind to the body.

Karen Kain, former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, was one of STOTT PILATES co-founder Moira Merrithew’s first clients. “Within the first week I could see a difference,” says Ms. Kain, “not only in my strength and flexibility, but in how much better my back felt.”

Sharon Stone credits pilates with her return to health. Working out on a STOTT PILATES reformer while filming in Ontario, she described pilates as “a centered, healthful, strengthening and balanced workout.”

To achieve an aerobic or cardiovascular benefit you have to sustain a duration of 15-60 minutes of continuous exercise (e.g. run, swim, bike). A typical pilates class does not challenge the cardiovascular system enough to elevate the heart rate to the prescribed level. The muscle toning and strengthening benefits of pilates are the perfect complement to such fat-burning activities as power walking, swimming or cycling. Essentially, the body awareness and improved self-image you’ll gain with pilates will probably do more to help you win the battle of the bulge than crash dieting and obsessive exercising will.
For a long time, pilates was taught one-on-one, almost exclusively. Today the options are greater: you can work with a personal trainer, attend group classes or even work out at home with videos. STOTT PILATES has the world’s largest library of pilates home exercise videos, with more than 70 titles in its At Home and Professional series. The collection offers workout options for every skill level and ability, from beginners to fitness instructors. Look for our complete line of videos and DVDs at major retailers across North America or order online at www.Stottpilates.com.
No form of exercise is appropriate for everyone, but STOTT PILATES exercise is appropriate for most people. As with any exercise method, you should always consult with a medical expert before beginning an exercise regime. A modified program may be recommended if you have any physical limitations.
Despite its slow, careful movements, pilates is not for wimps! Pro athletes like Eddie Belfour and Martina Navratilova benefit from using STOTT PILATES equipment and instruction. The STOTT PILATES method places importance on core stability and rebalancing the muscles making them work more efficiently. This helps prevent injury and improves athletic ability.
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