Pilates Questions

pilates-matclassIs Pilates right for me?
Pilates is for everyone, from young to old, sedentary to athletic. It is for people who are strong or weak, flexible or inflexible. It is for pregnant women, is great for rehabilitation from injury, and is often recommended by doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors. Pilates can be used as a complete fitness program as well as a supplement to other methods of fitness. It is a tool to educate the body to have better posture and to move in a more effective way.

What is the difference between machine Pilates and mat Pilates ?
In machine Pilates, you will work one-on-one with a certified instructor, who has been trained extensively to design a program and modify the exercises with your specific needs in mind. Your instructor will move you from one piece of equipment to another, choosing from well over 500 exercises, after mutually assessing your specific needs and goals.

In mat Pilates, you will be one of a group of 6-10 people, performing the same exercises, at the same pace. With a mat class, the instructor may only be able to occasionally give you specific instruction, based on your movement, and will direct the group as a whole. We recommend that you only do mat classes if you are without injuries and are relatively fit and pain-free. Since there is no apparatus in a mat class, you will look to your own body to create resistance, an amazing way to connect with and strengthen your core.

How do I begin a Pilates program?
We recommend your first Pilates session be a private lesson. This will introduce you to the Pilates equipment, give you and the instructor an idea of where your body’s strengths and weaknesses lie, and provide the attention needed to formulate your goals. After your private session you will be more comfortable with the principles and philosophy of Pilates, and you and your teacher will decide how you will proceed from there.

How often should I do Pilates?
Two to three times a week is usually best. Like any form of exercise, consistency is key, and it is helpful to not let too much time pass in order to remember the previous lesson and incorporate the information in your body. You will be happy at how you look and feel after just a few weeks. It is also great to combine private lessons with duets and/or mat classes during the course of a week.

What kinds of Pilates instruction can I have?
Since all of our instructors are trained instructors and/or physical and occupational therapists, we take extra care in developing a personal training program to fit your physical needs. Whether you are a high level athlete or recovering from a surgery, we will set up a program that will optimize your results while taking into account any physical limitations.

What should I wear?
Dress comfortably so that your movement is free, but try not to wear clothing that is TOO loose fitting. It is important that the instructor be able to observe your body as you move. You will not wear sneakers but please bring socks.

Can I start with Pilates mat classes?
Yes, you can start with Pilates mat classes, as long as you have a healthy, injury free body. If you have injuries, we recommend that your first lesson be a private one or one of our very small group Intro to Pilates classes. Please call for more details or questions.

Can I do Pilates if I’m pregnant?
See the answer here.

What is a duet?
A duet is a Pilates lesson for two people. It is great for those who like working out with a friend or family member. Because of everyone’s hectic schedules, we require that you find your partner for your duet, so that if one of you needs to cancel, the other is responsible for the lesson. We also recommend that your fitness levels are compatible with each other’s so that you can move at a fairly similar pace. A duet works for people at all levels.

Can I learn Pilates from a video?
While you can learn the choreography of the exercises from a video, it is unlikely that you will be performing them correctly. A certified teacher is there to help guide you through the exercises, focusing on form and breathing techniques.

What is the difference between Pilates and other forms of abdominal training techniques?
Pilates focuses on strengthening the deepest layers of abdominal muscles which form a corset around your torso, while other forms of abdominal training focus only on the superficial layer of abs.

How does Pilates differ from yoga?
Joseph Pilates was inspired by both eastern and western forms while developing his method, so there are many similarities. The breathing is different, and you are asked to pull your stomach in rather than allowing it to fill with breath. In Pilates, we also tend not to hold the postures or positions as long as in yoga.

Why has Pilates become so popular in recent years?
Over the years as the fitness industry has grown and diversified the need for an exercise system that addresses the individual’s needs has surfaced. Unlike mindless repetitive exercise programs, the Pilates method focuses on the inherent weakness existing in every person. By stressing core strength and flexibility, and posture, clients see continuing results; they look better, feel better and are challenged on multiple levels.

What should I look for in a Pilates Instructor?
The quality and duration of training are the most important factors to consider when selecting an instructor or studio for Pilates training. The fact that an instructor is certified doesn’t mean that they have received much in the way of training. Certifications have been available for years with as little as a single weekend’s training, and some of Joseph Pilates’ original protégés sometimes certified instructors with as little as a week of supervised training. The key questions are “how many hours of training did you receive?”, and “who gave you most of your training?”

Another key factor to consider is the instructor’s ability to tailor the Pilates Method to the individual needs of the client. Whether one is seeking general fitness, improvement of a golf game, or remedial rehabilitation, a good Pilates instructor should be able to combine knowledge of anatomy and physiology with the Pilates Method to develop a tailored program that is right for each individual client. Many certified Pilates instructors may be able to show their clients how to perform Pilates exercises, but may lack sufficient training and experience to know how to modify the exercises so that the client receives the most benefit.

Why should I come to Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy of Atlanta?
Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy is a complete Pilates studio, having all of the Pilates equipment. Our instructors are fully trained, enthusiastic and knowledgeable in Pilates as well as post-rehabilitation exercise. We offer a full range of options for Pilates training from private sessions to small group.

What kind of results can I expect to see from doing STOTT PILATES®?
We will develop a program specifically based on the results of your postural analysis, nutritional analysis and goals. Results may be an increase in strength, flexibility, mobility, balance, and body awareness, as well as a decrease in back pain and other general pains. Also, these results may include better posture, increased muscle tone, increase in metabolism, stronger abdominals and glutes.

How long will I have to do the workout before I see results?
The average active person, doing 3 sessions per week should experience some results within 10-12 sessions. This varies depending on each individual – the number of sessions a person takes each week, whether they are private or group classes, and whether they participate in other physical activities. Joseph Pilates said, “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 you’ll see it, and in 30 you’ll have a new body.” We agree.

Can I lose weight just doing Pilates?
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 exercise, and following a balanced diet. Stott Pilates can be a positive addition to your overall weight loss program. Combining Pilates with aerobic exercise also offers additional benefits: greater mind-body connection, improved posture, flexibility and functionality.

Is Pilates good for my golf game?
Pilates helps you hit the ball consistently further and straighter, with reduced risk of injury and back pain. You can use Pilates as a system of exercise techniques for moving in a way that is natural, efficient and pain-free. Has a golf pro ever suggested you make a change in your swing and you just couldn’t do it? No matter how much instruction or how hard you try, if your body does not have optimal biomechanics, you will not be able to execute a great golf swing. Pilates will improve posture, an often overlooked element needed for good rotation. Pilates develops a solid core, strength with flexibility, stability, balance, alignment and posture – all of the body requirements for a great swing. Pilates strengthens the deep muscles that support the spine. This leads to good pelvic stability for straighter drives, more power for distance, and support of the back for reduced pain.

What is all the equipment in Pilates about?
Some Pilates equipment can look like some kind of medieval torture device, which is ironic because it makes you feel so good. The most commonly used pieces are the reformer, the cadillac and the mat, but there are several other small pieces of equipment, too.

The reformer is a rectangular frame with four legs and a cushioned mat or carriage that slides back and forth on wheels with the resistance of springs and pulleys.

The cadillac is a trapeze-like table that’s 26 inches off the floor and has a canopy from which a trapeze, springs and pulleys hang. Because it’s elevated, it’s nice for older people if they have trouble getting down on the floor.

Finally, there’s the mat — the ideal apparatus for Pilates because there’s nothing helping you. It’s only you, your body weight and your alignment making the exercises fluid, controlled and precise.

More about Pilates at Stability

(Don’t see your question? Ask us here!)