What exactly is Pilates? Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition the total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without bulking up. Pilates is functional, working several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core (the abdomen, back and pelvic girdle region, sometimes referred to as the “powerhouse”).
The focus is on quality of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted after a session. Pilates takes a balanced approach so that no muscle group is overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sport and daily activity. Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat or on specialized equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac, Ladder Barrel, Wunda Chair and other small apparatus, like the foam roller, magic circle, etc.
Can anyone do Pilates? Pilates is beneficial for people of all ages, fitness levels and body conditions. The method is like a bridge between physical fitness and physical therapy, and can be adapted, modified and customized for individual needs. Some advanced moves and sequences will challenge the most elite athlete and yet others are manageable for even the frailest physique.
What should I wear to my sessions? Pilates is performed either in socks or barefeet. Clients should wear comfortable clothing that isn’t too baggy. This allows the instructor to see your alignment and better correct your form.
How long are classes? All sessions and classes are 55 minutes in length.
How often do I need to do Pilates to see results? We recommend Pilates be practiced 2-3 times per week in order to see results.
When will I notice results? A famous quote by Joseph Pilates states: “In 10 classes you will feel the difference, In 20 classes you will see the difference, and in 30 classes you will have a whole new body.” It is also important to maintain a proper diet and engage in other activities such as cardio.
If I am new to the studio, do I have to complete a first time introduction? No, but we strongly encourage it. The introduction session allows a new client to work one on one with an instructor and discuss their goals and needs. If a client has injuries or chronic pain it is important to understand modifications and the fundamental principles of the method before joining a class.
What is the difference between matwork and equipment work? Both matwork and equipment work follow the same fundamental principles. In matwork, your main resistance is the weight of your own body and supporting that weight while performing a wide variety of exercises. When working with equipment you will work against the weight of springs for resistance and stability. The equipment helps assist people to accomplish some of the exercises, therefore, many people will find that matwork is more challenging. The equipment is most beneficial with clients that might experience chronic back pain or have other physical limitations. If a client is physically capable of doing both matwork and equipment it is recommended that both systems are used for maximum results.
Do I need an appointment to attend classes or can I drop in? A client needs to make an appointment for all Private sessions and Equipment classes (preferrably 24 hours before class time) due to limited space. Matwork and barre/mat classes are drop in but is strongly suggested that clients sign up for these classes to ensure their spot. You can use our online scheduler to sign up for classes in real time.
What should I look for in a Pilates instructor? Your Pilates instructor should be certified through a comprehensive Pilates training program, one comprised of at least 300-500 hours of lectures, observation, practice, hands-on apprenticing plus a written and practical examination. This level of training is especially important if you are going to be working out on any of the specialized Pilates equipment – some courses only cover mat exercises while others educate trainers in the full range of apparatus.
Find out if your instructor is educated in handling clients with specific injuries or body conditions that might warrant a modified approach.
A professional Pilates instructor should keep up with the latest developments in exercise science, choreography, small prop usage and more through continuing education workshops. Any background or teaching experience in other movement disciplines such as dance, aerobics or yoga is also a plus.
A professional instructor should make good use of visual, verbal and tactile cueing to ensure students are exercising with proper form and technique. Whether you are working out in a group setting or one-on-one personal training, make sure your Pilates instructor is confident, knowledgeable, responsive and personable so you can have a safe and effective experience.
All of our instructors at Body in Motion meet and exceed the above mentioned criteria.
What sets apart Body in Motion’s instructors? All of our instructors are highly trained professional teachers who have invested years studying the technique. Most of our instructors holds a minimum of two Pilates certifications through nationally recognized, reputable organizations. They learn over 500 exercises for both the mat and Pilates equipment as well as the philosophy and theory behind each movement.
They spend considerable time observing and mastering proper form and sequences, and apprentice to fine tune their teaching skills prior to taking a rigorous written and practical exam.
They learn more than just a series of moves, they learn how to assess their students’ posture, how to adapt exercises for various body conditions, and how to customize the optimum Pilates program for each individual.
What are the benefits of Pilates? With regular committed Pilates workouts you can expect to:
- Improve strength, flexibility and balance
- Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk
- Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core
- Engage the mind and enhance body awareness
- Condition efficient patterns of movement making the body less prone to injury
- Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy through deep stretching
- Restore postural alignment
- Create a stronger, more flexible spine
- Promote recovery from strain or injury
- Increase joint range of motion
- Improve circulation
- Heighten neuromuscular coordination
- Offer relief from back pain and joint stress
- Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury
- Enhance mobility, agility and stamina
- Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity
- Improve the way your body looks and feels
Can I do Pilates if I am pregnant? There is a lot of debate on the subject of Pilates and pregnancy and exercise in general. Generally speaking, moderate exercise is safe throughout a normal, healthy pregnancy and many gentle Pilates exercises are appropriate. However, keep the following cautions in mind. As a rule of thumb, doctors recommend not starting a brand new exercise regimen in the first trimester.
- Do not over-exert the abdominal muscles to avoid diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles).
- Take care of you lower back, which can be strained with the weight of the fetus.
- Be cautious with exercises that require you to lie on your back. The American Council of Obstetrics and Gynecology advises women in the second trimester of pregnancy against doing any exercises that require this position as it can compromise the vascular system of both the mother and fetus.
- Do not over-stretch, as relaxin and progesterone levels increase during pregnancy causing the ligaments around the joints to become lax, loose and vulnerable.
- Be aware that your center of gravity and therefore your sense of balance has changed.
That being said, many gentle stretching and strengthening Pilates exercises can be very beneficial for a woman’s body and mind during pregnancy. Some mat exercises can be adapted from a supine (back lying) to a sitting position, and use of a Spine Supporter / C-shaper can help. Other exercises for the mat, Reformer and Cadillac / Trapeze Table can be performed in a kneeling or standing position. The Wunda Chair can be a useful piece of Pilates apparatus during pregnancy as well, as many moves are performed in while sitting upright.