Pilates Questions Answered

“Contrology (Pilates) develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.”
-Joseph Pilates

 Joe doing Star on the Universal Reformer

Joe doing Star on the Universal Reformer

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a body strengthening method created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. The program focuses on core postural muscles which support the spine while at the same time working on muscular balance. Pilates is a unique system involving only a few repetitions effective by use of proper muscle coordination in its execution. The Pilates method includes over 500 exercises ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced levels and incorporates use of specifically designed equipment.

Fun Fact: Joe Pilates originally called his method "Contrology!" Read more about it here.

 

Who should do Pilates?

In short: Everyone!

Pilates is helpful for all individuals at all levels of physical fitness because it promotes proper muscle balance leading to an increase in flexibility and strength. Pilates’ main focus is on what Joe Pilates called the "Powerhouse:" the abs, back muscles, and rear, which provide stability for all stages of life. Whether you're an office warrior who needs help sitting up tall, a ballet dancer who needs to stay lifted in an arabesque, or a new parent who could use a little extra strength for carrying your toddler – Pilates can help! A certified Pilates instructor can put together an individual workout that suits your needs, challenges you and promotes continuous improvement.

 

What are the benefits of doing Pilates?

Pilates dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels, and performs. It increases endurance, balance, strength, breathing capacity and flexibility. The goal of Pilates is to create a balanced body that is agile and structurally sound, with a focus on the “powerhouse” or core – the strengthening and stabilization of the spine, abdominals, and pelvis. Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once, in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, Pilates retrains the entire body to work more efficiently, helping you to enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease and less chance of injury.

 

What if I’m injured or have an old injury?

If you have an acute injury, please consult a medical professional. If you are recovering from an injury and have been released from your doctor or physical therapist, Pilates can be helpful. Pilates has been shown to provide many individuals with relief from chronic back pain, shoulder pain, TMJ, and many other ailments. If you are injured you should notify your instructor so that a plan can be created to work towards strength, muscle balance and movement re-education.

Private Sessions, rather than group classes, are the best match for people with injuries or specific body needs.

Pilates is helpful for all individuals at all levels of physical fitness because it promotes proper muscle balance leading to an increase in flexibility and strength. Pilates’ main focus is on the core (the abs, back muscles, and rear) which provide stability for all walks of life – whether you need help sitting up tall in an office setting, or whether you are a ballet dance that needs to stay lifted in an arabesque, or whether you are a new parent that can use a little extra strength for carrying your toddler – Pilates can help! A certified Pilates instructor can put together an individual workout that suits your needs, challenges you and promotes continuous improvement.

Again, please don't practice Pilates if you are currently injured! And please don't expect your Pilates teacher to heal your injury (unless s/he is a doctor or physical therapist). 

 

What should I bring to my first session?

You should dress in comfortable workout clothes that you can move in (i.e. sweats, yoga pants). Usually we practice Pilates barefoot or wearing grippy socks (like Toesox--we carry them at the studio!) Regular socks can be slippery on the equipment. If you wear orthotics, you should bring those as well. If you have recently have been released by a physical therapist, you should bring any exercise plans that you are currently working on. Besides that, all you need is an open mind and joyful spirit!