Pilates - What, Why, Who and How
Everything you wanted to know about the Pilates exercise system and why Pilates exercise is ideal for everyone from young adults, active aging and prenatal clients to rehab patients and elite athletes.
What is Pilates?
Pilates, pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates, is a mind-body exercise system designed to optimize physical fitness in people at every level of physical ability. Pilates (1880-1967) was a German expatriate who first made his mark in England during WWI by developing a series of exercises and innovative equipment to help prisoners of war regain strength and mobility. When Joseph Pilates immigrated to New York, the local professional dance community discovered that his conditioning technique, called ‘Contrology’ helped prevent injury and improve strength while maintaining long, even muscle tone.
Why is Pilates one of the fastest growing methods of exercise?
People are increasingly interested in fitness modalities that help relieve stress and are kinder and gentler to the body, as well as the prevention of injuries with exercise programs that can be continued even as they age. People want to stay fit and functional, and to continue to look good for as long as possible. Pilates is an excellent choice for individuals of all ages and fitness levels who have a variety of fitness goals. Pilates is complementary to many traditional fitness routines and the mind-body connection can be useful in preventing stressrelated illnesses like heart disease.
Can anyone do Pilates?
No form of exercise is appropriate for absolutely everyone, but Pilates exercise system is appropriate for most people. As with any training program, always consult with a medical professional before beginning. A modified program created by a well-trained Instructor may be recommended if you have any physical limitations. Everyone from serious fitness enthusiasts to rehab patients, elite athletes, and older clients will see a difference.
What is the difference between STOTT PILATES and other Pilates techniques?
STOTT PILATES incorporates modern exercise principles, including contemporary thinking on spinal rehabilitation, fascial integration, muscle conditioning and athletic performance enhancement. For example, some approaches may promote a flat back, whereas STOTT PILATES exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints. There is a strong emphasis on scapular stabilization, lumbo-pelvic placement and postural alignment, and optimal muscle activation. The repertoire of Matwork and equipment-based exercises contains a full range of preparations and modifications that caters to many different body types and abilities. The STOTT PILATES method focuses on functional fitness, making it applicable to everyday life.
What is the STOTT PILATES Method?
STOTT PILATES is a contemporary approach to the original exercise method pioneered by Joseph Pilates. Co-founders Lindsay G. Merrithew and Moira Merrithew, along with a team of physical therapists, sports medicine and fitness professionals, have spent three decades refining the STOTT PILATES method of exercise and equipment. This resulted in the inclusion of modern principles of exercise science, fascial fitness and spinal rehabilitation, making it one of the safest and most effective methods available. This clear and detailed approach forms the basis for STOTT PILATES training and Certification programs. STOTT PILATES is used by rehab, post-rehab and prenatal clients, athletes, celebrities and everyone in between. STOTT PILATES exercises help both men and women of all ages develop optimal strength, flexibility, endurance and posture, without building bulk or stressing joints. The perfect complement to cardiovascular exercise, athletic training or rehabilitation, STOTT PILATES can help you tone your body, feel revitalized, and move with ease.
What are the benefits of PILATES?
- Builds core strength and stability
- Improves posture and alignment
- Increases flexibility, balance and coordination
- Improves muscular balance and strength
- Increases muscular endurance and tone
- Prevents injury and heightens body awareness
- Enhances athletic performance
- Relieves stress and back pain
How does PILATES differ from traditional weight training?
- STOTT PILATES is three-dimensional, meaning exercises are performed in all movement planes
- Spring resistance on specially-designed equipment more closely resembles muscular contraction
- Emphasis is on concentric and eccentric contraction for injury prevention
- STOTT PILATES exercise is customizable for special needs
- Emphasis is placed on rebalancing muscles around the joints, correcting over-training and muscle imbalances that lead to injury
- STOTT PILATES emphasizes improving strength and flexibility for more efficient movement patterns
- STOTT PILATES exercise leads to an improvement in posture and body awareness
- Weight training and STOTT PILATES can be combined in a fitness program and are a great complement to each other
Should Pilates replace my regular workout?
STOTT PILATES exercise is a musculo-skeletal conditioning program that focuses on strength and stability. STOTT PILATES is ideal in combination with some kind of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, aerobics or aqua fitness, and is a great complement to a weight training program or athletic training. Pilates can and should be done as part of a complete fitness routine.
Can Pilates help me lose weight?
If so, how much? 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 element, such as STOTT PILATES exercise, and following a balanced diet. Combining Pilates with cardiovascular exercise also offers additional benefits: greater mindbody connection, improved posture, flexibility and functionality.
I have a bad back.
Will I be able to do Pilates? Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, a Pilates workout is gentle and controlled with a focus on core strength and stability. It is also important, however, that you work with a qualified Instructor to ensure you are doing the exercises correctly and avoiding movements that may not be recommended for your condition. An experienced Instructor is able to modify the exercises to accommodate your limitations, continually challenge you within your ability, and monitor your improvements. Progress may be slow, but a consistent workout schedule with appropriately chosen exercises with attention and focus will ensure you see results.
Is STOTT PILATES like Yoga?
In some respects Pilates is like yoga. Both are considered mind-body methods of movement; both emphasize deep breathing and smooth movements that encourage the mind-body connection. The difference is that while yoga requires moving from one static posture to the next, Pilates flows through a series of movements that are more dynamic, systematic and anatomically-based often incorporating resistance equipment. The goal with STOTT PILATES exercise is to strengthen the postural muscles while achieving optimal functional fitness.
Why do celebrities do Pilates?
Many celebrities choose Pilates because it improves physical appearance, stamina, stress relief, and focus. Pilates is an all-in-one system that provides strength training, core conditioning, muscle rebalancing and improved mind-body focus. Celebrity Pilates enthusiasts include: Emma Watson, Cheryl Tiegs, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres, Kate Hudson, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Sting, Rob Morrow, Martha Stewart, Cameron Diaz, Amanda Seyfried, Rod Stewart and Jennifer Aniston.
Is it true athletes do Pilates?
Despite its slow, careful movements, Pilates is not for wimps! Many pro athletes have discovered the benefit of Pilates exercises, such as NBA stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, professional golfer Tiger Woods, MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, and entire teams such as the NBA’s Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards, MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers and the NFL’s Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers have all realized the advantage of incorporating STOTT PILATES equipment and instruction in training. STOTT PILATES can help athletes gain a different perspective on how their bodies function and perform. The STOTT PILATES method places importance on core stability targeting the deepest layer of muscles. These smaller muscles help stabilize and protect the joints which, in turn, helps prevent injury when the larger muscle groups are recruited for improved athletic performance. There is also a focus on rebalancing the muscles of the entire body making them work more efficiently.