Below are some of the more common questions about Pilates that I encounter. If you have a question I have not answered, please feel free to email me. In most instances, you should receive either a complete answer or an acknowledgment that I am researching your question within 24 hours.
Q: What is the difference between the Classical Pilates, Balanced Body Pilates, Stott Pilates® Method and other Pilates techniques?
A: When Pilates lost its trademark, many instructors starting developing their own Pilates Certification Methods. They changed the names of the exercises, changed the equipment. Most certification centers will say they “updated” his methodology, making modifications to make the method safer and more effective.
I like to tell people if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Joe was ahead of his time, and his method is perfect.
Q: Is Pilates like Yoga?
A: Pilates combines both Western and Eastern mind-body philosophy, both working in complete harmony with one another. Yoga (Eastern philosophy) creates a path to calmness, being centered within yourself, requiring moving from one static posture to the next without repetitions. The Western philosophy emphasizes movement, muscle strength and toning of one's muscles. Pilates combines both of these methods by using deep breaths and smooth, long movements that encourage your muscles to lengthen and strengthen. This is performed through a series of movements that are more dynamic, and systematic.
Q: Is Pilates considered a cardio workout?
A: Yes and No. When clients move into the intermediate/advanced level of the workout, Pilates does become cardio. In the beginning the client will experience muscle fatigue and slight heart rate elevation, but not high enough levels to experience a cardio workout. I encourage my clients to do Pilates in addition to cardio exercise.
Q: How Pilates different or better than weight training or other resistance exercise?
A: Pilates is performed using all directional movement planes
The springs used during resistance more closely resembles muscular contraction
Emphasis on concentric/eccentric contraction for injury prevention
Pilates can be tailored for special needs
In Pilates exercise, emphasis is placed on rebalancing/strengthing muscles around the joints
Pilates corrects over-training and muscle imbalance that leads to injury
Pilates emphasizes balancing strength with flexibility (for injury prevention and more efficient movement)
Pilates improves posture and body awareness.
Q: Will I grow taller?
A: 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 by people who have slouched most of their lives and after a few months of practicing Pilates they are able to stand up much straighter, and are therefore measurably taller.
Q: What kind of results can I expect to see from doing Pilates?
A: You can expect an increase in flexibility, flatter and stronger abdominal muscles, long lean muscles, better balance, and body awareness, as well as a decrease in back pain or any other general pains.
Q: How long will I have to do the workout before I see results?
A: Joseph Pilates said “you will feel a difference in 10 sessions, you will see a difference in 20, and have a completely new body by 30 sessions." An 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 such as the number of classes a person takes each week, and whether they participate in other physical activities, and if they have any existing injuries.
Q: I have a bad back. Will I be able to do Pilates?
A: Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, Pilates is gentle and controlled movements. It is therefore more important that you work with a qualified instructor to ensure that you are doing the movements correctly. An experienced instructor will be able to break down the exercises to accommodate your limitations, continually challenge you within your range and monitor your improvements. If you commit yourself to a consistent workout schedule you will certainly feel results.
Q: Will I get the same results with a mat workout as with a Reformer/equipment workout?
A: The Mat is the heart and soul of Pilates. Joseph Pilates developed the exercises on the mat and then they moved to the apparatus. Mat-based workouts are very convenient and they can be done anywhere. Using the other apparatus will add resistance to your session, thus helping in muscular imbalances.
Q: If I'm doing Pilates, should I still do my regular workout?
A: I encourage my clients to combine Pilates with some kind of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, aerobics, aqua fitness, etc.). Clients who reach advanced levels, can actually elevate their heart during their sessions.
Q: Is it safe to do Pilates during pregnancy?
A: No two women's bodies or pregnancies are the same. There are workouts that are quite appropriate for some people during pregnancy and not for others. During a normal, healthy pregnancy, moderate exercise is safe for the mom and fetus. Exercise is also said to prevent varicose veins, hemorrhoids and low back pain. Most OB doctors and research suggests that no new exercise routine should be started during your first trimester. As well, you should be careful of overexerting the abdominal muscles. During the second trimester these muscles become stretched out, and some women experience diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles). With reduced support for the back, you also run the risk of injuring the lower back. Further, because of the increased amounts of relaxin and progesterone released in 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 over-stretch. It is important, though, to continue strengthening and rebalancing the muscles around the joints - still trying to center the body as it goes through many postural changes due to pregnancy.
Once you reach the second trimester you should not exercise in a supine position (lying on your back) as you may be cutting off oxygen to the fetus even if you yourself are not feeling dizzy. In the second trimester the client will still do some Matwork exercises, but I make sure that the upper torso is raised as it is when using the "Spine Corrector." A great piece of the equipment for pregnancy is the Chair, because it facilitates so many exercises in an upright position. The great thing about Pilates is that it can be individualized for anyone's ability.
Q: Can I buy Pilates equipment for my home?
A: Yes, anyone can purchase Pilates equipment. Good Pilates equipment is expensive, and you do not want to buy a cheap piece of equipment. Make sure you do some research before investing in Pilates equipment. Please feel free to contact me and I can help with finding the best equipment for you.
Q: Why is Pilates equipment so expensive?
A: We all know the saying “you get what you pay for." TV-promoted Pilates equipment is rarely as good as the type of equipment you find in a Pilates Studio. Gratz Pilates equipment is commercial quality studio equipment, designed by Joseph Pilates and constructed by trusted craftsmen for precision and to stand the test of time.
Q. How can I find a classical Pilates studio nearest me?
Go to www.classicalpilates.com, or www.uspa.com and click on instructor finder.
Q: If I cannot afford/find a Pilates instructor in my area, is there another alternative?
A: There are many books and DVDs out there to teach you Pilates. I strongly believe you can not learn Pilates from a DVD. DVDs and books are there to help you. You may also try your local gym. There is no substitute for working with a certified instructor to help you adjust to your home-based program. Pilates sessions with a qualified instructor will find and correct your weak points, achieve symmetry and develop the mind-body relationship that is essential to Pilates. Pilates was not designed to be taught in a large setting, make sure your instructor has good training to keep you safe.
Q: Will I get the same results from doing the workout with a video as I would from going to an instructor/studio?
A: I firmly believe that you can not learn Pilates from a DVD. Pilates is a very hands on exercise. However, Pilates videos are a great way to complement your workouts, and/or a great alternative if you can't get to a Pilates class. Having monitored personal instruction is always great if the instructor is properly trained.
Q: How do I become a Pilates Instructor?
A: In today’s competitive fitness market there are numerous companies seeking to capitalize on Pilates’ popularity by mass-producing generic teachers and Pilates worldwide. The Pilates Center of Oklahoma, LLC provides quality training, through a mentoring certification for those wanting to learn the classical method of Joseph Pilates.