Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pilates?

Answer: “The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete control over your body”. Joseph H. Pilates

Pilates is a system of over 600 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 works 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 a Pilates Reformer and Ladder Barrel.

Where did Pilates come from?

Answer: Created by wellness visionary Joseph H Pilates in the 1920’s. He based his method he called “contrology”, on the sound principles of movement and anatomy. Joseph and his wife Clara dedicated over 40 years to influence the practice of exercise in the US. Joseph taught his method to movie stars, celebrities and many famous dancers. Joseph never lived to see the widespread growth of his ideas and philosophy, but his influence and efforts provided the start to an 90-year track record of proven results.

For more details see Pilates history page.

Who Can Do Pilates?

Answer:”A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living”. Joseph H. Pilates

Pilates is for everyone and every exercise can be modified for different body types. There is no one that can’t benefit from this method of exercise. It is also important to note that Pilates doesn’t conflict with other forms of exercise that may interest you! In fact, Pilates complements and will often aid in other methods of exercise and movement. Pilates can be beneficial for virtually 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 seem to demand youthful energy yet others are manageable for even the frailest physique. It’s more about fitness condition than age. One’s chronological number doesn’t necessarily limit one’s movement capabilities – sometimes a 75 year old can perform contortions on the Cadillac while a 20 year old struggles with a simple roll up.

For more details see Pilates for Everyone page.

Why Pilates Works Well for Men?

Answer: Joseph Pilates developed his exercises for both men and women and around 25% of those attending Pilates classes today are men. Joseph Pilates himself was a boxer and self-defense instructor. Core strength- develop the core muscle groups (the spine, abdominals, hips and lower back), flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns – all are hallmarks of Pilates training and highly relevant to men’s fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development, such as what finds in weightlifting.

Many famous male professional athletes, such as Tiger Woods (professional golfer), Jason Kidd (NBA basketball star), Curt Schilling (MLB pitcher) and Ruben Brown (NFL offensive lineman), have added Pilates to their training programs in order to enhance their strength, coordination and flexibility by developing these core muscle areas.

Pilates has also been shown to enhance sexual function. As a result, sexual dysfunction may be decreased through Pilates practice.

Adding Barre Work/Booty Barre to Your Pilates Workout?

Answer: Pilates and dance conditioning have a long history, and they make for a highly effective combination. Joseph Pilates himself was well-known for working with many prominent dancers during his lifetime. Barre Pilates integrates the fat burning format of interval training, the muscle shaping technique of isometrics, the elongating principles of dance conditioning, and the science of physical therapy to create a revolutionary new workout that quickly and safely reshapes your entire body.

Learn more…

Are there Special considerations for seniors?

Answer: ”If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young”. Joseph H. Pilates

Before beginning a Pilates class, the senior student would be well advised to check in with his or her health care professional. Many physical conditions can be accommodated in a Pilates setting, but it is important to know if any specific risk factors are present. It is essential to communicate health issues or physical limitations to the instructor before the class begins. Many older adults find that their balance, flexibility and endurance have diminished over time. These conditions are workable within most beginner Pilates contexts, and they will improve as Pilates is practiced regularly. Seniors can be assured that it is the right and responsibility of any student to adjust participation in an exercise to a level that feels healthful and safe for them. Various exercise modifications are commonplace in Pilates classes. A good instructor will help a senior student monitor the level of exertion, and take measures to prevent over-stretching or falls. Seniors might be encouraged to know that the majority of beginner Pilates mat and reformer exercises are done lying down or sitting, so there is less risk of falling than there might be with some other forms of exercise.

For more details see Pilates at Weston Town Center Senior Program page.

Can Pilates help with Osteoporosis?

Answer: “A man is as young as his spinal column”. Joseph H. Pilates

Osteoporosis is a special concern for seniors in Pilates, as it is with many fitness systems. Osteoporosis is a weakening of the structure of the bone, which makes those who have it more susceptible to broken bones and fractures. Anyone at risk of osteoporosis, a category which does include seniors over 65 (both men and women), should get a bone density scan before proceeding with Pilates practice.

Weight bearing exercises, such as many Pilates exercises, are often recommended as part of bone building programs to prevent osteoporosis. However, once the condition is present in the bones, the fitness scenario changes considerably. The reason is that exceptional balance challenges, some weight bearing exercises, forward flexion (bending), and certain twisting exercises — all part of regular Pilates practice — are not recommended for people with osteoporosis. Does that mean they can’t do Pilates? No. It does mean, however, that the workout has to be designed keeping osteoporosis in mind and should be lead by a qualified Pilates instructor.

Can Pilates help me lose weight?

Answer: YES, proper exercise is the key ingredient to weight loss! Regular participation in Pilates exercise, coupled with a proper diet and cardiovascular activities, such as walking running, swimming and cycling, is a sure way to achieve your ideal body!

How do I get started on a Pilates exercise program?

Answer: “Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.” Joseph H. Pilates

Mat-based exercises make a good starting point to those new to Pilates. Take the opportunity to enjoy a group mat class in a club setting or workout at home with a Pilates video and learn the principles behind the discipline. You’ll definitely feel it – especially deep in your abs. Once you’ve got a better handle on integrating all the principles (it takes a while), branch out and try some Pilates equipment. Small props like Resistance Bands, Circles and Swiss Balls can add variety and interest to a mat workout, but if you want to experience the traditional Pilates equipment, the Reformer is a popular piece to start with. Try a small group class or a private Pilates lesson with a personal trainer at a Pilates studio or fitness facility that has a Pilates program.

Contact Pilates at Weston Town Center.

Is Pilates practice designed for teenagers?

Answer: YES. Make Pilates a part of your life. Healthy habits are developed young, Pilates offers teens an incredible way to increase fitness, flexibility and body-awareness.

Should I be doing Privates or group classes?

Answer: It is best to start with a series of private classes. The benefits of group classes come when you are familiar with Pilates exercise and its principles. Privates also allow the instructor to work with you on your specific goals and physical limitations. Group classes are at best, a form of maintenance and not the ideal solution for your exercise needs. Those with severe physical limitations should work solely in private sessions until your instructor deems it safe for you to participate in group classes.

How many classes / privates should I be doing a week?

Answer: “In ten sessions, you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the difference, and in thirty you’ll have a whole new body.” Joseph H. Pilates

Try to work out 2-4 times a week, taking a day off in between sessions to rest or enjoy some kind of cardiovascular activity (walking, bicycling, swimming). This kind of regular, consistent practice will help you make the mind-body connection and integrate the various Pilates principles. You should start seeing and feeling results in about 10 to15 sessions.

Is Pilates like Yoga?

Answer: NO. While they both encourage a mind-body-spiritual connection, Pilates and yoga are distinctly different in their methodology, language, and origin. The physical exercise component of yoga is only one of eight limbs of its teaching. Yoga’s ultimate aim is to achieve divine enlightenment. Pilates seeks to improve our mental and physical capabilities for survival in the modern world. Its focus is on functional ranges of motion to strengthen the mind body connection while emphasizing control and precision. Pilates, because of its focus on functional movement, has also been a great contribution to physical therapy. Although Pilates is not in its origin physical therapy, it is used by many licensed professionals to correct misalignments, improve mind-body connections and improve range of motion and the overall health of our bodies.

Is Pilates better than other forms of exercise?

Answer: Pilates is a very profound, low impact, method of exercise that continually makes you stronger the more you practice it. This cannot be said for all athletic activities. Some forms of exercise and sports make you worse for the wear. For example, where the trained male dancer, gains athletic like strength in his ability to lift his partner, or attain a lofty leap with legs stretched with great ease and flexibility, he also more than not ends his career with great physical disability. Pilates’ key strength is its longevity.

Why is Pilates more expensive than joining a gym?

Answer: A gym is designed for you to come and go as you please. There is ample opportunity for you to get hurt, as you are not receiving any instruction on the weight machines and other apparatuses for use. A private Pilates studio is about personal attention, small classes, private instruction and the integrity of the exercise. In addition Pilates practitioners are highly trained professionals who undergo costly and rigorous training in addition to multiple written exams before being certified. They are then expected to attend semiannual continuing educational courses to maintain the validity of their certification.

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