Frequently Asked Questions
As you embark on your Pilates journey, you may have a few questions. Below are some of the most common questions that we get and our responses. Of course, you may have your own questions that are not on here so please feel free to contact us.
What is Pilates?
- Pilates is a combination of the mental focus and flexibility training of yoga, the attention to form and correct alignment of physical therapy and the resistance training of personal training… and yet it is unlike all of them in that it will change your body from the inside out.
How do I pronounce it?
- Puh-Lah- teez
How does Pilates differ from other physical training disciplines?
- Pilates does not focus on the superficial aesthetics but rather turns the focus internally to work on proper joint mechanics and movement patterns. Pilates is not about feeling a burn, getting your heart rate to a certain point, fitting into a smaller size, burning calories, being able to lift a certain amount or stretch to a certain distance. When the focus is on true health, the other things come as a side benefit!
What should I expect from my Pilates practice?
- You should expect a new body – less or no pain, less injuries, change in the shape of their body (not necessarily less weight as muscle weighs more but takes up less room), more flexibility, a flatter tummy, more body awareness and a joy of movement. You will also notice better mental focus, increased auditory skills, more coordination, better balance, increased range of motion of your joints, improved circulation, more functional strength and long, lean muscles. Pilates will not add bulk so if that is what you are looking for you should try weight lifting.
How can I maximize my results?
- In order to maximize your Pilates results, you can do homework regularly, come into the studio more, make sure you are getting the basics (good alignment), work to your max and take personal responsibility to understand your body.
How often should I do Pilates?
- Ideally you should do Pilates 2-3 times a week minimum to progress (this can be accomplished through many different formats as well as supplemented with homework). Joseph Pilates intended for Pilates to be done every day whether it was at the studio or at your home.
What is the difference between mat and equipment work?
- When you work out on the Pilates equipment there is a system of straps for the arms and legs which can either support the weight of your body or add resistance to it. When you do Pilates on the mat, you must support your own body weight through the movements. Therefore, with the use of the equipment, there are many more options to make the exercises exponentially easier or harder. Mat work is an intermediate level work.
Can men do Pilates?
- Of course! Pilates was actually created by a man (Joseph Pilates) for men. Joe was a boxer and utilized the Pilates equipment as well as mat work to train all kinds of people. With Pilates we are able to train even elite male athletes like football players and have them shake. There’s nothing girly about Pilates!
Do I have to be a dancer to do Pilates?
- While many Pilates instructors have a dance background, Joseph Pilates was not a dancer and did not limit his training to dancers. Anyone is able to do Pilates regardless of background and movement experience.
Can I do Pilates if I have an injury?
- Yes! Personalized Pilates specializes in working with injuries and adapting the exercises to meet the individual needs of the client. We have helped many clients that had physical therapy and yet still had special needs and chronic injuries. While the injury is acute we are able to work around the area so as not to bother it while still increasing the circulation to the injured area which speeds up the healing process. Once the injury is no longer acute, we are able to minimize or alleviate the pain by working on correct mechanics.
What age group is Pilates for?
- Pilates is for any age as it is customized to the individual and their needs regardless of their age. Unlike weight training, Pilates will not stunt children’s growth and is appropriate as long as they have the attention span to handle it. Joseph Pilates was particularly passionate about getting children on the right start and having Pilates practiced in the schools. Pilates is also great for the seniors because the way the springs work; it is very easy on the joints while increasing bone density. The mental focus developed by Pilates is also helpful to promote mental clarity and sharpness.
“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it’s completely flexible at 60, you are young…the only real guide to your true age lies not in years, or how old you THINK you feel, but…by the degree of natural and normal flexibility enjoyed by your spine throughout life.”-Joseph Pilates
Is Pilates an aerobic exercise?
- Cardiovascular, or “aerobic,” exercise is any exercise that increases your heart rate and works your lungs. While not typically categorized as cardiovascular exercise, Pilates can up your heart rate. When a certain proficiency is achieved, and the client can move through the exercise sequences continuously, it can raise your heart rate for sure!
Will I bulk up doing Pilates?
- No! Pilates is known for creating long lean muscles and a balanced strength.
Will I grow taller by doing Pilates?
- Pilates will not make your bones grown taller. However, many people “lose” height by having poor posture and in this sense, Pilates will help you regain your lost height.
Will I lose weight from Pilates?
- Losing weight is not the main goal of Pilates. Our main emphasis is proper mechanics of the body which will decrease joint pain and help the body function optimally. With that being said, a side benefit of this is that the body naturally slims down and changes it’s shape to be more aesthetically pleasing as a side benefit of good posture and alignment. As you build muscles you won’t necessarily lose weight but muscle takes up less room than fat so it will appear as if you are losing weight. Because of this, we recommend clients taking measurements instead of weighing themselves. Regularly clients tell us about how they have gone down dress sizes and such even though that was not the focus. True healthy is the focus.
Can I do Pilates if I’m pregnant?
- Absolutely! We recommend that you get your midwife or doctor’s clearance if you are deemed “high risk” but Pilates can be done throughout the entire pregnancy. There are many contraindications during this special time but with the Pilates equipment it is easy to adapt for a great workout that helps alleviate or prevent most pregnancy complaints and prepares for the new baby. A regular Pilates mat class would likely contain mostly contraindicated exercises so please be careful in your choice of Pilates during this time. Personalized Pilates prides itself on customizing workouts to the pregnant client as well as conducting teacher trainings on this subject all over the world.
What is the Core and what does it do?
- The Core is made up of the Transverse Abdominus (TA), Pelvic Floor (PF), Lumbar Multifidus and the Diaphragm. The Core muscles stabilize and decompress the lumbar spine to relieve or prevent back pain, while training the abdominals to lie flat so clients look as fit as they feel. The Core muscles do not create movement. They only stabilize the back by compressing the abdomen and decompressing the spine. The deeper and more important the muscles, the less likely they are to burn, which is an indicator of fatigue. In Pilates, all muscles are trained and so not every exercise will cause burning as some muscles are less superficial than others (including the Core) and do not burn.
What is the point of emphasizing the breath in Pilates?
- Pilates trains you to have fuller, deeper breathing in daily life. Pilates’ ribcage (posterior – lateral) breathing allows the abdominal and Core muscles to remain engaged while the opposite, the belly/diaphragm breathing, presses the abdominals out which prevents the Core connection. The two most important concepts a client must embody for optimal health are a Core connection and ribcage breathing – both are essential for every Pilates exercise and demand that things be modified if they do not understand it properly.
Why is there such an emphasis on moving the spine?
- In Pilates, the goal of spinal movement is to create motion between each vertebrae so that movement in the spine is evenly distributed between each vertebrae. This keeps the muscles limber and strong as well as moving the cerebral spinal fluid up and down the spinal column which keeps the discs healthy. It should be the most essential part of any workout. In Pilates, all four spinal movements (flexion, extension, side bending and rotation) are essential to every workout unless there is a specific injury to prohibit it.
Why are there so many pieces of equipment?
- Each piece of equipment emphasizes things a little differently even if it is the same exercise. The Pilates pieces of equipment include: Reformer, Cadillac (Tower), Chair, Spine Corrector, Ladder Barrel, Arc Barrel, Foot Corrector, Arm Chair, Toe Corrector, Ped-a-Pull, Magic Circle and Bean Bag
Why are there so few repetitions and no sets in Pilates?
- The focus of Pilates is the quality of the exercise, not quantity. Quantity, with proper form, indicates a client is ready to advance. In Pilates, you will only need to do between 5-15 of any exercise. If you can do hundreds of something then it is way too easy!
What is the mind body connection?
- Using the mind to control the body. Joseph Pilates called his work “contrology” which means the study of control. In Pilates, we are working to make sure that our bodies are able to do whatever we ask, whenever we ask it…. true training for daily life.
Why is work for the feet so important?
- The feet are the foundation of the whole body’s structure. Regaining lost strength and flexibility in the feet helps prevent or alleviate pain in the entire body but especially foot pain which is so prevalent. “Supportive” shoes will not truly fix the problem of painful feet, only working the foot from the inside out will transform the foot as well as the body. Personalized Pilates is particularly passionate about feet… just notice the purple balls!
Why is it important that an instructor not demonstrate an exercise?
- When instructors demonstrate exercises for a client it wastes the client’s time, it could possibly injure a cold instructor, it shows the instructor’s lack of verbal skills and it avoids the client developing proper auditory skills.
Why is it important for clients to develop auditory skills?
- It is important for clients to develop auditory skills because if a client relies on visual cues they will work on making their body look a certain way on the exterior. In Pilates, clients need to feel the correct muscles on the interior which requires a deeper mind-body connection that can only be accomplished through auditory cueing.
What is muscle balancing?
- Muscle balancing is the Pilates concept of training the muscle groups that oppose one another to be balanced around every joint so that the joints work optimally and cause no pain. Pilates works to strengthen what is weak and/or loose and loosen what is tight and/or strong.
What is iPilates™?
- iPilates™ is expert personal instruction delivered through audio technology on the Reformer, Tower, Chair and Barrels. iPilates™ helps clients learn to take personal responsibility for their body, to develop auditory skills more than any other format of Pilates, and is the most affordable option so clients may come more often.
What are equipment classes?
- Classes provide a fun, energizing environment with personalized attention that will deepen your Pilates practice at an affordable rate. Classes are a group of 3 people max on Reformer, Tower, Chair and Barrels.
Why should people work in neutral spine?
- Neutral Spine is the easiest place to authentically connect the Core. It is also the “center” positioning of the pelvis in which one should be standing and existing in most of daily life, therefore it is a good place to start gaining strength. Neutral Pelvis is defined as the ASIS (hip bones) and pubic bone in line – parallel to the floor when lying or quadruped (all fours), perpendicular to the floor when sitting or standing.
What does being a 2nd generation teacher mean?
- A first generation instructor is one that was trained by Joseph Pilates himself and there are only 2 left alive – Lolita San Miguel, and Mary Bowen. Lolita San Miguel was actually one of only two people ever that Joseph Pilates certified to teach Pilates. Katrina Foe has been personally trained by Lolita San Miguel as well as continuing to work with her as the anatomy teacher for Lolita San Miguel’s Pilates Master Mentor Program. Personalized Pilates’ instructors are all either 2nd or 3rd generation instructors which shows their deep appreciation and understanding of Joseph Pilates’ work .
What is the Balanced Body / Personalized Pilates’ philosophy towards Pilates?
- Personalized Pilates and Balanced Body (the teacher training we conduct) view Pilates as a discipline that should be adapted to each individual while staying true to Joseph Pilates’ original intent. Our focus is on understanding the why behind each exercise so the instructor can then adapt it to the client in front of them.
Is there one Pilates method that is better than the others?
- All methods should stay true to the original Pilates philosophy, but some are more open than others in allowing adaptations of the original exercises. Joseph Pilates was constantly changing his movements based on clients’ needs, which is why many methods believe in altering the exercises as needed rather than adhering to a strict protocol.