OPTIONS PILATES STUDIO
PILATES STUDIO FAQ
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a full-body conditioning program developed by Joseph Pilates to strengthen the core muscles and lengthen the body. While strengthening the core stability muscles, Pilates works towards re-aligning the spine to its optimal position. This dual emphasis leads to a longer, leaner, more flexible, better toned, and more evenly developed physique. The Pilates equipment employs spring-based resistance to create muscular strength and tone without building bulk. The focus on breath and properly performed movements leads to improved posture and overall physical balance.
Is Pilates for men?
Absolutely! It was started by a man, Joseph Pilates, and it remains a great workout for men. Our classes don’t have complex choreography or dance moves – we keep it sporty and you’ll break a sweat.
Is Pilates safe to do every day?
Absolutely! Pilates is one of the most safest exercises you can do. Working out 4 to 5 times a week is ideal. Come a few times a week and mix it up with a bike ride, swim or hike to keep your work outs interesting. Joseph Pilates said: “In 10 sessions, you will feel the difference. In 20, you will see the difference. And in 30, you’ll be on your way to having a whole new body.” Of course, we would love to see you every day!
I'm new to Pilates, where do I start?
If you’re not used to moving, don’t worry! Pilates is a great way to start moving your body. Options Pilates is a non-intimidating and welcoming environment to help you get started with Pilates.
Depending on your level of body awareness, conditioning and previous experience, you might wish to go straight into group classes. However at Options Pilates, we do strongly advise our clients to start with at least one or two private 1 on 1 sessions.
Pilates is a form of exercise with very controlled movements, so it is very important for you to perform the movements in the correct posture.
Understanding the fundamentals of Pilates, such as the correct pelvic placement, basic starting positions and a general knowledge of the muscles, is absolutely crucial for anyone to get the most out of Pilates.
Private classes are a great way to learn the proper basics of Pilates, as well as to assess and resolve any movement patterns that may be contributing to poor posture or even pain in the neck, shoulders, back or knees.
In a private session, your instructor will pay attention to your every move, so they can tell you if you’re doing a movement correctly, or if you need to engage certain muscles. They will give you helpful cues and advise you on specific adjustments that will make your practice even more effective.
If you are new to Pilates, why not come in for a discounted trial? Your instructor will be able to assess your starting point and then recommend the right package for you.
Do I need to take private sessions?
If you're a beginner, definitely. If you're a pro, well you should take private sessions too! Pilates is designed to be more efficient in one-on-one setting. Private sessions fast-track you to acheiving your fitness goals. In our private sessions, we work with you to structure a Pilates program based on your posture, needs, and goals, even if you intend to continue your practice exclusively in classes. The one-on-one attention from our expert trainers will help you better understand the Pilates repertoire and give you the tools you need to get the most out of every hour of Pilates, whether in a class or private setting. Think of private sessions like a booster pack: It's worth the investment!
I'm new to Pilates but I want to try group classes.
For the reasons mentioned above, we don’t advise new Pilates clients to start group classes right away.
In many cardio-based group exercise classes, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, you can usually get along ok either by trying to copy the instructor or other more advanced students, or by simply trying to move in time with the beat of the music. This not the case with Pilates at all! With a group Pilates class it’s important for you to have a basic knowledge of how to engage different muscles (including the pelvic floor) and how to move in a controlled manner, to name only a couple of things.
At Options Pilates Studio, we offer all our new clients an introductory package of 10 private sessions. This means you can get a good grasp of the basics in your private sessions and then be in an excellent place ready to try the group classes. Some clients then decide to go back to the private classes for a much more tailored service, but having tried both you will be able to make a much more informed decision. Of course we’re here to help and advise you at any time.
What if I haven't worked out in a long time?
We offer modifications to many exercises and encourage you to move at your own pace. If you need to, take a little break during class, you will feel comfortable doing it.
How long will it take for me to see results?
Joseph Pilates once famously said, "In ten sessions you'll feel the difference, in twenty you'll see the difference, and in thirty you'll have a whole new body." Everyone is different, but most clients start to notice positive changes relatively quickly. Your dedication to a consistent practice will greatly determine how quickly you advance. A consistent program (2-3 sessions per week) will significantly improve posture and alignment, enhancing stamina, coordination, strength and flexibility.
Can Pilates help me recover from injury?
If you have injuries, it's important to seek treatment from a physician or a physical therapist. Consult your doctor whether Pilates will be good for you. Pilates can help in the recovery process (and prevent future injuries from occurring) through strengthening, correcting muscular imbalances and movement patterns. In addition, the central focus on core stabilization can improve performance in all activities.
What if I have back issues?
Building your core can definitely help improve back issues. Many people find Pilates is an excellent choice for preventing or managing back issues. We’ll teach you how to fire up your core and gently use your back muscles. We recommend 1-on-1s with a trainer if you have back problems. If you have major injuries 1-on-1’s are compulsory and your doctor’s approval to exercise is requested.
What if I am pregnant?
Pilates is a great way to stay connected to your changing body, keep you toned and prep you for delivery. After the first trimester, we recommend Pre-natal Pilates classes or 1:1 Training. Our trainers understand what exercises are safe to do how to modify exercises for each stage of pregnancy and post delivery but always ask your doctor if it is ok.
Will Pilates help me to lose weight?
Because Pilates is a muscle strengthening form of exercise it can help you to trim and tone certain areas of your body, especially your stomach, legs and buttocks. Classes can be tailored to offer either a gentle exercise program (providing core strength, flexibility and balance) or a complete workout (a more rigorous exercise program).
Bear in mind though that Pilates is not classed as aerobic exercise, so for effective weight loss you should combine your Pilates practice with a healthy diet and some regular aerobic activity such as walking, swimming or cycling.
How much does it cost to do Pilates?
The average cost of classes ranges from $100 to $150 for a private one-to-one session, and from $25 to $50 for a small group class. Pilates can address muscular imbalances and help you to wake up any muscles you've been neglecting.
It can be difficult to grasp this feeling as a beginner, hence most clients prefer to start with private sessions. Typically, private instruction costs more as the workout is tailored specifically to you and adjusted, at your own unique pace, to your fitness goals.
Group classes are usually much more affordable, but by their nature cannot provide the same level of detailed personal instruction. However, even our Pilates group classes are kept to small numbers so that the instructor can give everyone some level of modification and adjustment.
Do I need any special equipment?
When you're just starting out, a mat on the floor is really all you need.
At some studios you will see specialised Pilates equipment like the reformer, the Cadillac or special barrels and chairs. We'll discuss this equipment in more detail but at the beginning you really don't need anything other than a mat.
I do Pilates at home by watching videos, would it be better for me to take lessons at a Pilates studio?
There are indeed many great Pilates books and DVDs available to the general public. The principals of Pilates are quite specific and the focus is to develop dynamic core control with correct body and limb alignment. It is important to ensure that one understands the principals correctly, understands the types of exercises that may be precautionary to ones body type and is executing the movements correctly.
A qualified instructor is specifically educated in postural assessment and in the teaching and correcting of exercises through tactile, kinaesthetic and imagery cuing.
Books and exercises are a good back-up resource for a maintenance program at home when you are unable to attend class. However, to achieve maximum results and prevent injury through correct execution, supervised sessions are highly recommended.
What is the difference between mat & reformer Pilates?
The reformer uses resistance and coordination, whereas Pilates on a mat will use only your own core strength. Mat exercises consist of movements that primarily roll, twist and curl to target your torso, from your hips to your shoulders.
While mat Pilates may not look as fun or challenging as Pilates on a reformer, since you have to use so much core strength, it is actually very effective for improving strength, posture, agility and flexibility.
The reformer offers all the core-building benefits you get on the mat and more.
The force from the pulley and spring system adds resistance and challenges your stability, as well as allowing for a broader range of motion and variety of movements.
We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you are engaging the right muscles when making the movements, so it really is a good idea to have some private 1 on 1 classes before joining a group.
What's the difference between classical Pilates and contemporary Pilates?
The most important point to remember is that a good instructor from any method will be better than a bad instructor from any method, and that an instructor who has learned many different methods is likely to know and understand more than someone who has an idealized opinion of any one particular method.
Classical Pilates is a prescribed set of exercises following the original design of Joseph Pilates as taught to ballet dancers in the middle of the last century. Several of Pilates’ students continued their own style of Pilates as learned from Joseph Pilates himself, including the widely known Ron Fletcher and Romana Kryzanowska.
Classical Pilates is a one-size-fits-all method that follows the principle that a ‘flat back’ is the ideal spine alignment rather than the anatomically normal S-curve.
For some people, especially ballet dancers, Classical Pilates feels very natural since the posture they typically develop over years of practicing fits well with the exercise routine taught in Classical Pilates classes.
Strictly taught Classical Pilates classes follow a set routine that is intended to be followed perfectly by students and this routine does not change over time. This means that it is too difficult for beginners, and proper form is difficult to maintain.
Modern or Contemporary Pilates is used to describe any Pilates method that does not strictly follow the original teachings of Joseph Pilates as taught to ballet dancers.
Methods such as Pilates Academy International use modifications and changes to the original exercises to allow a gradual progression of exercises according to a client’s ability. This makes the class more beneficial to clients who want to build up their ability over time and also allows Pilates to be used by clients with conditions such as back pain or scoliosis. Modified Pilates is especially good for pregnant women who need special consideration because of physiological changes during pregnancy.
At what age can someone experience pilates?
Minors aged 10 and up are welcome to attend private classes with parent or guardian. Clients must be 16+ to join group classes.
Pilates vs Yoga
Pilates and Yoga are often considered similar but are, in fact, starkly different. Which is ‘better’ for you will depend on your own preferences and goals – and of course there is no reason not to practice both!
- The Intention: This is perhaps one of the biggest differences between yoga and Pilates. To put it simply, yoga is a meditative practice. Yoga focuses on breathing techniques to help reduce stress. It helps to guide the practitioner along a path to spiritual enlightenment through a series of movements. Pilates is more of a traditional exercise routine, originally developed to help injured athletes.
- The Equipment: Yoga is based on a strong mind- body connection, so it doesn’t use any exercise machines of any kind. Instead yoga uses the body itself to provide any resistance. You may use props such as blocks, straps, and pillows to help you achieve poses that you're not quite flexible enough to reach yet, but most yoga movements are done without any props on a simple mat.
Pilates on the other hand, utilizes equipment to challenge the body to activate and control muscles and body positioning in unstable environments. Pilates can be performed on a mat, but can also incorporate different apparatus such as the reformer, Cadillac, barrels and chair, thereby introducing springs, pulleys and weights for resistance. As Pilates workout programs are meant to be personalized, instructors often use props to modify movements according to a client’s fitness ability.
- The Movements: Yoga poses are typically held for much longer, which allows you to fall more deeply into each pose. You would also tend to repeat a flow of movements, which you do not do in Pilates.
In Pilates, you don’t hold poses. Pilates movements are shorter with fewer repetitions and there is a focus on control and precision. You perform movements in sets and once the set is done, you move onto a completely different movement.
Depending on what you’re trying to achieve from attending yoga or Pilates classes, you may find that one of them suits you better than the other.
With Pilates, there's always a focus on core strength and stability, so if you have back issues or play sports that require a strong core (like golf or tennis), then Pilates may be most beneficial for you. If you're looking for a low-impact workout that will still challenge your muscles, Pilates will give you the burn you're looking for.
If you're seeking increased flexibility, relaxation, and a better mind-body connection, yoga might be the way to go. For many people, yoga is not only a workout, but also a chance to de-stress and center themselves.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for something more for your mind, go with yoga. If it’s something more physical you’re after, try Pilates. Of course there is no reason at all not to do both yoga and Pilates, as each offers many benefits. Pay attention to how you connect with the instructor, then pick a class that best suits your needs and that you enjoy.
Both yoga and Pilates help with your alignment, balance, and strength, but do remember that neither is at the high end of the spectrum when it comes to calorie expenditure or cardio intensity—even hot yoga is relatively low on the calorie-burning continuum.
Pilates vs the Gym
It is not at all unusual for personal trainers to take a Pilates qualification in order to broaden their scope of understanding of movement and exercise. Core strength is important for all kinds of exercise, and a deeper understanding of Pilates can help a Personal Trainer recognise if a client has any deviation from correct posture and choose suitable exercises for them in the gym.
Although this knowledge can be gained through many different courses or certifications it is best standardised and practiced by contemporary Pilates methods such as Pilates Academy International.
If you work out on your own at the gym it is still very useful to have a knowledge of Pilates so that you can make sure your joints are safe and your alignment correct while you are using heavy weights. This can help prevent injuries and protect the body against general wear and tear. It will also give you a greater understanding of which exercises you might want to avoid, based on your own physical situation.
Pilates Equipment - What is a reformer?
The reformer is a bed-like frame with a sliding carriage which is attached to one end with a set of springs. These springs are adjustable and offer different levels of resistance.
A foot-bar is attached on top of the spring end of the reformer. This foot-bar can be used for your hands or feet as you move the carriage. Long straps with handles are attached to the other end of the frame. These can be pulled with your arms or legs and will also move the carriage.
To use the reformer, you can lie, sit or stand on it and perform exercises which push, pull or hold the carriage steady while the springs provide the amount of resistance you want.
One of the benefits of the reformer is that it can lengthen your muscles as they resist the weight of the springs. This is called eccentric contraction and it is great for making lean, long, strong muscles without adding bulk.
Pilates Equipment - What is a Cadillac?
The Cadillac is a bed-like frame with a mat on top, with attachments either end of the frame. It usually stands about 180cm tall. Attached to the frame are various pieces of equipment which might include leg springs, arm springs, loops to hang from, a push-through bar or a trapeze.
Due to its size and safety concerns, the Cadillac is used mainly in private classes.
The Cadillac can accommodate many variations of stretching exercises and is useful for back flexion and extension exercises.
The Cadillac has a wide range of postural variations (i.e. it can be used sitting, standing or lying down), so it can cater to a wide range of people across all ages and abilities. This allows a lot more flexibility for clients who have limited mobility.
Pilates Equipment - What other types of equipment can be used in Pilates?
Other types of Pilates equipment include the stability chair, the ladder barrel, the spine corrector and the arc barrel.
These are all used as aids and supports to perform different exercise modifications. Most are more commonly used in private Pilates sessions, since modifications are always specific to an individual.