The method we now know as “Pilates” was originally called “Contrology” invented by German-born Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates was a body builder and gymnast who was a sickly child. He manufactured his own types of exercises by studying the anatomy of the body and practicing different types of exercise programs to combat his own health issues. It was through this that he began to devise his own unique style of movement. Joseph was held prisoner in an internment camp at the beginning of World War I where he continued his practice on sick inmates, attaching springs to hospital beds so they could exercise. Once Joseph emigrated to New York in 1926, he and wife Clara set up their first Pilates studio. By the 1980s, media started to pay attention and Pilates moved into mainstream fitness.

What is Stott Pilates?

Created by former professional dancer Moira Merrithew after extensive training in Pilates and exercise physiology. The Stott Pilates repertoire consists of more than 500 systematic mat and equipment- based exercises. Included are balanced exercise sequences and modifications to address special populations.

Benefits:

  • Longer, leaner muscles
  • Core strength & stability
  • Injury prevention
  • Relief from stress & back pain
  • Better posture
  • Improved balance & coordination
  • Enhanced athletic performance
  • Effective post rehabilitation
  • Heightened mind body awareness
  • Increased self-confidence

Mat versus Reformer Pilates

Both have their benefits but there are some key similarities and differences between the two. The main difference is that mat is performed on an exercise mat or yoga mat, while reformer Pilates is performed on the reformer machine. Mat uses your bodyweight and can incorporate small equipment to provide resistance to movements. The Reformer allows for a greater variety of exercises by adjusting resistance and features on the apparatus to modify for different movements.

You can still get the same strength and stability results from the mat as the reformer. The benefit of mat is you can take it anywhere you go.

How to get started with Pilates?

It is highly suggested to start a beginner program with a certified/qualified Pilates Instructor. It is important that the five basic principles of movement are explained, practiced and understood so you can safely execute each exercise and reap the full benefits.

The Five Basic Principles include:  breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement and stabilization, and head and cervical placement.  Some beginner exercises such as ab prep, rolling like a ball, breast stroke preps and shoulder bridge should be practiced first to get a understanding of how the principles are all tied together

The Hundred

This mat exercise commonly shown when talking about Pilates increases core stability and strength.

Starting in supine position (lying on back), imprinted spine. Arms long by sides with palms down. Legs parallel and in tabletop (knees bent at 90-degree angle stacked over hips) with toes gently pointed.

To Begin

Inhale to stay and extend through back of the neck.

Exhale to nod the chin lifting the head off the mat into thoracic flexion. Stabilize shoulders, contract abdominals to slide ribcage towards pelvis. Arms reaching off mat level with shoulders. Simultaneously, extend legs as low as imprint can be maintained (hovering above the ground).

Inhale for 5 counts making small vertical pulses of the arms up and down.

Exhale for 5 counts. Complete for 10 sets total of 100

Finish with an Inhale to remain in spinal flexion and continue to reach arms. Exhale to lower upper body to mat with legs in tabletop.