Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a system of exercise which is designed to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and restore balance to the body. Click here for further information.

How long has Pilates been around?

Pilates was originally known as ‘Contrology’ and was devised by Joseph Pilates in the early 20 th century.

What is Pilates Matwork?

Matwork is a type of Pilates which does not use large apparatus, and is ‘floor based’. You may use small pieces of equipment (e.g. gym balls) but you will use these on a mat, rather than on a large piece of apparatus.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

Pilates has a number of benefits, some are purely physical, and some are holistic, they include:

How fit / strong must I be to practise Pilates?

Under the supervision of a well-trained teacher, Pilates is suitable for all, regardless of level of physical fitness as the exercises can be adapted to the ability of each client. However, the level of Pilates you practise will be governed by the strength of your key postural muscles, and the ability of your body to move and stretch.

What kind of lesson is suitable for me?

This is likely to depend upon your previous experience of Pilates and your ability to master the Pilates fundamentals and exercises. We recommend that if you have not practised Pilates before, you should begin with a series of ‘Fundamentals’ classes. Or if you prefer you can choose to have private lessons. See our class level guides for further information.

How long will it take to see the benefits of Pilates?

Joseph Pilates famously stated that in 10 sessions you would feel the difference, in 20 sessions you would see the difference and in 30 sessions you would have a whole new body. However many clients report they already feel taller, thinner and move more freely even after the first 1 or 2 sessions as they get back in tune with their body. As with all exercise, results depend on personal commitment and consistency.

How do I choose a good Pilates teacher?

A well trained Instructor should place emphasis on correct body placement, control and breathing.

You should find out what training the teacher has done and how long it took to complete. Ideally they should be certified through an extensive Pilates training programme which comprises of lectures, anatomy & physiology study, observation, personal practice, 'hands-on' apprenticing and written / practical exams.

A well trained instructor should be able to adapt exercises for clients requiring individual attention. They should also be educated in handling clients with specific injuries or body conditions that might warrant a modified approach. A good Pilates instructor should keep up with the latest developments in exercise science, choreography, small prop usage and more, through continuing education workshops.

Isn't Pilates just for women?

Certainly not. Joseph Pilates who invented the technique was a man, and his initial trainees were male circus performers and boxers. It was only later that Pilates became popular with the dance community and women.

Isn't Pilates a bit like yoga?

Although there are some similaties between the two, there are some very distinct differences. The similarities come because Joseph Pilates was influenced by both Eastern and Western techniques of exercise and breathing, but Pilates consists of exercises using dynamic and flowing movements while yoga tends to involve more static poses.

What should I wear to a class?

You should wear comfortable clothes that are not restrictive, such as leggings, jogging pants, etc. We ask that shoes are not worn in the class as Pilates requires sensitivity in the feet. Ideally, more fitted clothes allow the teacher to see how your body is working better, but you also need to be comfortable.

What else should I bring to a class?

We ask clients to bring their own mat, a hand towel for head support and water.

How many people are in the classes?

Our classes can cater for a maximum of twelve people. The minimum is one, for a private session.

How long is a class

Our classes run for 60 minutes.

Is Pilates a form of aerobic exercise?

If you progress to the advanced stages of Pilates, you may experience it as an aerobic workout, but in the main it is not designed to be aerobic, and we advise that you balance your Pilates practise with regular aerobic exercise such as swimming, running, walking or cycling.

Will I lose weight?

Pilates is not primarily designed to induce weight loss, but the effect of toned muscles and greater general fitness is that you are likely to have a more ‘streamlined’ appearance.

Pilates may also help you lose weight naturally, as increases in lean muscle mass will mean your body will burn calories faster, and use more calories up

However, if your main aim is to lose weight, we recommend you combine Pilates with a healthy diet and regular cardiovascular exercise.

How often do I need to practise Pilates?

We recommend you practise Pilates at least twice, preferably three times per week. One or more of these sessions should be a taught class, in order to ensure that you are getting your technique right.

Is Pilates safe?

Pilates is widely recognised as an excellent form of exercise, and is highly recommended by health professionals as one of the safest forms of exercise. We always recommend though, that you consult your GP before attempting any new form of exercise, particularly if you are pregnant or have any form of illness. We conduct a health screening with any new student, and it is your responsibility to inform us of any conditions which may affect your ability to undertake the exercises.

Is Pilates safe for people with Osteoporosis?

All Pilates Foundation teachers are trained to teach clients with Osteoporosis and Osteopenia. While there are certain movements that are contraindicated, our teachers have the knowledge and skills to properly guide clients with this condition and teach the exercises that will be beneficial for them.

Is Pilates suitable for pregnant women?

Pilates is suitable for both pre and post natal women, although you are advised to seek medical advice before undertaking any new form of exercise.

Is Pilates good for bad backs?

Pilates exercises strengthen the core muscles which support the spine, which may help alleviate pressure on bad backs. Pilates Foundation teachers are trained to work closely with other health practitioners to develop successful programmes to manage back pain.

Can I learn Pilates from a DVD or a book?

You may be able to teach yourself some elements of Pilates using some of the excellent published material available, but we highly recommend that you use these materials to supplement your tuition, rather than as an alternative to tuition. The reasons for this include the danger of injuring your body if you continually practise an exercise incorrectly.


To speak with us regarding Pilates, to book on to a class or to arrange a private consultation, please fill in our contact form.