Art of Pilates

 

no-image.gif

Fitness that stays with you

HomeStaff & StudentsPilates HistoryMore ExercisesOften Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PILATES

WILL PILATES HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?
Yes, but like any fitness program you must include a cardiovascular routine and nutrition program. Pilates is resistance and flexibility training. Unlike weight training, it does not build bulky muscles. By strengthening the “Powerhouse” (the core muscles) you can decrease any existing bulkiness since the “superficial” muscles of the legs, gluteals, etc. do not have to work so hard. Nutritional needs are different for every individual and there are many safe and proven methods. There are many fun and enjoyable cardiovascular exercises that will help you burn the fuel we store called fat. The staff at Art of Pilates are not nutritionalist but we can help you find a nutritional and cardiovascular program that will fit your needs.

DON’T YOU NEED A DANCE BACKGROUND TO DO WELL IN PILATES?
Not really. As a rule, dancers, gymnasts, marshal artists, etc., tend to catch on to pilates more quickly because the internal focus is very similar. Joseph Pilates was not a dancer. He was a boxer, gymnast, a circus performer, and skier. Dancers came to him to rehabilitate injuries, improve their balance and core strength thus expanding their dancing ability and increasing their career longevity.
It is not about how high you can get your leg, how flexible you are, or how much turn-out you have, it is all about working from the “Power house” (which includes the deep core abdominal area). Once you find and strengthen the core, the flexibility will follow.
Pilates is total body conditioning but it is the powerhouse where all movement originates. The famous dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham called this the “center” and Tai Chi practitioners call it the "Chi". These muscles stabilize and support the body, allowing the limbs to move with strength and ease.

tina-frame.jpg

The red box outlines the area refered to as the "Power House"

CAN I DO PILATES WHEN I’M PREGNANT?
First off, CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR!!
There are many pilates exercise that can be done during pregnancy with slight modifications. At issue is the intense abdominal contraction that pilates requires. If you have been doing pilates before your pregnancy started, you probably could do some of the more difficult exercise since the deep core muscles are behind the uterus. Again, it is best to consult your doctor for any contra indicated movements unique to your body and term of your pregnancy.

nuetral-vs-imprinting.jpg

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WEST COAST AND EAST COAST (TRADITIONAL) PILATES
The west coast -- east coast feud has been going on since the early 1970’s when, after Joseph had died, the pilates method reached the Los Angeles area. As far as the east coast trained people are concerned; the west coast version is not really Pilates. The East coast instructors stress Joseph Pilates’ original material. This is the focus and foundation of the work. Every east coast exercise can be modified, depending on the ability of the individual. The west coast people have come up with new exercises based loosely on the original material, adding more yoga, more dance, balls, bands, and other body awareness techniques. These may be great exercises but can they truly be called pilates? One of the biggest differences between East and West pilates is the breathing pattern and “neutral lumbar spine” verses “imprinting”.
The West Coast version of pilates exhales on the muscular effort and inhales on the release. The Traditional or east coast method of breathing (as a rule) inhales on the muscular effort (concentric contraction) and exhales on the release (eccentric contraction). The traditional breathing patterning is more difficult and forces the participant to use the upper lobes of the lungs, an area not usually used. This method enables the participant to breath while maintaining a deep abdominal contraction.
Neutral spine verses imprinting refers to the position of the lumbar or low back as it relates to the mat (see photos). Neutral spine means maintaining the natural curve in the lumbar spine throughout the exercise sequence. Imprinting or flattening the low spine into the mat works the iliopsoas muscle group (muscles of the deep abdominal floor) much more effectively than the neutral spine. By engaging the iliopsoas first, the low back will flatten into the mat and as a result the pelvis will slightly curve under.