Pilates Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Pilates frequently asked questions

What is the difference between classical & contemporary Pilates?

  • Classical Pilates strictly follows the original work of Joseph Pilates developed during the early 20th century. Classical Pilates is limited to his subset of exercises, without modifications, and was originally developed for the people of that era, who were primarily laborers.
  • At Maiden Lane Studios, we offer contemporary style Pilates, which is based on the original work of Joseph Pilates but has been adapted to modern scientific standards, with a strong influence from physical therapy and the current knowledge of proper bio-mechanics. Contemporary Pilates allows us to teach for the modern body, with variations and more creativity. Contemporary Pilates exercises are generally taught in a “neutral pelvis” position (which follows the natural curvatures of a healthy spine in a standing upright position).

Is Pilates only for women?

  • Definitely not! Many people often associate Pilates with only women, dancers, and people who want an “easy” form of exercise. On the contrary, Pilates was not only originally developed as a training method for men (for soldiers during WWI), it is extremely beneficial to men in particular, for their overall health, and to increase strength, stamina, and agility.
  • Pilates for athletes. Pilates is often used by top professional athletes as a secret weapon to gain an edge on their competitors (think Kobe, LeBron, and Tiger). It also enhances body control, increases flexibility, and helps prevent injuries, making it great for sports such as golf, cycling, skiing, and running. It also helps offset the perils of long hours at the office, as it improves posture and keeps aches and pains at bay, while reducing stress.
  • With the versatility of Pilates, the modality can be adjusted to varying difficulties, making it an effective and challenging workout for those who are just starting out or those who are already very active and strong.

Is it safe for women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth?

  • With your doctor’s approval, starting in the 1st trimester, Pilates is safe and actually highly recommended during your pregnancy, even if you’ve never done Pilates before. It specifically strengthens the core and pelvis to support a growing baby, relieves back pain, helps prevent incontinence, and even helps with a smoother delivery. It additionally helps you adapt to the changes during pregnancy, relieving stress, giving you energy, and helping you find balance and stability in your body through the 9 months of your baby’s development. For women who are already very active before their pregnancies, also rest assured that Pilates during pregnancy can still be an athletic workout.
  • With your doctor’s approval, it is also effective and safe for women who have recently given birth, helping the body regain its alignment, pelvic stability, and a flatter, firmer belly.

Can I attend a Pilates apparatus class, without previous apparatus experience?

  • Even for those who are in great shape, we highly recommend taking either one of our Pilates Principles classes or scheduling a private session on the apparatus. In order to ensure the best experience possible and safety of our mixed-level apparatus classes, we require that students be familiar with the apparatus and mechanics of Pilates. If you have taken Pilates on the apparatus at another studio or gym, we welcome you to attend our apparatus classes.

What do I need to know prior to my first Pilates session at MLS?

  • We provide all the equipment and accessories needed for any private session or class you attend at the studio, which are thoroughly cleaned after each use. We also provide towels, water, coffee, tea, toiletries, and keyless lockers to store your belongings.
  • For our Pilates sessions, shoes and socks are not needed. Please wear comfortable clothing that you can move freely in, yet not too loose (so that the instructor can still see your form to help make corrections and adjustments).

Why does Maiden Lane Studios insist on such small class sizes – other studios allow up to 10 people in their apparatus classes?

  • Not all Pilates is created equal. Due to its numerous benefits, it has become an increasingly sought-after form of physical fitness. It was originally created to be taught with a high level of detail, personal attention, and skill. But with the rising popularity of Pilates over the last 20 years, there has been a flood of offerings to the market, including super-sized classes taught by instructors without proper training and experience. Not only is this type of instruction highly unsafe, it also comes from a background that lacks the knowledge necessary to deliver the many benefits Pilates has to offer. The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) only acknowledges Pilates apparatus classes with 6 or fewer students as true “Pilates.”
  • At Maiden Lane Studios, our small class sizes allow us to work with our clients on an individual level, making each workout more effective and more tailored to the individual. With a maximum of 3 clients in our apparatus classes and 12 in our mat classes, we offer some of the smallest classes in San Francisco, at comparable prices.

Is Pilates challenging?

  • The beauty of Pilates is that it is very customizable and benefits everyone, from someone with movement disabilities to professional athletes. Pilates can be an extremely challenging fitness modality, and has the ability to progress in difficultly with each person’s practice, ensuring you are engaged and continually getting stronger.

Is Pilates only focused on the “core” and/or stretching?

  • At Maiden Lane Studios, we believe in working the entire body and building comprehensive strength from the core out™. Developing a strong and healthy core is one of the keys in producing a strong and balanced body. Many people understand the “core” as the abdominals, but the “core” actually includes a complex, multi-layered series of muscles that include the abdominals, back, and hips. Strengthening your core is more than just creating flat abs. We derive our power and the ability for correct, functional movement for the entire body from the core. In all of our Pilates sessions, we focus on strengthening the core and every limb, including arms, chest, legs, ankles, and backside.
  • Pilates incorporates movements that will stretch and “open up” the body (elongating muscles and muscle groups as well as using exercises to improve posture and open the chest from a forward flexion position), although stretching itself is not the focus of the modality.pilates studios san francisco

Can Pilates help me lose weight?

  • Pilates can help you lose weight and reshape the body. Although Pilates is not as cardiovascular as other forms of fitness, it employs resistance with endurance that burn calories and speed up your metabolism. It particularly sculpts the body and works muscles that cinch the waist, lifts the behind, and slims & lengthens muscles in the arms, legs, hips. Pilates training also enhances the effects of traditional cardiovascular work outside of your Pilates practice, for example, burning more calories from running with a Pilates practice than without. Like with any other athletic pursuit, a healthy, balanced diet paired with exercise will give you the best results.

Is Pilates a Fad?

  • Pilates has been around for nearly a century and isn’t going anywhere. It is a highly effective, life-long pursuit that can offer a life-time of benefits. With the versatility and creativity that can go into Pilates, it actually becomes fun and engaging, and can be extremely beneficial to your body throughout your entire life. Many of our instructors and clients have practiced Pilates for more than 10 years, and swear by the practice.

Why does Pilates cost more than other fitness practices?

  • In some cases, Pilates on the apparatus can be more expensive, than say, a gym fitness class. This is mainly due to small class sizes, the equipment needed to practice, and the extensive training that goes into its teaching. The pricing for our Pilates services is comparable to, or even less expensive than, many San Francisco studios and gyms. Pilates training at Maiden Lane Studios is akin to personal training, with a high level of personal attention, customization, and effectiveness.

What is the difference between Pilates on the mat and Pilates on the apparatus?

  • Pilates on the mat and on the apparatus are similar in nature, using core principles of proper movement and form. Mat classes employ exercises that use body weight and small props to achieve its goals, while apparatus work uses a spring-loaded system of pulleys and cables. Both can be extremely challenging and customizable, but Pilates on the apparatus can give you more training possibilities due to being able to use the machine in many ways, providing you support when you need it, while also having the option to make exercises more challenging. That being said, Pilates mat is no cakewalk, requiring the use of the body in of itself to support the body in many challenging movements. A very effective and informative mode of training, mat classes are highly recommended for those new to the Pilates modality.

Pilates & Athletes

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