Frequently Asked Questions

about Pilates

If you have further questions you would like listed, please email

  1. What is Pilates?
    Pilates is a system of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates (1880-1967) in the 1920’s to overcome his own physical shortcomings, caused by childhood ailments. Joseph held by the belief that we each have to take responsibility for our own health; and the link between happiness, health and fitness became his passion. Joseph took the most effective elements from yoga, martial arts, gymnastics, skiing, self-defence, dance, circus training and weight training to develop a system of 34 classic exercises which had the perfect balance of strength, flexibility and coordination.

    By far, the most common form of Pilates is modern Pilates which uses modifications of the 34 classic movements to deliver exercises suitable for all fitness levels and which adhere to safe practise and adapt to new research findings.  Also referred to as mat Pilates, because the main workout is done on a mat in sitting, kneeling or lying position. Pilates is a low impact exercise with no cardio vascular fitness element. 

    A typical class will involve a standing warm up to switch on the core muscles and mobilise all of the joints; a main workout on the mat using resistance exercises to stabilise the torso and strengthen the whole body; ending with a cool down and stretch to develop flexibility.

    To get the best results from Pilates, you need to give it time and commitment.  The emphasis should be on mastery of the basic levels before progressing to more difficult options which in fact change the exercise if they are not executed correctly.

    The six key principles underpinning Pilates are concentration (on correct alignment and stabilisation through the exercise), centring (centre of gravity and engaging core muscles), control (mastering the exercises), precision (to trigger the correct muscles), flow (smooth flow of movement) controlled breathing (using the breath for optimal movement).


  2. What is the difference between yoga and Pilates?
    Both Pilates and yoga offer stress relief, flexibility, strength, and control but the biggest difference is the emphasis on the spiritual component.  Pilates classes focus on strength, muscle toning, body control and flexibility with the main emphasis on core strength and stabilising.  Yoga focuses on flexibility and broad muscle groups, offering balance, endurance, strength and spirituality.  Both work at a similar pace but on the whole Pilates exercises involve more movement and repetitions and yoga involves an element of meditation.

  3. What is Fitness Pilates
    Fitness Pilates is a blend of energetic moves taking inspiration from Pilates and yoga. Strictly speaking it is not Pilates since Pilates has no cardio element.

  4. How do I know if my instructor is qualified?
    A national standard for Pilates was introduced in the UK in August 2005. It was ratified by the Qualifications Curriculum Authority (QCA) and is overseen by SkillsActive (the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure and Learning) and the Register of Exercise Professionals. The standard sits at Level 3 in the National Qualifications Framework and is known colloquially within the industry as ‘Level 3’.

    Pilates teachers graduating from approved courses are eligible to apply for inclusion as a Pilates Teacher at Level 3 (Advanced Instructor) of the UK Register of Exercise Professionals ( The Register is the recommended information source for both club operators and members of the public, who may wish to check a Pilates teacher’s credentials in terms of training qualifications. A ‘Level 3’ Pilates qualification is now a precondition for entry onto the Register as a Pilates teacher.

    The Fitness Industry Association (FIA), representing the major health club operators in the UK, now have a policy that only REPs-accredited teachers can teach in member clubs.

    You can check membership of REPS by clicking here.

    If your instructor is not a member of REPS they may well still have Level 3 qualifications but you may need to ask.  


  5. What is a typical class like?
    A typical class will involve a standing warm up to switch on the core muscles and mobilise all of the joints; a main workout on the mat using resistance exercises to stabilise the torso and strengthen the whole body; ending with a cool down and stretch to develop flexibility.

  6. Will I get sweaty?

  7. What should I wear?
    Comfortable clothing that allows you to move.

  8. Do I need trainers?
    No, Pilates is done barefoot or in socks.

  9. What should I bring to class?
    A bottle of water, a hand towel may be useful as an additional support

  10. Do you do private lessons?
    Yes, please call me to arrange.  The charge is £25 for a 1-2-1 session, with each additional person charged at £5 to a maximum of 5 participants.  My studio at home can accommodate private groups of 2 and I can arrange to hire a room in Buckden for £10 an hour for groups up to 5 people, however if you have suitable accommodation for the session, I can also teach in your home. A private lesson lasts one hour and all equipment is provided.

  11. I have had a hip/knee replacement is Pilates for me?
    Yes, Pilates can help to strengthen your joints. If your doctor has given you the all clear and you have finished physiotherapy, Pilates can help to strengthen the muscles supporting your joints. Please bring any physio advice along to your first session.

  12. I went to another Pilates class and got a bad back - why?
    Pilates exercises in their purest form are advanced and challenging. Most participants in a Pilates class are at Level 1 or 2. Anyone doing Pilates just once a week will be at Level 1 or 2 and this is a great maintaining level that will still challenge muscles if performed correctly.  If Pilates gave you a bad back, there could be number of reasons including: poor instruction; a large class with no individual correction taking place; not observing and correcting participants adequately; poor technique; not following instructions given; it is possible that you were not offered a Level 1 modification; maybe you attempted a more advanced option before mastering the lower level option.

  13. I have a bad back is it safe for me?
    You should check with a doctor first. A remedial class may be beneficial.

  14. Am I too old for Pilates?
    Its not a question of age, its a question of physical mobility. If you are independently mobile, can get down onto a mat and get back up again at the end of a class, you can do a mat Pilates class.  You may also be able to find chair based Pilates which may be an option to consider.

  15. Do I need to check with my doctor first?
    If you have any doubts or concerns about your health, then yes.

  16. How much does it cost?
    All classes are £7 or why not buy a block of 5 weeks for £32.

  17. Can I pay by online bank transfer?
    Yes the details are: Loraine Hilton | HSBC Bank | Sort Code 40-25-22 | Account Number 81507516



Call or text Loraine on: 0783 725 7895


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