Read Time 5 ½ Minutes
- What is STOTT PILATES?
- The importance of coordination and balance?
- What are functional movements?
- The kinetic chain
- Mind and body alignment
- The small muscles for increased stability
I am sure that you have heard about the Pilates method but may not know what STOTT PILATES is.
Where did it come from and what does it mean?
This blog will introduce the STOTT PILATES method of training, will explain how it can enhance your body for improvements in all movement and physical activity. At the same time, aligning your mind with your movement for better body awareness.
Introducing Stott Pilates
STOTT PILATES incorporates modern exercise principles and applies proven and accepted practices in biomechanics, rehabilitation, and athletic performance enhancement.
In collaboration with a team of exercise professionals, sports medics, physiotherapists and physical therapists, Moira and Lindsay Merrithew dissected and reconnected this unique form of exercise. What they created is a holistic, systematic, contemporary approach to the original teaching of Joseph Pilates.
Introductory exercises and various modifications allow the instructors to make this technique suitable for many different abilities, body types and ages. At the same time making it sport-specific and appropriate for everyday life.
The main focus of Stott Pilates® is to develop optimum neuromuscular performance. Primary focus is on the stability of the core, whilst slowly and with control, balancing muscular flexibility and strength.
Whether performed on a mat or on specialised equipment, STOTT PILATES should incorporate current theories of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation and it should involve the following biomechanical principles:
- pelvic placement
- rib cage placement
- scapular movement and stabilisation
- head and cervical placement
By introducing the basic principles of exercise and emphasising them over time, awareness of how your body moves and how your mind works is developed. This mind-body connection provides us with a focus on control and precision while realising the full benefits of any given exercise program.
Let's focus on balance, coordination and the functional movement itself.
Have you ever watched the Olympics and wondered how are these gymnasts able to balance on such high beams? Well, the answer is that a lot of their exercise routines involve pilates.
Balance is the ability to maintain position, whereas coordination is the capacity to move through a complex set of movements.
Coordination is a multidimensional skill that requires good balance plus good levels of other fitness components such as strength and agility.
Balance and coordination are closely linked together, therefore, it is important to challenge both. Balance and coordination depend on the interaction of multiple body parts and systems. Hence, a good balance and coordination program results from a strong core with powerful muscle support.
During any given movement joints and segments of the body (cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, hip joints, knee joints, ankle joints) have an effect on each other. When one is moving, it creates a chain of actions in neighbouring joints and segments. This is known as the kinetic chain
Functional movement is the ability to produce and maintain a balance between stability and mobility along the kinetic chain. The functional movements take place during the performance of essential movement patterns with high efficiency and accuracy.
To achieve functional movement many components such as; coordination, balance, flexibility and muscular strength must work in unison. All the above components are crucial to performance and sport-related skills.
I think we would all agree on the fact that everything we do in our day to day lives involves coordination and balance. However, how many of us give it any thought?
I strongly believe that the importance of coordination and balance is often ignored and without doubt is underrated as a form of exercise training. Because it comes naturally to most of us, we take it for granted.
However, if you think about it, being able to keep ourselves in specific positions to complete everyday tasks require coordination and balance (even to sit in a chair we use our balance). Not to mention the high degree of coordination and balance needed for sports.
So how can STOTT PILATES help coordination and balance?
Have you ever tried to challenge your balance statically and dynamically?
Regardless of the answer, in order to function effectively, we require both of them.
Through pilates training, we enhance static and dynamic balance control by specifically increasing our core muscular strength.
STOTT PILATES exercises are performed in a very precise, controlled and slow manner allowing lengthening and strengthening of the muscle fibres.
The series of exercises developed for each session are progressive and done in a way to prepare the body for maximum function by working deeper muscles not normally used in other workouts.
Full range of motion performed in every plane of movement is also being focused on, enabling the joints to use their full capacity in a safe and controlled way.
Mind and Body
In STOTT PILATES, we teach our minds and bodies how to stretch through dynamic movement rather than holding a static stretch.
Effective stretching of the muscles puts less pressure on the joints allowing us to move through life with ease and it helps us to avoid injuries.
During every STOTT PILATES workout, a lot of emphases is put on local stabiliser muscles first, before training the primary mover muscles.
Local stabilisers are the deepest muscles and as the name suggests they work to stabilize the body and its extremities during multi-plane movement.
Once trained correctly they spread the load throughout our bodies instead of putting unnecessary stress onto one or two primary movers (big superficial muscles e.g. rectus abdominis – 6 pack).
In addition, they allow us to be more efficient and powerful athletes, plus they prevent the overuse of our primary movers which can lead to injury or strain.
Essentially, local stabilisers allow us to move with good biomechanics, while the primary movers are more likely to give you the ‘burn' you look for in exercise as they are responsible for moving the load.
During training the stabiliser muscles keep certain parts of the body safe and stable, allowing primary movers to do their job efficiently, utilising greater loads and forces.
Strong local stabilisers allow us to work on our coordination and balance.
STOTT PILATES exercises place a great emphasis on strengthening those muscles by low loads and isolated movements.
Such training allows our body and mind to connect and train in a more efficient way, responding safely to changes such as maintaining or regaining balance and coordination on uneven surfaces.
Increased adaptability and coordination can help decrease the chance of injury from accidents or improper overuse in a particular body movement.
STOTT PILATES balance and flexibility training will improve our coordination making everyday activities effortless while at the same time optimising performance for sports and other exercises, decreasing the risk of injuries, and improving poor postural habits.
After all, LIFE IS A BALANCING ACT
About the Author
My name is Elwira, founder of Elwira Pilates, a brand-new STOTT PILATES studio in Buckinghamshire, UK.
My driving philosophy is to raise the awareness and the benefits of Pilates.
Tailored 1-2-1 sessions are great for increasing athletic performance or specific rehabilitation or correctional issues.
See www.elwirapilates.co.uk for information and to book an initial consultation