The Stott Pilates method is a modern update of Joseph Pilates' original method. While the original Pilates required that a person keep her back flat on the mat or equipment while doing the exercises, the Stott Pilates method keeps the spine curved as it is naturally. Additionally, the method features more modifications for each exercise, recognizing that people come in a variety of body shapes and physical abilities. Stott Pilates equipment includes Reformers, mats, and stability balls.
There are five basic principles to the Stott Pilates method: breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, shoulder stability, and head and neck placement. Breathing properly throughout the routine ensures that a person's muscles get enough oxygen to function properly. It also works a person's abdominal muscles and strengthens her core. Keeping the head, neck, hips and rib cage aligned properly prevents injury during the exercise routine. Stott Pilates equipment is designed to fulfill these principles during a person's workout.
Unlike other types of exercise machines, Stott Pilates equipment uses springs for resistance during workouts instead of weights. Each spring on the Reformer provides five pounds (2.26 kg) of resistance for every inch (2.54 cm) the spring is pulled. A person can figure out the amount of resistance the Reformer provides by multiplying the number of springs she is using by the amount they are stretched. Stott Pilates equipment designed for use in a gym or fitness club and for use in the home has five springs on each Reformer: four springs provide full tension and one provides half tension.
Types of Stott Pilates equipment designed for home use include balls, bands and rings. The Flex-Band is available in a variety of strengths and is designed to provide a resistance similar to that of the Reformer, but for a much smaller price. Stott stability balls allow a person to improve her balance while increasing her upper body strength. Smaller stability balls help a person maintain and improve her posture.
The Fitness Circle is a 12 to 14 inch (30.5-35.5 cm) wide steel circle designed to improve a person's posture and alignment as well as awareness of herself during her exercise. A Fitness Circle is only meant to give a person a bit of resistance. She should not squeeze the circle as hard as she can during a workout. The Fitness Circle features two latex grips on each side so that a person can hold it firmly and comfortably during a routine.