Frequently Asked Questions

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General questions

What is Specialist Pilates?

Specialist Pilates is designed and produced by Specialist Chartered Physiotherapists with many years of clinical experience, Masters in advanced Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation to ensure you exercise safely and correctly. Specialist Physiotherapists will guide you through the videos so you can concentrate on performing your exercises in the comfort of your own home or whilst travelling.

What is the difference between traditional Pilates and Specialist Pilates Online?

Our Specialist Pilates Online classes are designed and led by highly specialist Physiotherapists. We have specifically designed routines for a wide range of conditions, sport specific classes and for a range of fitness levels and ages. We recognise that one size doesn’t fit all needs, so we have designed classes for different needs and produced information guides as support.

What are the benefits to practicing Pilates?

Pilates has numerous benefits. Pilates is an effective conditioning form of exercise that combines flexibility, strength, balance, stability, and coordination, endurance and posture re-education exercises with breathing control. These elements combine to challenge the body to improve posture and functional movements in various positions, leading to improved joint mobility and control. The core (trunk) is made up of the diaphragm, abdominals (rectus abdominus, transversus abdominus and obliques), spinal muscles and pelvic floor muscles and all these muscle groups are worked in Pilates. Pilates can provide time out from a busy schedule for you to focus on your body or specific areas of your body you feel require improvement. It is also beneficial as a form of mindful relaxation, providing opportunities to focus on breathing patterns and muscle release. For programmes designed for post-surgical or condition specific rehabilitation, Specialist Physiotherapists guide you through your rehabilitation so you can go at your own pace, helping you return to your activities of interest.

Is Specialist Pilates Online a replacement for attending classes in person?

Specialist Pilates Online has been developed and designed as a resource to help people access Physiotherapy led exercise videos in the comfort of their own home or wherever is convenient to them, away on holiday or at work, safe in the knowledge that they have been designed with medical conditions, injuries and sport specific elements in mind.

Purpose of the Specialist Pilates Online classes

Video’s can be used alongside any classes that people already attend as a top up or extra training in the week Safe for people who are unsure about exercising with a medical conditions or injury but want to exercise at home Helpful for those people who do not have access to a Physiotherapy-led Pilates class near to where they live. A training resource for anyone from beginners to elite sports players. A training resource for health care professionals. Great for patients who maybe can’t attend a class due to mobility issues, fatigue or other medical reasons.

Is Pilates just for Women?

Pilates is also extremely important for men to do as well. Both men and women will experience painful injuries at some point in their life, or suffer with a joint specific or sporting complaint. Pilates is also a good way of looking after your body regardless of your age. Pilates has a reputation for attracting a female following to the principles and training effects but everyone can benefit.

Who is Pilates suitable for?

Specialist Pilates online exercises are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. However, If you are aged 16 or under we recommend that you perform these exercises with permission and supervision from a parent or guardian, or health care professional or specialist if you are under any Consultant care. If you are not a regular exerciser, our programmes will build you up slowly and if you are an elite athlete the programmes will act as a good foundation to keeping your body healthy and as injury prevention. If you are looking to recovery from surgery and want to get moving gently there are programmes that will provide this post-operative rehabilitation. If you have a busy lifestyle and struggle to attend timetabled classes, the Specialist Pilates Online videos provides you with the flexibility to perform your Pilates exercises in your own time, wherever you may be.

How often do I need to practice Pilates?

This can depend on your individual circumstances and what you want to achieve. For general fitness, we suggest 2-3 sessions per week to compliment your other exercise routines, such as gym activities and to condition and train your body to reduce injury risk and improve performance in your favourite sports. If you are either new to exercise, have never exercised before, or recovering from a medical procedure, we recommend that you start with shorter 10-minute programmes which are available and build up your tolerance from there. if you prefer to complete a longer routine, follow our longer video's or even join a few of your favourite videos together to increase your workout. We advise that you always allow for rest days in your week and try to incorporate the posture elements into your daily activities and see how it enhances your movements. Government Exercise guidelines and research encourages that people should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. The Specialist Pilates online catalogue of exercises includes routines of varying duration. This allows you flexibility to exercise around your lifestyle and goals.

Does a Pilates work out ever get easier?

pecialist Pilates online is designed to support you from beginner level to increasingly difficult routines, intermediate, to advanced/ elite levels. The great thing about Pilates is that you will notice routines will start to feel easier with time, or you may notice subtle changes like having better balance on one of your favourite routines, or maybe now you are able to stand on one leg rather than two when doing your exercises. Progress can be measured in many ways, such as how you perform daily tasks, was it easier to do today? Do you feel fitter? Can you stand for longer? Can you now run with less pain? These are all possible functional improvements that come with practising Specialist Pilates regularly. The length of time it takes an individual to improve will depend on numerous factors such as lifestyle and the amount of Pilates practice performed.

What should I wear?

Specialist Pilates Online routines don’t require technical clothing. However, we suggest you wear something that is comfortable that allows you to freely move around in. If you feel the cold, layer up and keep your toes warm with a pair of socks with grips or bare foot is also fine. Gym or active wear is a popular choice.

What are the benefits of using small Pilates equipment?

Equipment can provide additional resistance to add strength, extra challenges to the body or even facilitate movement. It is not essential to have all the equipment we use in our video's and substitutes are suggested in our video's where applicable. You can perform the equipment classes without the specified equipment or use substitutes found around your home, such as tins of beans or bottles of water as hand weights for example.

I have never done Pilates before, can I sign up?

Yes. We recommend you watch the 'Specialist Pilates: Key Elements' video and the 'Pelvic Floor (beginner)' video before you start. Start with beginner level exercises within the category of your choice and you can get started!

I have tried other Pilates classes and other exercise programmes before and my symptoms got worse, is it safe to try these exercises?

Yes, our videos have been made by Specialist Physiotherapists with specific injuries or conditions in mind so they are safe to perform. If symptoms still continue to feel worse, keep to 'beginner' level exercises only and we also advise you speak to your registered GP about your symptoms to have them checked if they persist.

Do I need to have been to one of your classes to be able to do the online classes?

No, you do not need to have been to see us for an assessment or one of our classes in clinic to enjoy the benefits of Specialist Pilates online. Many of our customers are worldwide.

I am under a GP or Consultant, am I allowed to start these exercises?

If you are under a GP or Consultant for any treatment or investigations, always seek their permission before continuing with any exercise based classes. In most instances, Consultants and GP's will fully support a Physiotherapist-led exercise programme based on the benefits and evidence supporting prehabilitation and rehabilitation but it is best to check with them first and show them what you would like to do.

I am enjoying the online classes; can I join a class in person?

Yes, we are based in Bury St. Edmunds (Suffolk) and we offer a range of Pilates class times, days and types of classes such as mat based and reformer classes. For further information about our classes and availability please contact us using the ‘contact us’ section.

Will Pilates help my flexibility?

Yes. With regular practice, improvements to flexibility will happen naturally and gradually and should never be forced. You will start to notice small improvements over time with specific exercises first which will then carry over into daily activities. Bending, reaching and twisting are all important movements the body is designed to make and gentle progression through Specialist Pilates online routines will work towards good body mobility and flexibility. If you are extremely flexible (known as 'hypermobile') we advise that you follow our 'Hypermobility category and avoid over stretching. If you are unsure as to whether you are hypermobile or not you can refer to our Hypermobility information guide or seek a Physiotherapist's assessment.

I have a question about my condition, can you help?

We have provided information guides that can be downloaded from our website on the homepage under the categories and condition lists with further information. If your question is not answered here, you can contact us by using the ‘contact us’ section of the website.


Can I practice Pilates if I'm pregnant?

Yes. As Specialist Physiotherapists we advise people to remain active in pregnancy. Always check with your GP or Midwife first if you have any concerns, you have had any complications during your pregnancy or if you are under consultant review. Further information has been designed by our Specialist Physiotherapists in our pregnancy and postnatal information guide to help you, which can be found on the homepage of our website page. The Specialist Pilates programmes guide you through exercises that will help maintain strength, stability and posture as your body develops through the pregnancy. Evidence supports the importance and benefit of regular exercise through pregnancy including aerobic, strength and flexibility components to benefit both the mother and baby.

Getting started

How do I sign up?

1. Either go to the ' Sign in' section at the top of the website or click the 'subscribe' link in the video feature. 2. Click 'sign up' and follow the online instructions to register an account and pay.

How do I know where to start?

On the homepage of our website, under the 'Let's get started' section we have designed 2 videos that we suggest you start by watching: Specialist Pilates: Key Elements Pelvic Floor (beginner) Then take a look at our categories list to find what you would like, then select your category from the drop down option in the video player feature, or find a video by typing in a search term.

How can I search for videos I want to find?

Within the video feature on the website, there is a drop down function allowing you to select your videos by category. There are a range of categories to try: General Classes, Sport Specific, Spinal, Orthopaedics, Women's and Men's health, Cancer Rehabilitation, Senior's, Pregnancy, Post natal, Hypermobility and Autoimmune disorders, Neurology. You could also try a search term (by the magnifying symbol) to find videos by ability level: beginner, intermediate or advanced, or by a search term such as: 'knee', 'shoulder' 'flexibility', 'chair based' etc. If you prefer, you could search by Specialist Physiotherapist allowing you to select the name of your preferred Physiotherapist: Hayley Jarvill or Anna Clayton

Can I select videos by Physiotherapist?

Yes, if you have a preferred Physiotherapist, you can find their videos by entering the Physiotherapists name in the search bar within the video feature on the website.

Can I rent video?

Yes, you can rent individual videos for £2.99 for up to 48 hours

If I am fit and healthy with no medical conditions, which Channel is best suited for me?

If you are injury, pain and free of any medical condition, the most suitable channel for you would be ‘General Classes’ where you can enjoy a range of classes or if you have a particular sporting interest you can combine classes with the Sport Specific classes too.

How do I know if a video is suitable for me, or covers what I need?

Each video is designed and organised into appropriate levels and category type our Specialist Physiotherapists so you can simply concentrate on your exercises. Alternatively, check the categories list on our main website page to find where your medical condition or exercise type is listed, then go to the appropriate category from there. We recommend that you always start with the introductory ‘ Specialist Pilates: Key elements’ video and the ‘ Pelvic Floor (beginner)’ video regardless of your fitness level as a refresher and follow any 'beginner' labelled exercises in your category for 6-12 weeks, before trying higher levels. You can also contact us, using the ' contact us' submission form with any further queries.

What videos do I follow if I have more than one medical condition?

If you have more than one medical condition, or you have conditions that come under two or more categories, for example, if you have low back pain, but you also have arthritic joints. We suggest you start with the beginner back pain exercises first to settle your most acute symptoms first, and then start on the video's in the Orthopaedic or Seniors category as maintenance or address any underlying problems. If you are unsure of what video's to follow, use our information guides to help you or refer to our condition specific frequently asked questions sections for help. Alternatively, you can contact us using the ' contact us' page of the website for further assistance.

How long should I carry on doing these exercises?

Our professional advice is that we recommend that you continue doing a Physio-led Pilates programme lifelong to maintain a healthy lifestyle, prevent recurrence of injuries and to remain strong, healthy and pain free. In terms of progressing your exercises, if you feel the exercises have become too easy, we have a range of ability level exercises to try or alternatively move on to our Specialist Pilates online small equipment videos to further challenge you. We regularly update our library with new content and you can be notified of when new videos are added if you sign up to the mailing list on the main page of our website.

Are the videos supported on any device?

yes, our website and videos are compatible with most devices out there. If you are using a computer or mobile devices and you happen to experience any problems, always ensure that your are using the most up to date online browsers as Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox to ensure you get the best experience and check your internet speeds. You can also connect your laptop via an HDMI cable to your TV to watch your videos if you wish to.

Subscription questions

How do I renew my subscription?

Your subscription will continue for the foreseeable unless you decide to cancel your subscription or your payment details expire for any reason. Please ensure you keep your correct payment details up to date to avoid any breaks in your subscription.

How do I cancel my subscription?

To cancel your subscription, users should sign in via the Wix Video player sign in feature and cancel their subscriptions manually from there. 1. Make sure you are logged into your account 2. Click the profile picture icon 3. A window will pop up and select ‘cancel my subscription’ 4. Press cancel my subscription, a 'are you sure you want to perform this?' message will pop up 5. Click 'yes', your subscription will be cancelled straight away, but please note you won’t receive any email confirmation. If you cancel your subscription it will cancel with immediate effect

Can I cancel my subscription at any time?

Yes there are no contracts. You can cancel your subscription anytime.

I have another question? How do I contact you?

You can contact us by email using the ‘contact us’ section of the website. Once you have submitted your question, one of our Chartered Specialist Physiotherapists will get back to you as soon as possible.

Hypermobility and Autoimmune Conditions

Can I do the Specialist Pilates Online videos if I have hypermobility?

Yes. As Specialist Physiotherapists we highly recommended that if you have hypermobility you train your body to keep control of the extra flexibility and movement in the body, particularly at the joints affected. Individuals with hypermobility can experience higher pain levels generally and this can often be interpreted as a reason to stop or avoid certain movements. By reducing the amount joints are over stretched (typically, hyperextension or hyperflexion), the joint health will be preserved. Working on control of the movement will enable muscles to support the joints during movement. For further information refer to our Hypermobility information guide.

Cancer-related questions

I have just been diagnosed with cancer, can I do any exercise?

Yes. You may have been given a lot of information to consider and digest, but wherever possible try to remain as physically active to help you through. Evidence strongly supports the importance of exercise in maintaining strength flexibility and mobility as a form of treatment to help get people through treatments or surgery with fewer side effects and complications. Our Specialist Pilates Online programmes have been specifically designed by our Cancer Rehabilitation Physiotherapy experts to guide you through our range of prescriptive exercises. Further information can be found in our ‘Cancer rehabilitation information guide’. You can always talk to your oncologist, specialist nurse or GP if you have any concerns or to check if it’s safe for you to start exercising.

I am starting my chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatment, is exercise ok?

Yes. You may find that you experience changes and fluctuations in your levels of fatigue and other side effects such as nausea and joint discomfort during treatment. This is common and is often cyclical depending on your type, frequency and length of any treatments. On your better days or weeks, you could choose a longer routine to perform (e.g 20 minute class) and aim to perform a class 2-3 times a week. On less energetic days, the 5 or 10-minute Specialist Pilates routines will help with movement without overdoing it. For further ideas refer to our Cancer Rehabilitation guide on our home page.

I am part way through chemotherapy and I struggle with energy, what can I do?

Chemotherapy treatment affects individuals very differently, even if people have similar treatment plans. Cancer related fatigue is very common but not necessarily eased with sleep. Exercise has been shown to alleviate intense fatigue and help manage symptoms. Try some shorter (5-10 minute) programmes and dip into bite size routines as you can manage. For further ideas on how to manage fatigue refer to our Cancer Rehabilitation guide on our home page.

I have peripheral neuropathy symptoms, how will Specialist Pilates help?

Peripheral neuropathy is a frequently reported side effect of chemotherapy which is experienced to varying levels that can impact on the function of your hands and feet. Our Specialist Pilates online programmes have been designed by our experts alongside the latest evidence in exercise medicine to help manage peripheral neuropathy symptoms by working on endurance and balance. For further information please refer to our Cancer Rehabilitation guide on our home page.

I am due to have abdominal/breast/other surgery, what can I do to become more conditioned to help recovery?

Prehabilitation is important for any surgery. Our Specialist Pilates online programmes have been expertly designed by our Cancer Rehabilitation Physiotherapists to allow you to help prepare your body for surgery, as well as post-operative rehabilitation. Evidence supports the benefits of being as fit as you can be prior to surgery to reduce the length of your hospital stay, reduce your risk of any post-operative complications and help improve your overall recovery and reduce longer term issues.

I have had my surgery, am I safe to exercise?

Always speak to your surgeon first to discuss a safe timescale to resume activity and to ensure it is safe to exercise, especially if you experienced any complications from surgery in case your discharge plan has changed. Always ensure your surgical site is well maintained with no active signs of infection, bleeding or weeping that would prevent you from exercising safely and that you feel well enough to start. If you have an active local or systemic (whole body) infection, it is better to rest and recover before trying to do too much exercise. If you are ready to start, our Specialist Pilates Online programmes provide a gentle progressive form of exercise to encourage scar tissue to lengthen and stretch helping your body to heal and not lead to longer term restrictions in your joint mobility. For further information or top tips please refer to our Cancer Rehabilitation guide.

My treatment has finished, what do I do now?

If your treatment has finished and you feel ready to start exercising, our Specialist Pilates Online programmes are a great way to safely and gently start exercising to reduce your risk of recurrence and to help manage the onset of reported longer term problems linked with having had cancer treatments such as Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, joint restrictions, pain and pelvic floor weakness. Our programmes are also used longer term to compliment your other sports, hobbies or daily activities as a maintenance programme and you can work your way through various levels of ability to constantly challenge your body to continuing work on body conditioning. Remember it is never too late to start exercising!

Sport-specific questions

I have had repeated injuries, is Specialist Pilates Online likely to help?

Our Specialist Pilates Online sport-specific category has been uniquely designed to combine pilates principles with controlled movements required for your respective sport. Our programmes can help address underlying injuries by working on areas of your body prone to stiffness, weakness, overuse or even underuse in specific sports, prevent future injury risk if performed long term and address common complaints reported to us as Physiotherapists, which can often stop a person performing their best in their chosen sport. Our programmes can help you get back on track and enable you to continue your fitness journey, return to your sport or even improve your sport performance.

Spinal-related questions

I have herniated discs in my back. Can I do Pilates and is it good for/safe for my back?

As Specialist Physiotherapists, and as evidence supports, exercising correctly is extremely important for back pain management, including disc pathology (disc bulges and prolapses). Sometimes, patients require pain medications from their GP’s, to control symptoms to enable them to begin exercising but not always. It is better to try and exercise with the minimum level of pain relief to avoid masking your symptoms and experiencing flare ups later on, so you can exercise by listening to your symptoms sensing when to stop. On days symptoms are exacerbated always follow shorter and beginner level exercises, and slowly build up as your tolerance, symptoms and fitness ability allows over time. It is helpful for long term management of back pain to resume normal movement, posture correction and strength as soon as practical so muscles are not inhibited by pain which can otherwise alter normal movements. For further information please see our Spinal information guide. **WARNING ** If you experience any red flag symptoms (see below) associated with your herniated or disc prolapse, always seek urgent medical attention. Loss of sensation or tingling in your genitals and inner thighs Numbness in and around your buttocks and back passage Loss of sensation when wiping yourself with toilet paper Increasing difficulty when you urinate Increasing difficulty when you try to stop or control your flow of urine Loss of sensation when you pass urine Leaking urine or recent need to use pads Not knowing when your bladder is either full or empty Inability to stop a bowel movement or leaking Loss of sensation when you pass a bowel motion Change in ability to achieve an erection or ejaculate Loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse

I have recently had surgery. Am I able to start/resume Pilates?

If you have been discharged by the medical team or inpatient physiotherapist, you are likely to have been given some guidance of exercises to continue at home or advised when you can commence exercise again. If not, our Specialist Pilates Online Spinal routines will provide you with this starting point, especially if you select our ‘beginner’ level exercises and progress from there.

Can Pilates help with lower back pain?

Our Specialist Pilates online back pain videos have been specifically designed by our expert Physiotherapists who have had many years of rehabilitating patients with acute symptoms (less than 6 weeks) to chronic back pain (longer than 6 months of symptoms) and our classes can help both recover from an episode and even manage symptoms longer term. Our videos focus on improving core strength, flexibility, posture, balance and coordination, all essential elements that need to be addressed to overcome a back pain episode and prevent recurrence. Applying the core activation and posture elements of our videos can help reduce and eliminate back pain when at home and work or when performing tasks such as picking up children or heavier items. If you are suffering with an acute flare up of symptoms you may feel too uncomfortable to move and initial rest, pain relief and general mobility can start in the early days after a flare up. As soon as symptoms ease from the intense pain, we advise you start exercising and returning to normal and work activities as soon as possible. To help manage the symptoms during a flare up, try our beginner back pain videos.