Stott Pilates is a contemporary style of Pilates developed by Lindsay and Moira Merrithew, along with their team of sports medicine, physical therapy and fitness professionals [i]. Formerly known as Stott Conditioning, the exercise system is now a division of the Merrithew Health & Fitness Group. Its sister brands include ZEN•GA, Total Barre and CORE Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training.
The Stott method aims at restoring the natural curvatures of the spine and rebalancing the muscles surrounding the joints. It still adheres to the major principles of Pilates—breathing, concentration, fluidity of movement—but is distinguished by its approach to postural alignment, exercise sequencing and the use of props.
According to the Merrithew website, there are five underlying principles of Stott Pilates:
- Breathing: Proper breathing ensures circulation, prevents tension and enhances focus.
- Pelvic Placement: Neutral and imprinted positions stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine.
- Ribcage Placement: Ribcage positioning affects the alignment of the thoracic spine.
- Shoulder Stability: Stabilizing the scapulae helps to avoid strain in the neck and upper shoulders.
- Head & Neck Placement: Proper placement of the cervical spine ensures its natural curvature.
The largest point of difference between Stott and Joseph Pilates’ method is the approach to postural alignment. While the classical method utilizes an imprinted spine, or flat back, during exercise, the Stott method focuses on maintaining a neutral spine, or natural curvature of the back [ii]. In Stott classes, individuals maintain the neutral alignment whenever one foot is on the floor. When both feet are in the air, however, they use the imprinted alignment.
Stott offers the following programs for certification, professional development and continuing education: comprehensive, intensive, functional anatomy, advanced, injuries & special populations (ISP), rehab, and specialist.
Each program covers a variety of subjects, including the five basic principles of Stott Pilates; effective communication and observation skills; verbal cuing and imagery for enhanced performance and motivation; postural analysis; modifications for body types, postural issues and other conditions; and exercise layering [iii].
Instructors may choose to supplement their training with introductory and continuing education workshops, which cover everything from sports and athletic conditioning to programming for diverse populations.
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[i] “Stott Pilates.” Merrithew Corporation. www.merrithew.com/stott-pilates/method. Accessed Jan. 20,2014.
[ii] “What Is the Difference Between Pilates and Stott Pilates?” Livestrong. www.livestrong.com/article/38767-difference-between-pilates-stott/. Accessed Jan. 20, 2014.
[iii] “Stott Pilates.” Merrithew Corporation.