San Francisco – Pilates

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2410 California St, Suite A
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 236-0976

Serving the Bay Area, including Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Marina, Financial District, Sunset and Mission District

Services include Fitness, Online Classes, Pilates, Rehabilitation (Lower Back; Extremities; Post-Breast Cancer Treatment). Brands include Balanced Body.
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Why Trust Diamond Certified Pilates Studio Rated Highest in Quality?

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a pilates studio that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified pilates studio. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated pilates studio and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you'll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you'll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

How to Choose
Finding the Best Pilates Studio in San Francisco for You

If you're looking for a new type of exercise that is low-impact, can improve your balance and coordination, will give you a more streamlined appearance, and is doable by all ages and ability levels, then you may be a good candidate to try Pilates....

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If you're looking for a new type of exercise that is low-impact, can improve your balance and coordination, will give you a more streamlined appearance, and is doable by all ages and ability levels, then you may be a good candidate to try Pilates.

Pilates, pronounced pih-LAH-tees, is a fitness movement that was developed in the 1920s and is still growing in popularity. It is known for providing the same metabolism boost, circulatory benefits, and improvement in muscle tone as many other kinds of exercise and also integrates the centering and awareness of Yoga and martial arts.

Pilates studios are available throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area, particularly in larger cities such as Bernal Heights, Bayview, Richmond District and Nob Hill and other bigger population centers. However, the popularity and universal appeal of this form of bodywork means that you may also be able to find Pilates instructors in Potrero Flats, Noe Valley, Haight-Ashbury, the Castro, Fort Mason and Outer Richmond and other more rural areas.

The articles below will give you more information about what Pilates is, what it can do for you, and how to find good Pilates studios in San Francisco to learn the specialized movements.

What Can Pilates Do for You?
The Pilates method was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, and was originally known as Contrology. Pilates went on to teach his method to dancers and performing artists, who were looking to strengthen their core muscles and achieve leaner, stronger muscles.

Pilates can be performed on a mat (known as mat exercises) or using special equipment that provides resistance and allows the practitioner to use their own body weight as a resistive force. Apparatus including the Pilates Reformer, the Wunda Chair, the Magic Circle, Pilates Barrels and the Cadillac. All of the movements and machines are designed to help the practitioner strengthen their core muscles (often referred to as the Powerhouse in Pilates)—the muscle groups that include the abdominal muscles, back muscles and pelvic muscles that provide stability and strength to the spine.

Pilates is celebrated for its wide appeal among people of all ages, ability levels and needs. The Pilates Method is gentle and uses your own body for resistance, so there is little chance of muscle strain or injury if you are performing the movements correctly.

Pilates is known for the following benefits:

  • Strengthening the core/Powerhouse muscles
  • Strengthening and lengthening muscles throughout the body
  • Better posture
  • Improved metabolism and possibly weight loss
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better respiratory and circulatory function
  • Improved bone density
  • Improved muscle tone
  • A sense of calm, centeredness and body awareness
  • More fluid movement 
  • Increased coordination and balance
  • More flexibility and stronger muscles

Whether you are in Nob Hill, North Beach, the Sunset District, SOMA and the Bayview District or another area, Pilates gyms offer challenging and safe workouts taught by certified Pilates instructors.

The following articles offer questions you can ask and tips to follow when evaluating San Francisco Pilates studios and Pilates instructors.

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Know What You Want
Think About What You Want from Your San Francisco Pilates Studio

Pilates practitioners have many different reasons for using the Pilates method. Some want to learn Pilates for weight loss, others want to strengthen their core for better posture, gain advantage in other sports, improve their flexibility and muscle tone, or even strengthen muscles after injury or illness....

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Pilates practitioners have many different reasons for using the Pilates method. Some want to learn Pilates for weight loss, others want to strengthen their core for better posture, gain advantage in other sports, improve their flexibility and muscle tone, or even strengthen muscles after injury or illness.

Likewise, individuals who take Pilates classes in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area have different expectations of the process and of the Pilates instructor who teaches them. Some want a first-generation Pilates instructor who learned the method from Joseph Pilates himself.

Some expect one-on-one attention from a hands-on teacher to give them corrections and physical examples of proper posture, while others are happy with group Pilates mat classes to give them verbal pointers. Pilates equipment such as the Reformer or Cadillac may or may not be important to some practitioners, and some people want a full-scale Pilates studio to train in while others simply want to learn mat exercises they can do at home.

Because the options are so varied, it's important to think about exactly what you want and expect from your Pilates studio or Pilates instructor before you contact San Francisco Pilates studios in Pacific Heights, North Beach, Excelsior District and the Sunset District or near you.

The following list of sample questions will get you started as you narrow down what you're looking for in a Pilates studio.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified Pilates instructor or Pilates studio in San Francisco that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
  2. Am I looking for a Pilates studio in the Tenderloin, the Excelsior District, and Bernal Heights or near my home? How far am I willing to travel to work out with the Pilates instructor that best suits my needs?
  3. Do I want one-on-one Pilates classes, semi-private classes or group classes?
  4. Why am I looking for a Pilates teacher in San Francisco? Do I want to learn a new low-impact form of exercise, to lose weight, to strengthen my core and improve my posture, to regain my strength after a sports injury or illness, to look better and feel better, etc.
  5. Do I have any preexisting medical conditions or muscular-skeletal injuries or problems that may impact my ability to practice Pilates? (Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.)
  6. Do I have a preference for my Pilates teacher's gender? Am I more comfortable with a male or female Pilates instructor?
  7. Do I want a first-generation or second-generation Pilates instructor, or will any certified Pilates teacher be adequate for my needs?
  8. What personal and professional characteristics do I want to find in the ideal Pilates teacher? (You may be looking for a Pilates coach who is certified, gentle, precise, experienced in helping clients get the results you're looking for, motivating, adept at driving clients to succeed, etc.)
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What to Ask on the Phone
Questions to Ask Local Pilates Instructors Over the Phone

Now that you know what you're looking for from the Pilates studio you eventually attend, it's time to start looking around at your options. Chances are good that you'll have several options to choose from if you live in a larger city such as Sunset District, Richmond District and Mission District or another populous area of San Francisco. However, if you live in Russian Hill, the Presido, Treasure Island, West Portal and Sea Cliff or a rural area, your choices may be more limited....

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Now that you know what you're looking for from the Pilates studio you eventually attend, it's time to start looking around at your options. Chances are good that you'll have several options to choose from if you live in a larger city such as Sunset District, Richmond District and Mission District or another populous area of San Francisco. However, if you live in Russian Hill, the Presido, Treasure Island, West Portal and Sea Cliff or a rural area, your choices may be more limited.

The following questions are some that you can ask when interviewing Pilates instructors or representatives of local Pilates studios over the phone. You'll want to take notes on the answers and impressions you get from talking with each, as you will want to visit the stand-out studios in person before making your final decision.

  1. Have your Pilates studio and Pilates instructors earned and maintained a Diamond Certified rating?
  2. Are you a certified Pilates instructor with current certification and continuing education requirements?
  3. What Pilates training program did you complete?
  4. Are you a first generation Pilates instructor (trained by Joseph Pilates himself), a second-generation Pilates instructor (trained by a first generation Pilates instructor), or do you simply hold a Pilates instructor certification earned by studying under another Pilates teacher?
  5. How long have you been a Pilates instructor in San Francisco?
  6. How many years have you been teaching Pilates in total?
  7. Are you trained and certified to teach me how to use all pieces of Pilates equipment, or do you just offer Pilates mat training?
  8. Can you offer Pilates workouts that meet my needs? (This may include private Pilates sessions, Pilates group sessions, Pilates workouts for lower back pain, core strengthening, Pilates training for improvement in another sport, Pilates training for people with muscle or skeletal problems, etc.)
  9. Are openings immediately available in your Pilates studio and the classes I'm interested in taking? Or is there a waiting list?
  10. Can I visit your San Francisco Pilates studio to see the facility and the equipment, meet the teachers and see the classes in progress?
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What to Ask in Person
Talk Face-to-Face with San Francisco Pilates Instructors

Now is the time to visit the best Pilates studios in San Francisco, including those in Bernal Heights, Bayview, Richmond District and Nob Hill and other areas near you. Your research should have given you a good idea of which local Pilates teachers and gyms can best meet your needs.

You'll want to use this opportunity to look over the facilities and the equipment, see a class or two in action and ask a few final questions of the studio staff or Pilates coaches before making a decision on which studio most deserves your membership....

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Now is the time to visit the best Pilates studios in San Francisco, including those in Bernal Heights, Bayview, Richmond District and Nob Hill and other areas near you. Your research should have given you a good idea of which local Pilates teachers and gyms can best meet your needs.

You'll want to use this opportunity to look over the facilities and the equipment, see a class or two in action and ask a few final questions of the studio staff or Pilates coaches before making a decision on which studio most deserves your membership.

Questions you may want to ask during the tour are listed below.

  1. What type of Pilates do you recommend for me? (For example, mat training, Pilates equipment training, individualized Pilates instruction, Pilates group classes, Pilates for weight loss, Reformer training, etc.)
  2. Will you offer hands-on correction and training, or do you simply talk to the whole class rather than give one-on-one correction and advice?
  3. What Pilates equipment will you recommend for me (Pilates mat exercises, the Reformer, the Pilates Chair, the Cadillac, the Magic Circle, etc.)?
  4. Do you recommend that I take individual/personal Pilates classes with one-on-one instruction, or will semi-private or group classes be fine for my needs?
  5. If I want to take group classes or semi-private Pilates classes, can I take one or two individualized classes to learn proper technique before enrolling in group Pilates mat classes?
  6. Can I watch a session at your San Francisco Pilates gym before deciding to enroll in classes?
  7. Does your Pilates center offer package rates, annual memberships or monthly rates for Pilates classes? If so, does that cover private, semi-private or group classes? Am I allowed to use all of the equipment, or do package rates only apply to Pilates mat classes?
  8. Will you give me references that I can call?
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What to Ask References
Learn About Local Pilates Studios from Client References

It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified Pilates studios because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most others can’t pass. If you want a quality Pilates instructor in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, choosing a Diamond Certified company will give you added confidence....

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It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified Pilates studios because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most others can’t pass. If you want a quality Pilates instructor in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, choosing a Diamond Certified company will give you added confidence.

They make the choice easier for you by providing Diamond Certified reports online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

If you can’t find a Diamond Certified Pilates studio within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by the Pilates centers  in Nob Hill, North Beach, the Sunset District, SOMA and the Bayview District or beyond that you are considering joining.

You should be aware that references provided to you by San Francisco Pilates studios are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. Companies often cherry-pick the names of a few satisfied customers to give to potential new clients, instead of randomly selecting names from their customer database.

For this reason, specifically ask for a list of the Pilates center's 10 most recent customers to call as references. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only clients they know are satisfied.

Sample questions to get you started include these:

  1. Were you happy with the Pilates instruction from this San Francisco Pilates center or Pilates instructor?
  2. Did you attend private Pilates sessions, semi-private classes or group classes?
  3. Did you use any Pilates equipment (such as the Reformer, Chair or Cadillac) or did you solely take Pilates mat classes?
  4. How long did you attend/have you been a member of this Pilates gym?
  5. Did you feel that you received the amount of attention and instruction you expected?
  6. Do you feel that the membership rates or class fees were fair for the value you received from this San Francisco Pilates studio?
  7. Is the studio clean and tidy? Do you feel like it is well-maintained?
  8. Is the location of this San Francisco Pilates studio convenient? Is there good parking available in the area?
  9. If you used any of the Pilates equipment, were you satisfied with the condition of the apparatus?
  10. What did you like best about your instructor and this Pilates studio?
  11. Was there anything you were displeased with?
  12. Have you recommended this Pilates center to friends or family?
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Review Your Options
Choose the Best Pilates Instructor in San Francisco

Before deciding on the best Pilates instructor in San Francisco for you, it’s important to review your notes and consider the following questions....

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Before deciding on the best Pilates instructor in San Francisco for you, it’s important to review your notes and consider the following questions.

  1. Can any of the Pilates studios or Pilates instructors in Pacific Heights, North Beach, Excelsior District and the Sunset District or your area of San Francisco meet your needs in terms of Pilates classes, Pilates equipment, scheduling, membership requirements, convenient location, and personal requirements?
  2. Does one of the Pilates centers stand out above the rest after all of the research you've done?
  3. Does one Pilates center offer better location, classes, or value based on rates and services than the others?
  4. Is there a Pilates teacher in San Francisco that is dedicated to helping you learn the Pilates method and helping you achieve your goals?
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How to Work With
What to Look for in a Good San Francisco Pilates Instructor

Pilates studios in the Tenderloin, the Excelsior District, and Bernal Heights and the rest of San Francisco will have different strengths, various class offerings and different Pilates instructors. However, it's your right to find challenging and safe Pilates instruction with a teacher who understands their craft and your needs.

While Pilates is prized for being safe and accessible to all ages and experience levels, it is essential that you find a certified Pilates instructor who understands the craft and is able to translate that to guiding your movements....

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Pilates studios in the Tenderloin, the Excelsior District, and Bernal Heights and the rest of San Francisco will have different strengths, various class offerings and different Pilates instructors. However, it's your right to find challenging and safe Pilates instruction with a teacher who understands their craft and your needs.

While Pilates is prized for being safe and accessible to all ages and experience levels, it is essential that you find a certified Pilates instructor who understands the craft and is able to translate that to guiding your movements.

There are a few ways you can evaluate San Francisco Pilates coaches to ensure that you're getting the best instruction.

First, find out what kind and how much Pilates training your coach has. Are they a first-generation or second-generation Pilates instructor trained by Joseph Pilates himself or one of his proteges? Or are have they completed another form of comprehensive Pilates instructor training? Being a true, certified Pilates instructor takes months of dedicated study. Pilates equipment teachers should have at least 450 hours of training.

Then, look to see if your instructor meets the following criteria that good San Francisco Pilates coaches should strive for:

  • Did/does the Pilates instructor take time to talk with you before class to learn about your goals, weaknesses, experience, phyical or medical history, and other factors that may impact your Pilates workout?
  • Does the instructor take steps to make sure he or she is giving you directions you can understand?
  • Does your San Francisco Pilates coach give you physical corrections or otherwise provide hands-on training and adjustments while you work out?
  • Do you get at least some personal attention in your Pilates class, even if it is a group class?
  • Is the Pilates instructor obviously competent and knowledgeable about Pilates workouts, equipment and teaching? Does he or she act professionally and provide a positive workout experience?
  • Do the coaches or instructors at the San Francisco Pilates studio you've chosen check in with you after class to see how your workout felt and whether you have any questions, concerns or observations?
  • Do you feel that this instructor motivates you to achieve your full potential when it comes to working out and learning the Pilates Method?

If you don't feel that you're receiving the best instruction and teaching methods from your San Francisco Pilates coach, it's up to you to discuss with them a solution or to find a new Pilates instructor that meets your needs. Remember, it is natural to feel a little unsure at the start of a new physical fitness routine, but your Pilates teacher is there to show you the methods and movements that will work best for you. You deserve to feel comfortable with and motivated by the San Francisco Pilates instructor you're working with.

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Be a Good Customer
Good Pilates Studio Members Benefit By Being Reasonable and Honest

Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when working with San Francisco Pilates instructors in Sunset District, Richmond District and Mission District or your area....

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Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when working with San Francisco Pilates instructors in Sunset District, Richmond District and Mission District or your area.

  • Be clear and upfront with your Pilates instructor. Let them know what you want from your Pilates gym membership, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
  • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way in forming a friendly working relationship.
  • Before you sign a contract with a Pilates studio in San Francisco, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local Pilates instructors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
  • Pay for the Pilates gym membership or Pilates personal training sessions on time as agreed upon in your contract or membership paperwork.

Why would you want to be a good customer?
Pilates instructors in Bernal Heights, Bayview, Richmond District and Nob Hill and the rest of San Francisco appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved. 

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Check the Work
Read Over the Pilates Studio Contract Before Signing It

You will probably be asked to sign a contract or membership agreement when you join a Pilates studio in San Francisco. This may be an agreement for drop-in classes, a short-term contract or even a long-term Pilates gym membership.

This document should outline the expectations for both you and the Pilates studio, and it should include all of the facts about your agreement and the promises you are making. Never sign a blank or incomplete contract, and keep a copy of the final agreement signed by both you and the Pilates center representative....

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You will probably be asked to sign a contract or membership agreement when you join a Pilates studio in San Francisco. This may be an agreement for drop-in classes, a short-term contract or even a long-term Pilates gym membership.

This document should outline the expectations for both you and the Pilates studio, and it should include all of the facts about your agreement and the promises you are making. Never sign a blank or incomplete contract, and keep a copy of the final agreement signed by both you and the Pilates center representative.

For your protection and that of the Pilates studio or San Francisco Pilates instructor, read over the document carefully and make sure that any contract or membership document you sign includes the following:

  • The Pilates studio name, physical address and license number.
  • A complete list of  requirements for membership or admittance.
  • An explanation of the length of the contract and what you have to do to cancel the membership.
  • Details about the Pilates gym hours, class times and Pilates instructors.
  • An explanation of when dues must be paid.
  • Any other terms and agreements that impact your rights and responsibilities at or toward the San Francisco Pilates gym.
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Top 10 Requests
Popular Pilates Workouts and Equipment in San Francisco

The offerings and equipment at local Pilates gyms vary depending on the studio, location and skill of the Pilates instructors, so you'll want to check with your local SF Pilates studios to see which offers the services and Pilates workout packages you want.

The list of Pilates equipment, workouts and services listed below are some of the more popular requests of Pilates students in San Francisco, including those living in Nob Hill, North Beach, the Sunset District, SOMA and the Bayview District and other areas....

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The offerings and equipment at local Pilates gyms vary depending on the studio, location and skill of the Pilates instructors, so you'll want to check with your local SF Pilates studios to see which offers the services and Pilates workout packages you want.

The list of Pilates equipment, workouts and services listed below are some of the more popular requests of Pilates students in San Francisco, including those living in Nob Hill, North Beach, the Sunset District, SOMA and the Bayview District and other areas.

Pilates Classes
Pilates classes at studios in San Francisco include group mat classes, semi-private classes and private sessions with one-on-one Pilates coaches. The rates for Pilates classes can vary greatly, so compare the class descriptions to be sure that the classes you are signing up for meet your needs. If you live in Pacific Heights, North Beach, Excelsior District and the Sunset District or another larger city, you may find many Pilates classes available. Residents of smaller towns such as Cow Hollow, the Financial District, Glen Park, Golden Gate Park, Japantown and Laurel Heights and other rural areas may have fewer options.

Pilates Mat Workout
The mat is the most important and basic Pilates apparatus. Most powerhouse and abdominal exercises are done on the mat. Mat workouts in Pilates include exercises that target the stomach, lower back, obliques, and other muscle groups. This workout can be done by beginners or advanced Pilates students, as the exercises rely on isometrics and your own body weight to lengthen and strengthen muscles.

Pilates Reformer Machine
The Reformer is a specialized Pilates machine that is made of a gliding platform, springs, straps and pulleys. The Reformer is used by a student kneeling, sitting, standing, or lying on their front, back or side. The straps and springs are adjustable, and more than 100 different exercises are possible on the one single piece of equipment. The Reformer uses resistance and one's own body weight to lengthen and strengthen muscles to create a lean, strong look.

Pilates Machines / Pilates Equipment
Pilates machines and equipment including barrels, the Wunda Chair (also known as the Pilates Chair), the Reformer, the Cadillac, the Pilates ball and other apparatuses are used along with the Pilates mat to provide practitioners with a full-body Pilates workout.

Pilates Chair
The Wunda Chair was invented by Joseph Pilates. It allows Pilates students to mimic the movements of Chinese acrobats. The Wunda Chair can be used as a box or chair to enable exercises that strengthen muscles and improve balance in the arms, upper body and torso.

Pilates Studios in San Francisco
Pilates has become a favorite form of exercise for people of all ages and ability levels. It can be done using the Pilates mat or Pilates equipment, at home or in a Pilates studio. Many individuals prefer hiring a certified Pilates instructors at Pilates studios in San Francisco.

Pilates Instructor
Certified Pilates instructors may teach private, semi-private, group or individual classes at San Francisco Pilates studios. Instructors may be first-generation Pilates teachers (taught by a direct protege of Joseph Pilates), second-generation teachers (taught by a first-generation teacher), or certified through a training program.

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If Things Go Wrong
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee for Pilates Instructors

Diamond Certified companies are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the Pilates instructor you’ve hired or the San Francisco Pilates studio you've joined is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve a conflict or problem by talking with the instructor of studio owner, contact the American Ratings Corporation mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138....

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Diamond Certified companies are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the Pilates instructor you’ve hired or the San Francisco Pilates studio you've joined is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve a conflict or problem by talking with the instructor of studio owner, contact the American Ratings Corporation mediation department at info@diamondcertified.org or call 800-738-1138.

Easy Ways To End Conflict with San Francisco Pilates Studios
Your careful research and reviewing process should ensure that you have a positive experience dealing with the San Francisco Pilates studio and instructor of your choice.

Unfortunately, sometimes problems or conflicts occur with workout facilities of any kind, including San Francisco Pilates studios. That's why it's important to know what to do if you have difficulties with your Pilates instructor or studio.

The tips below will give you a starting place for handling your disagreements and getting your Pilates workouts back on track.

  • Don't wait to tell your San Francisco Pilates instructor or studio if you are unhappy or unsatisfied with their services. You can usually head off bigger problems in the future by being upfront with your Pilates instructor as soon as concerns arise.
  • Document your complaints in writing. Keep a written record of when you spoke with your San Francisco Pilates teacher, what your concerns were and how they addressed the issue.
  • Document any physical problems resulting from inaccurate teaching methods or shoddy equipment, including doctors reports.
  • Set a deadline for resolution, and hold your Pilates instructor to that date.
  • Report any egregious concerns to the California State Attorney General and other licensing boards.
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Glossary of Terms
Pilates Terms and Definitions

The following terms are those used by Pilates teachers and practitioners. They will get you started in better understanding the movements and exercises used in Pilates.

abdominals
Abdominal muscles are those that cover the area on the front of the stomach. Pilates strengthens the abdominals and the rest of the powerhouse muscles, which support posture and body movement.

Also known as: abs, abdominal muscles, core, powerhouse muscles...

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The following terms are those used by Pilates teachers and practitioners. They will get you started in better understanding the movements and exercises used in Pilates.

abdominals
Abdominal muscles are those that cover the area on the front of the stomach. Pilates strengthens the abdominals and the rest of the powerhouse muscles, which support posture and body movement.

Also known as: abs, abdominal muscles, core, powerhouse muscles


barrels
Barrels are Pilates apparatus that help with breathing, developing muscles in the legs and arms, and correct the curvature of the spine.

Also known as: Pilates equipment, Pilates barrels, spine corrector

bodywork
Bodywork is a phrase used to describe Pilates, massage, physical therapy and other manipulation of the body.

Also known as: Pilates bodywork

Cadillac
The Cadillac is a piece of Pilates apparatus or equipment. The Cadillac is made of a raised table top surrounded by a four-post frame that have springs, levers, bars and straps to help enable workouts.

Also known as: the Trapeze Table, the Rack, Pilates equipment, Pilates apparatus

Contrology
Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates Method, originally called his form of exercise Contrology. Today it is known as Pilates.

Also known as: Pilates

extension
Extension is moving limbs (such as arms and legs) to extend them away from the joint.

Also known as: leg extension, arm extension, muscle extension

first-generation teacher
Pilates instructors who learned the Pilates Method from Joseph Pilates himself are known as first-generation teachers. Notable names include Romana Kryzanoska, Ron Fletcher, Lolita San Miguel, Mary Bowen and Kathy Grant.

Also known as: Pilates master teachers

foot on the walk
Foot on the walk is a Pilates position where the practitioner balances all of their weight on the ball of their foot and toes, and lifts their heel completely off of the floor.

headlights
One of the more effective visualization techniques to help practitioners properly align their body while performing Pilates is known as the headlights method. In this exercise, practitioners visualize imaginary headlights are shining out from their pelvic bones. This method helps one properly achieve a neutral pelvis position for better Pilates form.

Also known as: hip headlights, visualization

hip belt
The hip belt visualizing technique helps Pilates practitioners engage their transverse abdominal muscles through imagining a belt is slung low across the hips from one pelvic bone to another, and visualizing tightening the belt.

Also known as: hip belt visualization, transverse abdominal visualization

hundreds
Hundreds, also known as breathing hundreds or 100s, are a classic Pilates mat exercise. Usually used for warmups, hundreds work the abdominals, legs, arms and lungs.

Also known as: breathing hundreds, breathing 100s, the hundred, 100s

imprinting
Imprinting is the practice of isolating each individual vertebra through breathing or movement

Also known as: imprinted spine, spine imprinting

intercostal muscles
The muscles that run between each rib are known as intercostal muscles. These muscles help control your rib expansion and contraction when you draw in or expel breath.

Also known as: rib cage abs, rib cage muscles

Magic Circle
The Magic Circle is a piece of Pilates equipment. It is an isometric device that appears as a flexible ring with handles. The Magic Circle can be used to work out the muscles in the inner thighs, neck and upper arms. If one doesn't have a Magic Circle, a medium-sized rubber ball is a good substitute.

Also known as: arm toning ring, thigh toning ring, Magic Ring

marionette string
Another visualization technique in Pilates is known as the marionette string. This technique helps practitioners lengthen their spine by imagining a string running from the crown of the head to the ceiling, helping improve alignment from head to tailbone.

Also known as: Pilates string technique

mat
The mat is the most important and basic Pilates apparatus. Most powerhouse and abdominal exercises are done on the mat.

Also known as: Pilates mat workouts

navel to spine exercises
Navel to spine exercises are a visualization cue used to help Pilates practitioners stabilize their torsos and center on their abdominal muscles. During navel to spine cues, one imagines drawing the abdominal muscles up and in, as if drawing your belly button into your spine.

Also known as: drawing in ab muscles, drawing navel to spine

Pilates stance
The classic Pilates stance is one where the heels are pressed together, the toes point out at a 45 degree angle, and the thighs are rotated outward from the hip sockets.

powerhouse
The powerhouse muscles are the abdominal muscles, lower abs, lower back, pelvic floor and glutes. The powerhouse is where the body's stability comes from. Pilates helps strengthen these powerhouse muscles.

Also known as: girdle of strength, core muscles

Reformer
The Reformer is a specialized piece of Pilates equipment that is made of a gliding platform stabilized by springs, straps and pulleys. The Reformer is used by kneeling, sitting, standing, or lying on one's front, back or side. The straps and springs are adjustable, and allow for more than 100 different exercises on the one single piece of equipment. The Reformer uses resistance and one's own body weight to lengthen and strengthen muscles to create a lean, strong look.

Also known as: Pilates Reformer, Pilates equipment, universal reformer

Wunda Chair
The Wunda Chair was invented by Joseph Pilates to enable Pilates practitioners to mimic the movements of Chinese acrobats. The Wunda Chair can be used as a box or as a chair to enable exercises that strengthen muscles and improve balance in the arms, upper body and torso.

Also known as: Pilates chair

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Pilates Workouts and Pilates Studios

Q: Why choose Diamond Certified Pilates studios?...

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Q: Why choose Diamond Certified Pilates studios?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a Pilates instructor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only local Pilates studios rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified Pilates instructor

Q: What is Pilates?
A: Pilates is an exercise program developed by Joseph Pilates that targets the whole body through the use of machines and targeted movement exercises. Pilates is unique in that it works the entire body at once, while focusing on the core muscles.

Q: How is Pilates different from other kinds of exercises?
A: Pilates is a non-impact exercise that works the entire body. The exercises are done while lying on the back or side, kneeling, or with specialty equipment. Pilates is performed using the core, or powerhouse, muscles.

Q: Is Pilates related to yoga?
A: The two forms of exercise are similar; however, Pilates utilizes specialty equipment not used in yoga. Pilates is also designed to strengthen the core muscles through the use of resistance, while yoga is focused on strengthening and lengthening all muscles in the body. Yoga may also contain a spiritual or meditative component, which is absent in Pilates.

Q: What can Pilates do for me?
A: Pilates can help you lose weight, strengthen your core muscles, relieve back pain, tone trouble spots, help you recover from back or other injuries, provide safe and non-impact strengthening and provide greater focus and stamina. Pilates can also improve your posture and help prevent muscle strain and fatigue.

Q: Can I do Pilates without equipment?
A: Yes. Pilates can be done with special equipment or on a mat surface. Pilates equipment, including the cadillac, the reformer and the barrel, are specially built to provide the right resistance and elevation to provide results. Mat workouts are ideal because they use only your own body weight to make the exercises effective.

Q: Can I do Pilates workouts every day?
A: Yes. Pilates are safe enough to do every day. Some people like to take a day off in between workouts, others stagger Pilates workouts in between other types of exercises. It is up to you and your instructor to design a workout schedule that meets your needs.

Q: Will Pilates make me feel sore after a workout?
A: That depends on you and your workout. Pilates workouts are non-impact, fluid motions, so they may not make you as sore as other types of exercises. However, the Pilates system does use all of your muscles, including those that you may not be used to using regularly. If you are sedentary or less athletic, you may be sore, especially the first few times you work out. As with any workout, you should never feel pain or severe soreness during or after a workout if you're doing it correctly.

Q: Will I lose weight doing Pilates?
A: You very well may lose weight from Pilates workouts. Pilates builds muscle, burns calories and can be an effective cardio workout, all of which burn calories. Additionally, as you gain muscle, you will increase your resting metabolism, which can aid in long-term weight loss and keeping off unwanted weight.

Q: Can Pilates help me become better at sports?
A: Yes, Pilates can be used as a way to improve at various sports. Many athletes use Pilates and similar exercise routines to improve their flexibility, range of motion, posture, strength, endurance and muscle tone. Most Pilates instructors can help tailor workout plans to meet the needs of athlete clients who are looking for specific results.

Q: Can anyone do Pilates?
A: Women, men, young people and mature adults can all do Pilates. Because it is a non-impact workout, even those with injuries and limitations may be able to do Pilates. Pilates may even be good for sedentary and weak individuals, inflexible people, those with previous injuries, pregnant women, older adults and athletes, as Pilates contributes to increased strength, more flexibility, better balance and better overall posture and core strength. As with all exercise programs, consult your doctor before beginning any workout routine or fitness plan.

Q: How long before I start to see results from doing Pilates?
A: Individual results will vary depending on your fitness level, personal abilities and body type. However, many people start to feel and see results in as few as four to eight sessions.

Q: Why is there such a large range in pricing for Pilates sessions?
A: Pilates instructors and Pilates studios vary greatly in their experience and offerings. First-generation teachers, those who taught by Joseph Pilates himself, may command much higher prices than second-generation teachers or those who are simply certified in teaching Pilates. Studios with a full range of Pilates equipment may charge more than those who only offer mat workouts. It's important to carefully compare Pilates studios and instructors based upon their offerings and skills, rather than simply prices. If lower cost is important to you, you may be willing to sacrifice working with a first-generation teacher or having a full range of Pilates equipment. However, if you want top-notch Pilates instruction, you may have to pay more for the instructors and equipment you desire.

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Consumer Agencies
Associations and Licensing Agencies for Pilates Instructors and Studios

The following associations and agencies may be able to provide more information on Pilates workouts, Pilates instructors and Pilates studios in your area.

United States Pilates Association (USPA) (www.unitedstatespilatesassociation.com)
Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) (www.pilatesmethodalliance.org)
National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA) (www.netafit.org)

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The following associations and agencies may be able to provide more information on Pilates workouts, Pilates instructors and Pilates studios in your area.

United States Pilates Association (USPA) (www.unitedstatespilatesassociation.com)
Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) (www.pilatesmethodalliance.org)
National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA) (www.netafit.org)

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