What Is Stott Pilates?

Medically Reviewed by Dany Paul Baby, MD on August 24, 2022
5 min read

Developed by Lindsay and Moira Merrithew and a team of professionals consisting of sports medicine, fitness professionals, and physical therapists, Stott Pilates is a Pilates exercise that was created to be more modern. It was first referred to as Stott Conditioning.

The Stott Pilates method has a goal of restoring the spine’s natural curvature while promoting the rebalancing of the muscles around the joints. While it still follows the major principles set forth by regular Pilates such as breathing, fluidity of movement, and concentration, it focuses more on the alignment of your posture, using props, and engaging in sequential exercise. 

The normal method of Pilates makes use of your flat back (imprinted spine) during exercises, but the Stott Pilates method favors a neutral spine: i.e., the natural curvature of the back. 

In classes practicing Stott Pilates, the students maintain a neutral spine alignment with one foot on the ground. When both feet are lifted, though, the stance reverts back to normal Pilates form and focuses on an imprinted alignment. With these differences in mind, Stott Pilates differs from Joseph Pilates mainly due to the alignment of posture. 

Regardless of your age or gender identity, Stott Pilates helps develop flexibility, endurance, and posture, and it allows you to develop optimal strength without stressing your joints. 

There are several certification programs aimed at professional development and continued education. These training programs include: 

  • Comprehensive
  • Intensive 
  • Rehab
  • Specialist
  • Functional anatomy
  • Advanced
  • Injuries and special populations (ISP)

All programs include teaching five basic principles of Stott Pilates, as well as a variety of other subjects. Introductory and educational workshops may supplement the training programs, though this is up to the instructors. These workshops often include sports and athletic conditioning and programs for diverse populations. 

There is plenty of equipment offered for Stott’s Pilates students to choose from. Most can be used with classic Pilates, too. If you’re looking to get started with Stott Pilates, consider the following equipment types:  

  • Barrels: Barrels are curved ground-based tools that can add versatility to your workout space. They can help build core stability, strength, and endurance.
  • Reformers: Reformers can be bought for at-home use or for professional or rehab environments. No matter which you use, you’re sure to get a good full-body workout.
  • Stability Bar: Stability bars go hand-in-hand with Pilates. They allow you to practice traditional ballet barre work with exercises that will help in toning, strengthening, and shaping your lower body.
  • Stability Chair: Stability chairs, chairs designed for Pilates and other workouts, are a great asset helping students rebalance muscles while also getting a full-body workout.
  • Wall Units: Wall units are great for offering multiple Pilates exercises for both home and professional use.

Stott Pilates is a contemporary and anatomically-based Pilates program. As such, its main focus is on using core stability to generate the best neuromuscular performance possible. This is done by balancing muscular strength and flexibility safely. 

Stott Pilates adheres to five principles in order to accomplish these goals: 


Breathing is fundamental. It supports the blood’s successful oxygenation, allows the mind to focus on the tasks at hand, and helps to prevent unnecessary tension in places like the shoulders, back, and neck. Additionally, deep exhalations can promote support of the muscles in the body. 

Pelvic Placement

It’s important to accentuate stability in the pelvic area and lumbar spine, especially when you are doing Pilates. Two popular positions that achieve this stability are neutral and imprint. Neutral posture is often used in Stott’s Pilates. 

Rib Cage Placement

The lower ribs and the abdominal wall are attached. The muscles of the abdomen are frequently engaged to uphold the rib cage and thoracic spine in correct alignment. It’s important to pay attention to the placement of your rib cage when doing Stott’s Pilates. You’ll want to pay close attention when taking deep breaths in or when lifting your arms, as the rib cage will tend to go up with them. As long as you engage your obliques, you will have the correct alignment at all times. 

Scapular Movement and Stabilization 

Stabilizing the scapular muscles is just as important as contracting abdominal muscles during the start of every exercise. You’ll notice that when stability is absent, muscles tend to be overworked, especially around the neck and shoulders. Pay attention to this and work on your scapular stabilization. 

Head and Cervical Placement  

Ensure that your cervical spine is maintaining its natural curve. Your skull should be balanced directly on top of the shoulders as you sit in a neutral position. Additionally, if you’re lying on your back, you should also hold this position. While using kyphosis or forward head postures, you can use pads and pillows under the head to support it and avoid overextending, thus preventing unnecessary tension of the cervical spine.

There are a variety of exercises used as part of Stott Pilates. The type you do will depend on what you want to get out of the exercise, as well as the equipment and tools you have available to you. Some popular exercises include: 

  • Long stretch and push-up press
  • Twist short box
  • Leg circles with your feet in straps
  • Arm pulling with straps 
  • Footwork 

Regardless of which exercise you’re doing, though, it’s important to keep a few important factors in mind:

  • Add variety: Adding variety to your workout will not only keep you from getting bored with the same old routine but also help you to complete a well-rounded workout routine that is made up of cardio, flexibility training, and strength.
  • Set a schedule: Setting a schedule is important, but sticking to it is even more so. Having a schedule will allow you to stay motivated and committed to doing your workouts.
  • Find motivation: Everyone needs help once in a while. Motivation is key to success. If you’re lacking in motivation, find it elsewhere. Talk to your family and friends about your workout routine, share tips and advice, and discuss your favorite workout videos.

Stott Pilates offers a number of benefits, including: 

  • Increasing stability and core strength 
  • Improving alignment and posture 
  • Building flexibility, coordination, and balance 
  • Increasing muscular balance and strength
  • Improving muscular endurance and tone 
  • Helping to prevent injuries and increase body awareness
  • Improving athletic performance 
  • Reducing stress and back pain