Frequently asked questions

Everything You Need to Know….is Below!
(And anything you don’t see below, just give us a shout!)
Pilates is a system of strength training exercises, performed on a wide variety of specialised equipment. The exercises and the equipment were created and invented by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s.
Pilates isn’t physio. And Pilates isn’t yoga. It’s not “expensive stretching either”. 😂

At The Pilates Playroom, we do not focus on weight loss, but rather, a better working body all around. Many people do find they lose weight by adding Pilates to a healthy lifestyle, and there are a variety of reasons why this might be.

Pilates can help people build muscular strength, and muscles are the body’s fat burning factories. Increased strength also paves the way for increased energy.

While Pilates isn’t cardio, it is definitely exercise! And exercise of any kind is linked to weight loss.

Pilates helps bodies move more efficiently. More efficiency means better performance in a variety of other physical activities as well, such as walking, running, swimming, jumping, etc.

But the thing people notice the most when they take on a Pilates practice is that their shape changes. With or without a change on the scale, people often notice better posture and better tone to their muscles, creating a whole new body shape!

Joseph Pilates spent his lifetime developing a method of exercise that we now call The Pilates Method or Pilates. Before his death, he asked that his students not change his method, but instead find ways to work within it.

Today, we call this adherence to the original exercises, equipment, and intentions of the Pilates Method “Classical Pilates”. Within the Classical Pilates community, you will still find a variety of styles, adaptations, and interpretations to suit any fitness goal.

But all of these variations can be traced back to the source, Joseph and his intentions.

Since 2000, the term “Pilates” has been released into the public domain. This allowed for an industry of “Pilates based” fitness categories including Contemporary Pilates, Clinical Pilates, Physio Based Pilates, Yogilates, Cardio Pilates, Fusion Pilates, etc. These splinter disciplines may have a lot, or very little to do with the actual Pilates Method.

At The Pilates Playroom, we only hire fully qualified teachers, only use the highest quality equipment and keep class sizes small.

A proper Pilates teacher training course will take at least 12 months and be at least 700 hours. This level of education is very expensive. We don’t hire teachers with shorter training backgrounds or incomplete qualifications (ie. just the Reformer or just the Mat). All of our teachers are continuously adding to their qualifications and specialties. We compensate our teachers accordingly for the time and dedication they have put into making this a career, and a career they are proud of.

Our Pilates equipment was handmade in Spain by Arregon – Original Pilates. It is made from the highest quality materials and with maximum attention to detail. It is beautiful and built to last for 100 years.

Our class sizes are small. Currently, we can accommodate 6 people in class. Even as we grow, we will never have more than 8 students in a class. This favourable student to teacher ratio means you’ll get more individualised attention from our highly skilled teachers.

Well, you really need both. The Mat came first. Joseph Pilates used to walk into the woods and exercise in the sunshine. This is how the Matwork first came to be. As Joe started to

In general, dress comfortably. When possible, wear clothes that are as form fitting as you are comfortable in. This helps teachers see your actions and offer appropriate corrections.

Avoid zippers, poppers and buttons as these can damage the equipment and they aren’t comfortable to lie on.

Men – It’s worth keeping in mind that you’ll be spending a fair amount of time on your back with your legs in the air. 😉 Sometimes baggy shorts gather at the hip and expose certain structures. Some men find that a combination of tight lycra shorts layered under baggier shorts work well.

We do have a Reformer! We use it, as well as other Pilates equipment, for private lessons. Reformers are not the only pieces of Pilates equipment. They’re not even the best! 😉

We offer classes on Pilates Mats (real Pilates Mats! Not yoga mats!), Spine Correctors, and Wunda Chairs.

We’ve chosen these pieces of equipment because they’re great for introducing the essential elements of the Pilates Method like the C-Curl, Roll Up and Swan without straining the low back and neck.

As we grow, we will introduce more equipment to the studio like Reformers and Towers.

Yes. Pilates is known for increasing strength and flexibility, but it might not be what you’re expecting. Pilates is not a series of stretches. Instead, Pilates increases flexibility by improving the way your body moves. A more functional and efficient body has a much greater range of motion.

Of course. Joseph Pilates was, in fact, a man. He worked with clients of all backgrounds, genders and fitness levels.

Men will find Pilates at The Pilates Playroom very challenging and very satisfying. At its heart, The Pilates Method is strength training.

Although Pilates is also known for increasing flexibility and ease of movement (and what man or woman couldn’t benefit from that!), these benefits are not achieved through passivity or stretching. They are achieved through exercising.

Men can and do benefit from increased strength, flexibility, functionality and balance that can be achieved through the Pilates Method.

With a specially qualified Pilates Teacher, Pilates can be perfectly safe during pregnancy.

Many exercises and a few pieces of equipment are not considered safe later in pregnancy, which is why we encourage pregnant people to join Pregnancy Pilates group classes after 16 weeks. We offer specialised 1:1 private sessions as well.

Our teachers are highly trained in Perinatal fitness and are equipped to keep you safe and strong during your pregnancy and postpartum.


In general, Pilates is great for strengthening the muscles of the trunk and increasing the range of motion of the spine.

Pilates is also known to elongate the spinal/vertebral column, therefore avoiding compression. The list of benefits for back pain sufferers goes on and on.

If you’re considering Pilates to alleviate your back pain, be sure to have your pain assessed by a medical professional to ensure it is safe to begin or continue a Pilates practice.

Aren’t they neat! Those machines are Pilates equipment or Pilates apparatus. And there’s a lot of them!

They were all invented by Joseph Pilates and our handmade Arregon Pilates equipment is pretty true to the original design.

You can find out more about the individual pieces in our blog post, “Everything you need to know about our Pilates equipment” (to be published next month), but some of the bigger pieces are the Reformer, Cadillac, Electric Chair, Wunda Chair, Baby Chair, Ladder Barrel and the Pedipole.

But don’t discount the small props too! There’s the Foot Corrector, Toe Corrector, Breath-a-cizer, Sandbag, and Neck Stretcher.

All of these pieces of equipment were invented to provide support and feedback while you perform the Pilates exercises.

There’s a misconception that this equipment was invented to make Pilates harder.

Joseph himself said he created his first piece of equipment to help him teach the Matwork. His body was getting tired spotting and supporting his students all day long. So he began to tinker with ways to use other devices instead of his own strength.

The equipment exist to make the Matwork easier!

“Reformer Pilates” isn’t a term that is used in the broader Pilates community. But it has become popular here in Ireland where, for many years, the choices were only either Mat classes or Reformer classes. Over the last few years, more and more comprehensively trained Pilates teachers have begun teaching in Ireland, but the term has persisted. 

But the Reformer is only one of dozens of pieces of Pilates equipment. Usually when someone, like a physio, recommends “Reformer Pilates” what they’re really recommending is a class or lesson on the equipment

There are several reasons for this. One is simply that the Matwork is really difficult. Anyone with an injury or overall weakness would benefit from starting on the Pilates equipment. Unfortunately, the Reformer isn’t a great place to start if you are injured. But there are several other pieces of equipment that are really good for working around all sorts of injuries.

We do offer Galway’s very best Pilates equipment classes, so come see what it’s like for yourself!

While you may be very fit, if you’ve never done Classical Pilates before, you’re going to need to learn the choreography, the names of the exercises, how to do them properly and get comfortable with the equipment.

But don’t worry, our Pilates Essentials classes are not the same as “easy”.

Learning how to do Pilates right is very challenging. You’ll learn how to get the most out of every exercise. You’ll learn the “lingo” and any modifications that suit your body so that when you do move on to Intermediate classes you’ll get the most out of it.

The Pilates Essentials classes are not just for beginners. Intermediate and Advanced students benefit from going back to basics and improving their fundamentals.