The following questions and answers
explain the procedure to obtain your
STOTT PILATES® Certification


How long do I have to complete my course examination?


You must take your exam within six months of completing your last STOTT PILATES Education course (this includes ISP). We encourage you to take some time afterward to practice and synthesize the information prior to taking the exam; however, you are welcome to take the exam immediately after you complete the course if you and your instructor agree you are ready.


What Exams Should I Take?


Exam Options
Group SPX Mat-Plus™
Group SPX Reformer
Group SPX Mat-Plus and Reformer

The written component must be conducted at a location where you can be monitored. This can be either a STOTT PILATES Licensed Training Center (LTC) or a library (public, college, university).
Click here for a list of LTCs.

The practical component should be conducted in the presence of an instructor trainer or submitted by videotape or DVD. The written and practical components may be taken on different days but MUST betaken within 7 days of one another.

Crossover Program

Students, not certified, who have taken both an Intensive/Comprehensive & Crossover Program (XMG, XRG) or who have taken the Group SPX & Crossover (XMP, XRP) have the option of which exam they want to complete for certification. Students are still required to complete a written and practical component.

If an Instructor is already certified and then completes a Crossover course, the instructor would only be required to take the practical component to achieve the additional certification. All timelines remain the same (i.e. Matwork, one hour; Reformer one hour, Matwork and Reformer one and a half hours).


What is a passing score?


You must receive an average score of 80% (practical and written) and achieve a minimum score of 75% on each portion in order to pass. Both of these requirements must be met in order to achieve certification.


What if My Course Finished Longer Than Six Months Ago?


If you have failed to meet the six-month requirement to complete your examination, you must complete private review hours with an instructor trainer to reinstate your eligibility. Material covered will be specific to your needs to better prepare you for the exam. The number of hours required is based on the course material that must be covered and the demands of the course repertoire.

The MINIMUM private session requirements are:
Group SPX Mat-Plus™ – minimum 1 hour
Group SPX Reformer – minimum 1 hour
Group SPX Mat-Plus and Reformer – minimum 2 hours

The instructor trainer may recommend further private sessions or study as preparation.


What Will I be Asked to do for My Practical Exam?


The time allotment for each practical exam is as follows:
Group SPX Mat-Plus – 1 hour
Group SPX Reformer – 1 hour
Group SPX Mat-Plus and Reformer – 1.5 hours

For each exam, three to six clients will make up the group. Each participant should be capable of doing the required exercises safely.

In the first five to ten minutes you will take your group through the Five Basic Principles incorporating them into the Matwork or Reformer warm up. Use clear imagery and movement cues to help the group achieve biomechanical body awareness. You must clearly explain why each principle is important.

The following key points should be mentioned and proper cueing and correcting of the group should be demonstrated.




In through the nose, out through the mouth with pursed lips

Emphasis is on 3-D breath especially into the posterior and lateral aspects of the rib cage, because these tend to be under utilized areas

Exhaling deeply can also help activate the deep support muscles by engaging the transversus abdominis

Explanation of the action of the transversus and how it stabilizes the lumbo-pelvic region, especially in neutral position.

The gentle contraction of the deep pelvic floor muscles also aids in firing the transversus abdominis

This breath pattern helps avoid unnecessary tension in the neck and shoulders

This breath pattern helps relaxation

The rib cage opens out and up during an inhale, promoting spinal extension and closes in and down during exhale, promoting spinal flexion


Pelvic Placement


In neutral pelvic placement, the natural lordotic curve of lumbar spine is present

ASIS and Pubic Symphysis lie approximately in a horizontal plane drawn parallel to the floor when lying supine

Neutral promotes good shock absorption and efficient movement patterns throughout the body

Neutral is usually used during closed kinetic chain activities

Imprinted position is a slight posterior pelvic tilt with slight lumbar flexion
cannot be maintained and often used during open kinetic chain activities

Imprint involves shortening of obliques without activation of glutes


Rib Cage Placement


Emphasis is put on breathing into the posterior and lateral aspects of the rib cage

Abdominal wall attaches to the lower ribs. Be aware of maintaining abdominal engagement and not popping the ribs

Abdominals stabilize rib cage and therefore spine during movement of the arms

Used to keep the spine neutral and stable


Scapular Movement & Stabilization


Scapula lacks bony attachment to the ribs and spine (only attaching to clavicle), thereby providing mobility to the upper limb, which must be counterbalanced with stability

It is important to balance the surrounding muscles and to control the movement of the scapulae

The scapulae should lie flat on the rib cage and glide across it without winging

Protraction, retraction, elevation, depression, upward rotation and downward rotation are available movements

Stabilizing the scapulae is necessary during the initiation of every exercise


Head & Cervical Placement


Cervical spine should hold its natural curve (anterior convex) and the skull should be balanced directly above the shoulders in sitting or standing

Pads or pillows may be needed in supine or prone to prevent hyperextension of the cervical spine

Cervical spine should continue the line of the thoracic spine in neutral, during flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation

Cranio-vertebral flexion, flexing the cranium on the first two vertebrae of the cervical spine, not jamming the chin into the chest, occurs initially when flexing the upper torso from a supine position

Use these methods to (dynamically) stabilize the cervical area and avoid strain

Be prepared to teach a well-rounded workout. The workout can be one of the pre-programmed workouts from the course or your own custom program. Include mobilizing the spine in various movements: flexion, rotation, extension, and lateral flexion. Mobilize the shoulder and hip joints, and focus on strengthening core and periphery.

In the time remaining you will take your group through the workout.

You Will be Evaluated in the Following Areas:

Five Basic Principles: should be noted at the beginning of the exam and applied to all the exercises.

Teaching manner and energy: group rapport, motivational skills and positive attitude. You should “lead” the group through the workout in a controlled manner.

Cueing: should be specific to the group and be a combination of verbal cues using imagery and muscular reference, tactile cues, and possibly demonstration and aid in guiding the group through the exercises and transitions in a safe and timely manner. Cues should also reinforce the Five Basic Principles. Stay one step ahead of the group and “lead” the workout. Should be able to cue all participants effectively without singling anyone out.

Corrections: use of imagery, verbal cues, and tactile cues to ensure proper alignment and proper execution of the exercises. Corrections should be used to achieve dynamically stabilized, conscious and safe movement. You should be able to anticipate what may occur within exercises and no areas of the body should be overlooked. Be able to correct effectively while not singling anyone out.

Knowledge of content: knowing the relevant repertoire of exercises and the corresponding movement and breath patterns.

Ability to adapt workout to subjects: exercise progression and rationale for the exercises chosen. The appropriate application of adaptations and exercise modifications and use of props for individuals where necessary. The workout should cater to the participants and corrections should be given specific to the individuals. The essence of the exercises should be clear.

Rhythm and pace: rhythm refers to cueing each exercise in a manner that encourages proper timing of movement and breath. Pace refers to the speed of the workout, the ability to keep the workout fluid using transitions from one exercise to another. The pace should challenge the group without compromising the Five Basic Principles or causing overexertion.

At the end of the practical exam, expect to be questioned on the exercises and your choices. You may be asked to teach a few exercises of the examiner’s choice to “spot check” your knowledge of the entire repertoire. This is to evaluate the depth of your understanding regarding the exercises and how to administer them to your group.

Completed Observation and Practice Logs must be brought to the practical exam. Exams will not be processed unless accompanied by these logs.

SPX Mat-Plus Exam
Minimum eight Essential, four Intermediate exercises
Incorporate Fitness Circle®, Flex-Band®‚ and Toning Ball exercises into the workout.

SPX Reformer Exam
Minimum six Essential, four Intermediate exercises.
Knowledge of Reformer safety and usage exhibited.

SPX Mat-Plus & SPX Reformer Exam
Minimum six Essential, three Intermediate Matwork exercises
Incorporate Fitness Circle, Flex-Band‚ and Toning Ball exercises into the workout.
Minimum six Essential, four Intermediate exercises.
Knowledge of Reformer safety and usage exhibited.


How do I Prepare for my Practical Exam?


In addition to understanding the material conceptually and physically reviewing the exercises, the best preparation for the practical exam is practice teaching as many different groups as possible. This allows you to apply your knowledge of the STOTT PILATES® method, adapt it to many different body types, improve your teaching skills and become comfortable with your teaching experience. Practice teaching workouts within the specified timelines including warm up and cool down exercises with different groups of people.


What Do I Need to Know for My Written Examination?


The written exam consists of multiple choice, fill-in the blank or matching type questions, and muscle identification questions. It will take you approximately two to three hours to complete the exam. However, you are not required to finish within a specified time limit.

The Exam Tests Your Knowledge of the Following:

Muscle origin, insertion and action (please refer to list of muscles in the Support Materials book)

Recognition of diagrams of individual muscles

Concentric, eccentric and isometric contractions of specific muscles during specific movements and exercises

Movements that make up exercises and their proper anatomical descriptions

Ideal postural alignment and groups of opposing muscles

Poor postural alignment and muscular imbalances

Modifications to exercises for poor postural alignments

Proper set up of equipment, starting positions, movement patterns, and major intent or goal for each exercise

The Five Basic Principles – anatomical descriptions and purpose

Proper anatomical terms must be understood and used in all the relevant categories above.

Written Study Tools
In addition to STOTT PILATES® manuals and support materials, outside resources such as Trail Guide to the Body and Muscular System Flash Packs, are highly recommended. They can be purchased through their websites and


I Can’t Take My Exam at a STOTT PILATES Licensed Training Center. What Are My Options?


If you are unable to complete the written portion of your exam at a Licensed Training Center you have the option of writing the exam by Proctor. The conditions of a proctored exam include the following:

A third, uninterested party (notary or public library) must oversee/supervise the written exam.

The exam must be taken within the six-month period after the last STOTT PILATES course was completed.

Exam fees (practical and written) must be paid in full prior to sending the written exam to the specified proctor.

Use of a public library is standard protocol for most STOTT PILATES course examinations as these locations proctor a variety of examinations for various organizations.

Proctored Exam Procedure
Contact the STOTT PILATES Education Department at 1-800-910-0001 ext.#299 or email to express your intent to write an exam by proctor.

You will need to provide the following information:

Exam location, mailing address and phone number
Contact person supervising the written exam
Method of payment (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX or money order)

The exam package will be sent to the contact person at the specified exam location. It will contain the following:
Exam (1 copy)
Receipt of payment (2 copies)
Pre-addressed return envelope

Student Responsibilities:

Set time and date to write the exam.

Provide up-to-date contact information (phone numbers and email address) on the written exam so that we can notify you of the results.

Complete Observation and Practice Logs. We will not process practical exams without this accompanying paperwork.

Proctor Responsibilities:

Receive the examination package

Supervise the examination process (date, time, and location to be agreed upon by the proctor and student)

Seal the pre-addressed return envelope (with completed written exam and receipt of payment enclosed) and sign the back portion of the sealed envelope to ensure authenticity. The student is responsible for postage for this package.

Video Exam Procedure
The purpose of the practical examination is to observe you as you lead a group through a workout. The subjects should be other STOTT PILATES students or clients with experience in the same level and repertoire covered by the exam.

The videotaped workout will be 1 hour in length for either Group SPX Mat-Plus™ or Reformer exams and 1.5 hours for a Group SPX Mat-Plus and Reformer exam.

Technical Considerations
Position the camera to observe the group and allow for an additional three feet on either end ensuring enough room to move about. Keep the view close enough to allow details in the movement and the interaction between you and the group.

Test the video equipment and sound level and make sure that it records properly and that your voice can be heard on the tape.

Face the camera (instruct on the far side of the group to not obstruct the view).

The tape should NOT be stopped at any point during the examination. The workout should be continuous.

Video must be sent in as either VHS or PAL videotape, mini DVD and DVD. We do NOT accept any other format for practical examination submissions.

Conducting the Exam
Please read What Will I be Asked to do for My Practical Exam? for more details. Follow the timelines and minimum requirements outlined. State your name and the name of your exam as you start recording. The group participants must be familiar with the required repertoire associated with your exam.


How Long Does it take to Receive Notification of My Results?


Exam results will be sent directly to you, normally by email. The LTC and/or instructor trainer will also be informed of the marks. Marking takes between four to six weeks from the date of the exam.


What if I Don’t Pass My Exam?


If you have to retake a portion of or the entire exam, this should happen within six months of the date of the original exam. This ensures that the information remains relatively fresh but allows time to study and improve in the necessary areas. If this time limit has passed, it is highly recommended that you book privates with an instructor trainer.

If you take your exam for the first time and fail both portions, you have one more opportunity, within six months, to successfully pass the exam. If you fail both portions the second time, you must wait six months before retesting.

If you fail one portion of the exam on the initial test, you must retake that portion within six months of the original exam. If the six-month time limit has passed you must take both the written and practical again.

To find a Licensed Training Center near you visit


How Much Will it Cost to Write My Exam?


For up-to-date exam fees please visit
Or contact a Licensed Training Center near you.


General Information
Proctored Exams