3 Things to Know Before Taking a Pilates Class

Thinking of taking your first Pilates class.

Sandra from Pilates success takes us through three general types of environments that you can learn and do Pilates in, they are:-

  1.   The Fitness Environment
  2.   Clinical Pilates
  3.   The Pilates Studio

The Fitness Environment

This environment is usually the local gym or group fitness club. At the local gym, generally you will find the entry to be a low cost. It can be a cheaper way to do Pilates as most gyms and centers have a membership base business model, so this means there is often very good value for money in this environment.

Often times you will find that the quality and qualifications of the instructor can be average. They may have minimal training e.g. they may have done a weekend training class to learn Pilates.

Often this instructor is a group fitness instructor or personal trainer that has done Pilates as an add-on and may only teach Pilates 1 or 2 hours per week.

Now let me make it very clear here that I am not criticizing the gym, these teachers or environment in any way. You pay for what you get.

In fact, I started my early Pilates in this very environment. This is not to say that you won't find some very qualified instructors working in the gym environment,  that is not what I'm saying.

It is more the fact that they do not teach the same amount of hours of Pilates that a professional full-time Pilate’s instructor does, these hours per week teaching equates to experience.

This type of class is as the category states usually a ‘fitness-based class’. The mentality of the group is generally quite gung ho, go hard or go home. Nothing wrong with that, if that is what you like. There is also nothing wrong with that, provided you have a fit able body.

This is not the environment that you want to be doing Pilates in if you are a beginner, have any form of injury or special condition. What you do need to know about the Pilates you are attending, is that the instructor is capable and experienced enough to modify you and not just expect you to work in the class alongside every other super- fit, go hard person in the room.

Many gyms these days are also bringing Reformer classes into their membership base. I do have some alarm bells ringing in regards to this, big ones in fact. One of my clients attends Reformer classes in a gym in Melbourne that have 40 Pilates Reformers... way to many. This is Pilates at its worst !!!!

This is very problematic for the Pilates industry. There are way too many things that can go wrong in a class of this size. The instructor may well be qualified enough, however with this many people in the class there is no way the instructor can correct or modify the movements for individual people. This is a dangerous practice in my view.

So it really pays to check the qualification of the instructor.

Clinical Pilates

Generally speaking when people attend clinical Pilates they usually have some form of injury or problem area that they need to attend to.

Many Physiotherapists, Chiropractors or Osteopaths these days offer clinical Pilates as a part of their practice, they may have done it as a module in their University training. I highly recommend that you seek one of these professionals if you have a recent injury or pain that you cannot fix.

The downside of this type of Pilates is that it will cost you more as it can be expensive to work one on one with them, that said if you have problems you have to spend the money to get the results.

You need to be able to fix your problem area, injury or special condition correctly so that you have no carryover effects for the rest of your life.

Some clinics also offer general Pilates classes, this is also a great way to do Pilates. It will usually be in a smaller group Mat or equipment class.

Some therapists are trained as Pilates instructors, but more often than not you will find the classes being run by qualified Pilates instructors that are not therapists. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you are at the clinic that the instructor is actually a qualified professional therapist.

Pilates Studio

A Pilate’s studio is the best place to learn Pilates. These businesses are wholly focused on delivering one product and service, and that is Pilates and more Pilates !!! Most Pilate’s studios will have fully qualified diploma-trained instructors.

The cost of service or class is a little bit in between the fitness environment and the clinical environment, however be prepared to pay a little bit more to do Pilates at a studio, these trainers are specialist in their fields.

Quality Pilates training is expensive and so is the equipment; most studio teachers have invested a lot of time and money into developing their skills to deliver quality Pilates.

A quality studio will offer a class size that is smaller, generally between 2 and 5 people for an equipment class and up to 12 people in a mat class.

A smaller studio of this size will have a higher ratio of a ‘hands on approach’. What this means for the client is that they will get to be modified, progressed and corrected that is more personalized to their needs, fitness and skill level.

A Pilate’s studio teacher will have the skills to teach many levels of experience in any one class. They will also have the ability to modify every movement to account for problem areas, weaknesses and imbalance. They will also be fully skilled to challenge those to higher levels when they are ready to progress.

If you have injury, special conditions or just a beginner you will also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a quality Pilate’s instructor. This is highly recommended, as it is best way for you start Pilates the right way, set yourself up for success, not failure.  

Pilates has a key set of terminology and principles that are unique and it is important that you learn these distinctions correctly in order for you to truly get the results that you want from Pilates and from your body. It is only when you work with a quality instructor that you will be taught these key things about Pilates.

NOTE: Be aware of the larger studio Reformer classes. It is a growing trend that studios are increasing class number sizes of group Reformer classes. They are now getting bigger with between 8 – 20 plus in a class. This is NOT how Pilates was meant to be delivered and can be very problematic and in my opinion a potentially dangerous practice.

I trust this information has been of value and benefit to you. At Pilates Success we are all about offering value to our clients, it is important that you make the right decision about where you do Pilates and who you do it with.

If you are interested in trying Pilates with experienced qualified and caring Pilate’s instructors then come in for a trial with us, you won't be disappointed.

Yours in a strong body and mind

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