The benefits of using equipment in Pilates

School Of Pilates Posted Mar 12, 2015 Future Fit Training


Joseph Pilates used equipment such as the reformer to help his clients understand the movements and exercises he was teaching.

The benefits of using equipment in Pilates

Sometimes the equipment made the exercises physically easier, sometimes it just made them easier to understand.  Either way, he made sure his participants had correct technique before they could progress to doing mat Pilates.

Nowadays we teach mat Pilates as standard with no prerequisite to have understood the basics using equipment first.  We use adaptations, modifications and lower options to help clients understand the basics before (if ever) progressing anywhere near the original 34 moves – so why not also use equipment?  If it’s good enough for Joseph Pilates to use to help his clients feel and understand their core, why shouldn’t my clients get that benefit?

Choose your equipment wisely.  A reformer may be brilliant, but they are expensive, take up a lot of space, and you could only teach one person at a time on it.  Something as simple as a band can be amazing if used well.  They are cheap, easy to transport and suitable for use by anyone (and latex free bands are also available).  Large fitness balls are brilliant if you work in a studio that has them.  If you are based in a church hall it would be almost impossible to transport more than one.  Small balls are a great tool too.  They encourage your creativity as an instructor, help clients assess their stability and are cheap, easy to transport and most of all they make a difference.

The one piece of equipment I would never be without is the half foam rollers.  Admittedly I originally bought one of these by mistake, but then I realised what a gift this little piece of foam could become to the Pilates teaching community!  I bought a set and began taking them to classes and the response from clients was fantastic.  For the first time they could feel what each exercise was supposed to do and they were able to tell if they had accidentally neglected their core previously during a movement.

Using equipment such as a stability tool can help clients understand how to engage their transverse.  Using equipment as a kinaesthetic tool can help the client perform the movement correctly.  Equipment is therefore crucial to clients to help them progress. 

If you are an existing Pilates instructor, you are already aware of the challenges faced teaching those with less functional body awareness, but for whom Pilates would be of great benefit.  Using equipment in Pilates suddenly opens up new options, progressions, alternatives, adaptations and modifications.  Your ability to confidently teach absolutely anyone increases, your class numbers increase and as your clients begin to understand the exercises, they will have you and your equipment to thank.

You can read more about becoming a Pilates teacher here.

Written by Heather Oakes

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