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Future Fit Traning

Adapting Your Pilates Class – Part 2

In our second part, we’ll bring you further ideas on how to include a range of fitness concepts in your Pilates class and give them a fresh feel.

We have previously looked at special populations, age considerations and mixed ability sessions and the areas of attention needed when teaching these groups of people.

Current Trends

Modern fitness adaptations and class types can be amalgamated with traditional Pilates. Some examples of these are Fitness Pilates, Yogalates, Legs, Bums and Tums, or even Dance Pilates. These will appeal to a range of clientele and are great at adding a modern twist.

Legs, Bums, and Tums is a well-known class that women, in particular, have flocked to for many years. Why not use its popularity to attract people to your Pilates class? You could fuse the two to focus on heavily working those particular areas of the body. However, remember that too many exercises for one area in succession are very challenging for beginners. For example:


  • The Hundred
  • 1-Leg Stretch
  • Double Leg Stretch
  • Scissors

You could even add more sets to exercises to fuse the principles of resistance training for the more advanced classes or classes where the clients have particular strength aims.

For example:


Set 1

  • The Hundred
  • 1-Leg Stretch
  • Double Leg Stretch
  • Scissors


Set 2

  • The Hundred with 1 leg extended for 5 breaths per leg
  • 1-Leg Stretch modified with arms by your side
  • Double leg stretch with hands-on head and modified with an oblique twist each time the knees are drawn in
  • Scissors with arms controlled by your sides


Set 3:

  • The Hundred with both legs extended
  • 1-Leg Stretch modified with an oblique twist
  • Double Leg Stretch modified by rotating the legs from the hips when extended (1st position ballet)
  • Scissors modified – start with the legs above the hips, head and shoulders down and arms straight above the shoulders. Lower the right leg whilst extending the right arm over the head to the floor. Keep the left leg above the hip and lower the left arm down by your side. The drawback to the start position and repeat on the other side.


This could even be done as part of a circuit with other exercises, either one after the other to form a set or in a traditional circuit style.

For example:

The Push-Up >>> Leg Pull Prone >>> Swan Dive >>> Side Kick >>>The Saw >>>

Side kick other side <<<Scissors <<< Shoulder Bridge <<<The Hundred <<<

If a class has a goal or audience that prefers a relaxed pace, focus mostly on flexibility and mobility with a slower pace and more release stretches.

For example:

  • Swan Dive
  • Into Cat Stretch
  • Swimming 4-point kneeling position
  • Into Child’s Pose
  • Spine Twist
  • Spine Stretch
  • Saw
  • Into Mermaid Stretches
  • The Hundred
  • Into full body stretch
  • 1-Leg Stretch at beginner level feet on the floor
  • Into full body stretch
  • Shoulder Bridge
  • Into knees to chest

Sports Specific

Classes can also be adapted to suit a more sport-orientated audience. A runner’s needs would be marginally different from those of a rugby player, for example. A class for runners could focus primarily on hip mobility and flexibility, the flexibility of the hamstrings and calves and strength in the glutes, predominately in the Sagittal plane. A rugby player would need a lot more strength-based work, particularly in the upper body, core and hamstrings to accommodate their explosive power. This would also be alongside flexibility and mobility exercises. Both these groups would do well with intensive dynamic focus, with the rugby-orientated group needing a functional balance of exercises in all planes of movement. For example:

Runners -Shoulder Bridge raising alternate legs to a tabletop

Rugby players – dynamic Shoulder Bridge moving at a faster movement pace

Runners – Side Kick into One Leg Circle

Rugby players – the Push-Up into Leg Pull Prone

These are only a few ideas available to you as Pilates instructors although you can offer a wide variety of classes all under the umbrella of Pilates. Design, market and brand your classes. Create a class to suit old and new ideas and genres to accommodate all needs and to add variety to your own teaching journey.

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