Customers come to Pilates sessions for numerous reasons and will choose the class they attend depending on their goal and style preference. If you can offer them variation and are able to fit your classes around goal genre and client demographic you can create classes that are individual in style and fresh in approach.
In my experience many people, especially the younger demographic, do not fully understand the full potential Pilates can offer and instead choose to participate in the more body-part concentrated classes such as legs, bums and tums. This classic class is one that can effectively be brought together in essence with Pilates to complement and create an intense, modern ‘feel the burn’ workout that will challenge the body and people’s perceptions of Pilates.
One of my personal favourite sequences to use in classes such as these is my own take on the Side Kick by creating a series of leg exercises on the side, amalgamating the Scissors, One Leg Circle and the Side Kick. This will not only give you a great leg blasting workout but can also be modified for clients who may struggle, have contraindications to prone position or to the execution of these exercises in their traditional form.
I love to sequence these exercises one into the other with no rest when possible to create one set of 6-8 repetitions per exercise before moving to the next one. I find that the average mixed ability customers find this challenging yet achievable and they give positive feedback as to its effectiveness.
These exercises still give you the opportunity to adapt, modify and build up over time whilst catering for a variety of ability levels.
For example, they can be made easier by allowing rest in between the exercises or decreasing the repetitions. Alternatively, keeping the legs off the floor throughout or raising the number of repetitions will increase intensity and challenge stamina.
Why not add some oblique work in for that extra legs bums and tums experience and to keep your clients guessing? For example, by simultaneously raising the upper body into side flexion at the same time as raising the legs adds a Pilates twist on the traditional Side Bend, a popular favourite with all waist line toning enthusiasts. Whilst maintaining this flexed position, using the lower forearm as a support base will increase the intensity further.
Small dynamic pulses or circles will add vigour, a change in pace and that final burn in this series. Push those clients who can do more and challenge their strength, endurance and mobility. These additions may also be a welcome option for those who struggled with the larger range of motion exercises.
Keeping this fresh approach to exercises and exercise dynamics will allow your customers to reap the benefits of what are traditionally seen as the hard core toning classes with all the benefits that Pilates can offer. It also gives you the option as an instructor to offer a variety of class styles to cater for more and create a timetable of Pilates variation classes to keep you busy, challenged and sought after!
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Written by Katie Farnden