Group Classes – Multi-tasking the Multi-level Group Class

April 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm 27 comments

It’s the way of modern exercise.  It’s the way of modern Pilates.  It’s something Mr. Pilates rarely did, but we’ve got to do it and do it well!  Not only well, but great!  We’ve got to excel in teaching multi-level group Pilates classes.  But how?!

This is an enormous topic.  Today, I’m going to share an overview on the subject that I hope will ignite many questions from you all!  Please send them my way.  Here’s a solid read for you:

The way of modern exercise:  cram in as much new and trendy stuff into one week at the gym!  Well, Pilates got swept up into that gym mentality.  I remember when the first group mat classes were presented in gyms.  They were taught by group fitness trainers who had little to no experience in Pilates.  These were glorified stretch classes with some Pilates-like actions.  However, Pilates was becoming such the buzz-word in celebrity exercise that gyms were able to make a killing.  Sound familiar?  It’s still happening.

Thankfully, now, gym Pilates classes trainers are more educated!  There’s a lot of really great Pilates mat work going on.  Perhaps you teach one of them!  Even the most classical Pilates teacher trainer program, Power Pilates, had developed a mat class teacher training program because we believe a class format can be really effective.  And group Pilates classes have clearly expanded to reformer, tower/wall-unit and chair classes.

Mr. Pilates didn’t teach group classes.  It was only on the rare occasion that he would use the mat work in a group setting.  You can find a few  photos of him teaching the dancers up in Jacob’s Pillow doing “mat class” on the outside stage.  His studio was primarily a series of on-going semi-privates.  Everyone would be doing his/her exercises with assistance from Mr. Pilates, Clara Pilates or one of the assistants.  It was multi-level, multi-session in the studio all of the time.

Joseph Pilates teaching at Jacob's Pillow

Mr. Pilates teaching group class at Jacob's Pillow - 1946 - photo credit unknown

We want Pilates to be accessible to everyone.  That means it has to be affordable, local and at the right time.  Group classes are a great way to get a lot of people in the studio or gym class at once possibly making  a profitable hour.  If there is space in the studio or gym, one teacher teaching several is profitable.  The cost of the class is affordable to the client.  Because it’s several people who all want to workout at the same hour, the timing factor is solved, too!  A mat, tower, reformer, chair class might be a great option.

But is this really Pilates?  It’s only part of Pilates.  A Pilates session is on many apparatus.  A Pilates body and mind comes from working the method on all the apparatus…often.  However…group class can be an effective part of  an exercise regiment if taught well!

OK…there’s the background.  You’re reading this because you want to know how to teach these classes more effectively!  On to it then…

In The Ideal World, everyone would take semi-privates on all apparatus 3 times a week.  On top of it, they would do their mat work at home another 2-3 times a week.  In The Ideal World.

Another ideal situation would be that in group class there would be the following levels:  Intro, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.  Umm…this doesn’t happen often, does it?

Most of the time we find ourselves saddled with an All-Level Class/Mulit-Level Class.  There are new-comers and long-timers in the class.  You want to make sure you’re taking care of the newbies and challenging the oldies.  Here are some straightforward guidelines for any group class (mat, tower, chair, reformer, etc.):

Introduction and Class Set Up:

1 – Introduce yourself to any new students…one by one.  Ask them if they’ve ever had Pilates before.  Ask them if they have any injuries or limitations.  They will be more comfortable and you will know what to do and what not to do.  This take just a few minutes.  Show up early enough to your class to have time for this.  New students usually come early for classes.  They are a bit anxious.  You will be helping them out right away.

2 – Place your new clients in a space or on an apparatus where they can see other students do the exercises and where you know you’ll be able to assist them if necessary.  With that, place your regular clients in a way that they can be seen.

3 – At the top of the class always remind everyone that this is a multi-level class.  Briefly, tell them that you’ll be giving several versions of the exercises.  Tell them that you’ll start with the most basic and then give variations.  Then stress this important note:  “Please stick with the version of the exercise that is right for you today.  Do not feel pressure to do what your neighbor is doing.  If you come to an exercise that is not right for your body today, please leave it out and wait for the next one that is right for you.”

4 – Take a moment to teach and/or remind everyone the action of the abdominals!  “Remember, that every exercise is a full body exercise that starts in your abmoninals!  Scoop your abdominals in and up!”  Then…you must cue them often!

Material/Exercises:

1 – Mat and Reformer Class – You must follow Mr. Pilates’ order of exercises.   For multi-level classes we go with Intermediate Order on Mat or Reformer; however, you’re going to modify and/or omit exercises that are not appropriate for your students.  Safety is first!  On the mat, of course you are not giving Roll Over, Jackknife, Scissors, Bicycle, Boomerang.  On the reformer, new students never do Shortspine or Teaser on the Long Box.

2 – Tower or Chair Class – There are no set orders for these classes.  However, there are strong guidelines to follow:

  • Always start with some matwork.  At least the Beginner System with the full Abdominal Series.  This way you learn the abilities of your students; both physical and mental.  You’ll see who listens to you and then adjusts and who doesn’t.
  • Then follow the progression of exercises that go from lying down to sitting up to kneeling to standing on that apparatus. Learn from Mr. Pilates’ orders on mat and reformer and work the spine in all directions, challenge the arms and legs evenly, etc.
  • Keep the flow by doing as few changes of the spring settings either on the chair or the tower as possible.  (i.e. Do all Wunda Chair 1 spring in the middle before doing 1 top 1 bottom.  Do all push through bar exercises before moving on to roll back bar exercises or vice versa.)

Addressing Each Level of Each Exercise:

No matter what class it is, you have to address the multi-level of every single exercise.  Maintain the following notes for every exercise and be consistent.

  • Always teach the modification first.  Teach to the least advanced first.  Have everyone do this version a couple of times.  Do this for every exercise. Be consistent!
  • Once you’ve established the least advanced version, then offer the next level.  Say something like, “If you are new, stay with this version.  If you’ve been to this class before, try this next version.” (And then explain it clearly.)  Or maybe you something like, “If this first version is a good enough challenge, stay with it.  If you’re ready for another challenge, try this…”  Always remind them that it’s about what they need that day.  It’s not about keeping up with the person next to or in front of them in the class.  You must give them permission to do what’s right for themselves.  Competition is innate.  Your clients truly need permission to not compete.
  • Travel around the room.  Make sure you go hands-on to those who need you.  Especially your beginners!  Go hands-on to your beginners.  Teach them about their abdominals with your words, yes, but even more with your hands!
  • State the Obvious:  Don’t be afraid that your old-timers don’t need your old cues.  Everyone needs cues all of the time!  Your old-timers do, too!
  • Cue the abdominals for everyone first…and often!  Then cue secondary stabilizers (shoulders, mid-line of the legs, center-line, opposition, squaring of the box) next for your more advanced students.  Choose a theme so it’s not overwhelming for anyone…including yourself!
  • Take your time and remember the purpose of the class.  Remember that your job is to teach all of these levels at once.

The brand new will not be overwhelmed.  The old-timers will not be bored.   If you take the time to format each exercise of the class in the same way giving the modified version first and the more advanced version next (you might even have 3 or 4 versions going on in each exercise) you will have a very successful class.  Everyone will get his/her money’s worth!

OK, you have the rare client who complains that this is not challenging enough or it’s not basic enough.  Well, that’s when you suggest privates and semi-privates on the apparatus.  Also, you suggest that they take the Intro to Mat Class or the Intermediate Mat Class that you’ve been able to establish because your multi-level classes have been so popular and the manager of the studio or gym wants you to teach more!

****Let’s let this be a start of a conversation on how to teach group classes effectively!  Obviously, this is a huge subject…and an important one!  With that, ask me questions and I will write more on this subject.  Also, tell me what else you’d like me to blog about and I’ll get to it!  I have a great list forming and there is always room for more!

****Would you please forward this blog link to your Pilates teacher friends?  www.TheVerticalWorkshop.wordpress.com The more people we can get into the conversation, the better!  We have an incredible opportunity to help each other out!  Thank you for reading and continuing your education!  Enjoy!

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Pilates Apparatus – So many different manufacturers. Can we teach on anything? Teaching Mixed Level Semi-Private Sessions – Guidelines

27 Comments Add your own

  • […] the original:  Group Classes – Multi-tasking the Multi-level Group Class « The … Share and […]

    Reply
  • 2. yogalina  |  April 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Shari and thanks for the great conversation (once again). I do have a couple questions:
    1) How would you recommend handling/winning over clients that have a “gym mentality” in Pilates Reformer group classes (they want challenge over alignment and the more springs the better)? I teach true to classical Pilates and my BBU training and want to show the value of these core principles to this population.
    2) When you talk about cueing and “hands on” can you give examples of how and when to use touching? Thanks!
    ~meg

    Reply
    • 3. theverticalworkshop  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:47 am

      Meg, thank you for your questions! I’m going to address each of them in a separate blog: Winning over “Gym” style clients and Hands-on-Cueing! Stay-tuned! But just some quickie thoughts:
      1 – Gym Clients – Remember that Pilates is a workout! You have to teach it as a strengthening workout. Beware of a peaced-out style of session. This was created by a German man for German men. Pilates is meant to be hard-core appropriate for the client’s level and needs. If you have strong, healthy clients…go to town! For those who are not strong and healthy, know your injury modifications, work around the injury and then…go to town!
      2 – Cueing and going hands-on – Cueing refers to the words you use to “correct” alignment and enhance precision as well as the words you use to encourage use of stabilizers (abdominals, square the box, shoulder girdle, mid-line of legs, center-line of body, opposition). Hands-on cueing is actually using your two hands to guide a client. You’ll be giving them the sense of the proper movement in the exercise and opposition with your hands. Hands-on cueing is important for every client – from the newest beginner to the most advanced…but only when appropriate. Always use your words first, allow your client to attempt to make changes on her own, then go hands-on if within 2 repetitions the client needs more assitance. Only use your hands on the client for 1 or 2 repetitions…max! Work to feel a change with your hands on the client’s body, then take your hands off, step away and allow your client to do at least 1, hopefully 2 repetitions on her own maintaining what she learned from your assitance. Do not find yourself at the final repetition with your hands still on your client.
      – I hope that starts to answer your question. More to follow!

      Reply
      • 4. yogalina  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:03 am

        Thanks for responding to my questions. I agree with the verbal cueing first and hands-on when needed. Do you have any examples of exercises that you find clients most often benefit from hands-on? I also agree with your statement about Pilates being a German man and athlete. I can take that strengthening approach when teaching more atheltic-minded clients.
        Thanks!!

  • 5. Alex  |  April 7, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    How many other training bodies apart from Power push multi level training sessions?
    And if it not so many, is it fair to expect that from teachers?
    And if its hard to get quality Classical approach info on general teaching priciples, where is all the extra knowledge and more important, Confidence in this approach, going to come from?
    And what if the set up that applies to each and every individual Teacher, doesn’t allow for this flexible and encompasing style?

    Reply
    • 6. theverticalworkshop  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Thank you, Alex!
      Many studios and all gyms are working with a multitude of levels with their clients. We have a limited amount of space, time slots and instructors. With that, the multi-level class is a valuable way to get clients into take classes if you are providing them. Then it would be best to have classes be set levels: Intro, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.

      Power Pilates does give multi-level semi-privates which I think can be very beneficial to the client. The instructor has to be well-trained and really able to give 2 or more completely different sessions to the clients at the same time. That also means that the clients have to be well-trained and able to be a bit independent as instructor goes from client to the other, hands-on, and calls out cues to the others. Mr. Pilates’ studio wasn’t based on private sessions or same-level semi-privates. This doesn’t inspire as much independence as Mr. Pilates was encouraging. Privates and same-level sessions are far easier for the instructor and luxurious for the client, but, especially private sessions, foster complete dependence on the teacher. It was one of Mr. Pilates goals to urge the client towards independence. An open-studio situation would be ideal where the client comes in knowing his exercises on all apparatus and then the instructor goes around from one client to the other cueing and assisting.

      Yes, it’s fair to expect that from instructors. If you don’t know your method well enough to teach multiple levels at the same time on different exercises and apparatus, then there’s more study to do. It takes practice, critical thinking and actual care. I think that’s fair to expect from an instructor. I wouldn’t want to study with someone who couldn’t do that.

      Where does the extra knowledge and confidence come from? PRACTICE and asking questions…like you are. I will add this topic to my blog list: How to teach true semi-privates of different levels on different apparatus!

      I apologize that I don’t understand your final question. There ought to be very clear set ups for every exercise on every apparatus even with the innumerable modifications and variations available in classical Pilates or any modality for that matter. It’s up to the instructor to be clear and knowledgeable. Am I misunderstanding your question? I think I might be. Would you clarify?

      Thank you, again, for your questions! I love the conversation!

      Reply
      • 7. tina  |  November 9, 2015 at 6:48 am

        “How to teach true semi-privates of different levels on different apparatus”

        I would love to see an article on that..
        I am currently working in a studio-gym with two wunda chairs and two reformers. The tower- reformer combination gives you a lot of variety to work even with the newer clients and you can easily choose exercises that there are quite the same and can be done by the clients simultaneously… But with this combo..oh my i am struggling…
        And i am struggling because the classes are not only multi level and on different apparatus, but they consist of people of different ages, physical condition or physical restrains and usually there is a trial of somebody that hasn’t done pilates ever.
        Of course I am learning every day but I don’t believe that the lack of knowledge is the issue here.. I mean even in the pilates anytime they have only one class in different apparatus and even though the practitioners are very experienced there is a little chaos …
        Sometimes the group works, usually when by lack it consists of “good” clients, people that hear you and you can trust them to leave them unattended throughout an exercise, but we know that usually that’s not the case. I should note here that the apparatus in the studio are new so there aren’t regulars, there is a lot of gym mentality and the free trials are given to everyone even if they don’t know what pilates is. As a perfectionist I end up the most disappointed because i know the class could have been so much better.
        I tried to convince the owner for a better organization of the groups, because i believe that it is better to lose money or a new client than create something that really isn’t working and can dissatisfy those that already have bought a package but he thinks that’s a luxury.
        I could go on and on about my current situation but i think you got the point..I would love to hear your opinion on that. Is it me or that is just plain wrong?

        p.s. sorry for my english !

      • 8. tina  |  November 9, 2015 at 7:25 am

        “How to teach true semi-privates of different levels on different apparatus”

        I would love to see an article on that..
        I am currently working in a studio-gym with two wunda chairs and two reformers. The tower- reformer combination gives you a lot of variety to work even with the newer clients and you can easily choose exercises that there are quite the same and can be done by the clients simultaneously… But with this combo..oh my i am struggling…
        And i am struggling because the classes are not only multi level and on different apparatus, but they consist of people of different ages, physical condition or physical restrains and usually there is a trial of somebody that hasn’t done pilates ever.
        Of course I am learning every day but I don’t believe that the lack of knowledge is the issue here.. I mean even in the pilates anytime they have only one class in different apparatus and even though the practitioners are very experienced there is a little chaos …
        Sometimes the group works, usually when by lack it consists of “good” clients, people that hear you and you can trust them to leave them unattended throughout an exercise, but we know that usually that’s not the case. I should note here that the apparatus in the studio are new so there aren’t regular clients with pilates experience, there is a lot of gym mentality and the free trials are given to everyone even if they don’t know what pilates is. As a perfectionist I end up the most disappointed because i know the class could have been so much better.
        I tried to convince the owner for a better organization of the groups, because i believe that it is better to lose money or a new client than create something that really isn’t working and can dissatisfy those that already have bought a package but he thinks that’s a luxury.
        I could go on and on about my current situation but i think you got the point..I would love to hear your opinion on that. Is it me or this is just plain wrong?

        p.s. sorry for my english !

  • 9. Leslie Melvin  |  April 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    As far as attempting to teach multi-level students in a Mat class, I’ve found that going back to very modified/beginner exercises, such as the half roll-back, can be really beneficial for all levels– It gives the brand new, or very powerhouse-challenged student an amazing way to connect and build strength, while it still gives the more advanced student an excellent powerhouse boost. It’s up to us as teachers to get them to find the hard, deep work in some of the most simple exercises! Then as I move along to the Roll Up, the beginner student has an option to continue the Rolling Back if the Rolling Up proves too difficult. I teach several mutli-level Mat classes and find that offering a modification doesn’t interrupt the Flow –it just adds to the depth of the class for everyone!

    Reply
    • 10. theverticalworkshop  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:13 pm

      Leslie, thank you! I agree: even the most advanced student can be challenged with the most basic or modified version of an exercise! In fact, it’s the advanced student that really has the ability to find the depth in these versions making the seemingly easy utterly difficult!

      Reply
  • 11. Alex  |  April 10, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Luxurious and Pilates In the same sentence!! Awesome writing!
    Nobody undertands me Shari, as I rearely make any sense….I have a Huge apology to make I have re read this Blog and I originaly tied it in to “Studio Semi Private Multi level sessions” Rather than more group based classes (larger numbers etc) shame on me for that, sorry.
    So yes, its a given that different levels of exercise be given to the relevant person all in the same class, levels within Levels, that is the minimum respect a client deserves.

    As for the rest, well that was on the observation of teaching mixed level semi privates, which I should just keep my thoughts to myself as you are going to write about it, far better from you.

    I was thinking (not very well, clearly) that if bullet proof information was widely available, which it seems it is not, (plenty of Pilates information out there not all has any value!) hence the reason behind this blog?
    So this Blog is written, to help bring Classical Pilates to more people at the level it SHOULD be taught at, it would there for mean that it isnt for what ever reason being taught as well as it could be, so why?
    Is it because its to hard to do so, maybe, or is it because Education is lacking? I don’t have any answers by the way, just questions.
    So People and teachers are fumbling for quality info 1st, then there is an expectation that they should be taking that wobbly info, and, moving up to the hardest level (in my opinion) of teaching mixed levels of clients at the same time, on various equipment at the same time.
    True Independence!
    But if your training program hasn’t furnished you with the tools, where do you start?
    Practice all you want, It must be like looking for the light switch in the dark with out help and guidlines?
    Who are all the people that we should be asking if this is so common place?
    If there were thousands od Shari’s then wouldn’t there be hundreds more blogs like this?
    I think your expectations are perfect, truely beautifull standard, which makes so much sense in so many ways.
    Not the easiest thing to achieve….this week anyway!
    As for Clarity, The set up that is relevant to an individual teachers was not ment in relation to individual exercises, more in the way of enviroment.
    If the studio manager doesn’t agree pilates should be taught that way then its difficult ti put into practice no matter hwo dedicated a teacher.
    If the studio set up is not compatible with this style, equipment availabilty, studio lay out etc, again how do you practice this approach?
    You have to bare with me, I’m not that bright….

    Reply
    • 12. theverticalworkshop  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

      Alex, when a person first learns to teach Pilates (or anything for that matter), he can only take in so much information and put it to use. It’s with time and experience that one learns that more is needed. So, that person asks his teacher, his friends, researches books, websites, blogs, etc. He goes to conferences and continues his education. The purpose of this blog is to aid in that continuing education no matter what the pedigree of the teacher. Senior or junior teacher; classical or progressive teacher.

      I think there are a lot of well-meaning people teaching and teacher-training out there. Often times, they are well-meaning, but not well-educated. Some realize that they need more education and seek it! They are the sort of people I would want teaching in my studio; those who truly know that there is more to learn and then go and get it! Then, there are those who don’t even realize that they need more education. Either they are stubborn, too insecure to ask for assistance or just unaware. Those are the sort who are not really teachers.

      Some say, “You only know what you know” meaning that you don’t know what you don’t know…giving permission to ignorance. I believe it’s our job as human beings to seek out what we don’t know! I look for holes in my understanding of Pilates and nearly everything else! I want to find out that there is something that I need to learn. I do believe that this enhances my teaching…I’m always looking for what I don’t know and seeking the information!

      It’s true that most training programs are not substantial. A lot of training programs came out of the quick observation that there is money to be made by creating one. Capitalism rules. The majority of training programs are run and created by people who have absolutely no business doing so. Still…they do. That’s the way of the world. It happens in all areas of business. Those students who go through the programs that are “less-than” and realize it ultimately seek more education. I honor those people and encourage that sort of seeking in all of us.

      I wish that all training programs were brilliant. However, it’s simply not possible. Not every college or university is Yale, Harvard, Cambridge or Oxford. It would be great if every learning institution were top-notch. They just aren’t. We hope that all are good enough to give good foundations and that those who go through these programs know where to continue their education. And, just like with those great universities, not all who go through brilliant programs are brilliant teachers. I have had all too many people who have passed the Power Pilates programs, but are not good teachers. Just because you’re able to pass the testing process doesn’t mean you are any good. I should hope that the information these people took in is so exceptional that even these lesser teachers will fare well and so will their clients. I should hope.

      Reply
  • 13. Alex  |  April 10, 2010 at 9:32 am

    As you can clearly see with my spelling and typing….:(

    Reply
  • 14. Leslie Melvin  |  April 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    wow.

    Reply
  • 15. Jessica  |  April 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    As clear and concise as your blog is…I’m afraid multi-level Mat Classes in a gym setting will never be! My problem with the multi-level class is that if there are 20 students, 10 are PRESENT…they are listening and engaged. 5 are STRUGGLING…but they want it, it’s a great challenge , but they seem willing to make the effort. Then there are the 5 that I want to throw out of the class by their hair…the 5 that had an hour to kill before Spin Class, or heard Pilates is good for weight loss and they wanna try, thought Pilates was a “stretching” class, or their late to class…they’re NOT listening, their frustrated because they didn’t realize there would be so much going on, instead of listening to me they’re staring at the other students, trying exercises I just told them not to do. The 5 can also be “bored” and distracted easily or disruptive (especially if they come in a pair or more). I’m not sure if you can tell, but I’m not a fan of gym Pilates Mat Classes (especially at a gym with high new client turn over rate…so a lot of newbies to not only Pilates, but fitness in general). I think there’s something different about classes in a studio setting where everyone who walks in is there for PILATES. I feel like a used car saleswoman trying to push Pilates on these gym style clients! Sorry if I rant! I’m looking forward to your blog “Winning over “gym” style clients! 🙂

    Reply
    • 16. pilatesinaus  |  April 11, 2010 at 2:06 am

      Thanks for sharing what you do Shari. I appreciate everything you have written so far and look forward to more. Jessica, I teach a multi level mat class in a gym and find the ones who are coming in before the spin class either get it and stay or never come back – no problem – leaves room for those who are interested to learn. Over the past couple of years I have built the class up from a regular 5 or 6 to now a regular 18-20 clients. I attribute that increase to changing my teaching style to a more classical approach than the method I was taught to teach. Alex, although I was not taught ‘Classical” pilates, many many hours spent on websites such as this, workshops and DVDs has helped me become a much better teacher. That and actually teaching what I have learnt.

      Reply
      • 17. theverticalworkshop  |  April 12, 2010 at 9:57 am

        It sounds like what you are doing in your classes is working! Keep doing it!

    • 18. theverticalworkshop  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

      Jessica, as others have shared in their comments already multi-level classes can and are…

      Human beings are human beings. Some will be present and some will not. Your job is to teach Pilates and teach that class. With that those people who are less-than present will be as present as they can be. They came to class…that’s a great step already! Those clients that you want to throw out of class…they need the class, too. They don’t need you to focus on them more, they just need these sort of classes where they are directed to focus. If they really don’t like the class and it’s not right for them, they won’t come back and that’s fine, too.

      For some reason everyone thinks you have to teach gym people differently. You don’t. The issue really is how a teacher is teaching in general. If a teacher is lax in the studio and doesn’t really have command of the material and the session, then a teacher will have a lot of trouble in a gym. I’ll write about it, for sure.

      Reply
  • 19. Nicole  |  April 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Shari thanks for writing on this subject that is so relevant to my teaching right now! The tips you offered are fantastic! I think that no matter what teaching atmosphere we find ourselves in…we must rise to the occasion! I currently teach several multi-level Mat and Reformer classes each week. I have a strong group of regulars and then a constant flow of “newbies” to my classes. Yes..it’s a huge challenge dealing with these classes..but I feel that it’s up to me to make it a valuable class for everyone. Most of my teaching experience has been in a studio setting which I love…but that is not where I find myself today. I’m passionate about teaching Classical Pilates and try to pass that on to each of my “gym” clients. There will always be people who come and go but staying true to what I know sure is helping to build up my classes!

    Reply
    • 20. theverticalworkshop  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

      Nicole, it’s appropriate that your training was for the studio setting. You must learn Pilates to the fullest and learn to teach Pilates to the fullest before doing any sort of spin-off. Group classes focusing on one apparatus (whether it be mat or tower, etc.) are spin-offs from Pilates. They are not Pilates in truth. So, your training was substantial and ought to be enough, along with your critical thinking, to teach these variations on Pilates…meaning group class. Now, some people’s training and ability to think is not comprehensive enough and they can’t hack it. You’re fortunate to have both substantial training and great critical thinking. So, while it might be a challenge to do something new to you, you can do it!

      Reply
  • 21. Karen  |  April 11, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I teach multi-level semi-privates, and for the most part, my clients love it. The more advanced clients get more focus and depth, the newer clients feel a little more challenged to keep up and master their form.

    I can also relate to Jessica wrt teaching Mat Pilates in a gym. It’s a very mixed bag. Some clients will love and follow you because they understand it and get the benefits, some have taken from non-trained “Pilates” teachers and realize the difference. However, there are a lot who are just clueless – they haven’t LISTENED to anything anyone has said in so long, they don’t know how anymore. They get very frustrated when the instructor isn’t doing the exercise with them — they like monkey see, monkey do (only they do whatever they want). There are those that should be thrown out for being disruptive (and btw, they are usually disruptive in Step, Bosu, Sculpt, Boot Camp, etc — they’re the same people every instructor wants to bounce). I’ve had clients argue with me in gyms about lights on/off because they want them off to “relax” — got angry when I told them Pilates was a work out, not a relaxation technique, ignore my instructions because they “like doing it this way better,” go at their own tempo (using momentum, not their powerhouse and flailing all over the mat like a dying fish) because they “want more cardio,” or just plain off to one side doing something else entirely for no reason. I’ve had members walk through the middle of a Mat class to get to equipment at the far side of the room, because they didn’t respect Pilates as a “real” class. It’s mind-boggling and frustrating.

    I also had a prospective client tell me she hated Pilates based on one “beginner” class at her gym where they balanced on stability balls while lifting weights. The Group Fitness Instructor side of me says that’s not a beginner class, period, the Pilates Instructor side says it’s not Pilates. I told her I doubted the instructor had Pilates training and she thought I was crazy, but she asked the gym. They confirmed, NONE of their instructors has Pilates teacher training, although several teach “Pilates” classes.

    Love the blog and all the comments! Thanks!!

    Reply
    • 22. theverticalworkshop  |  April 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

      Karen, I’m sorry you’re had such horrible situations in group class! I’ll definitely write about teaching in gyms. My suggestion to all teachers in all situations is that you have to remember who is in charge: You. If for a moment you drop your position and give it to your clients by allowing them to dictate what they believe the class ought to be…then you’ve lost your class. There are people who just want to complain and rant and try to take control of any and every situation. Those people are just incredibly insecure. They need a strong teacher. They need a strong leader in the class. They absolutely do not need to be appeased. They’re actually asking to be told what to do. Now, I’m not saying that you bow down to them, Karen, you’ve just given me an opportunity to talk about this briefly!

      Just teach what you teach and teach it well…really well! Be strong and remember that you are the expert!

      Reply
  • 23. Alex  |  April 12, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Is throwing out by the hair, Classical or Modified…..? 😉

    Reply
    • 24. theverticalworkshop  |  April 12, 2010 at 9:50 am

      Hmm…I’m going to have to do some research! I’ll get back to you on that!

      Reply
  • […] Group Classes – Multi-tasking the Multi-level Group Class2010/04/07 […]

    Reply
  • […] Group Classes – Multi-tasking the Multi-level Group Class2010/04/07 […]

    Reply
  • 27. The Vertical Workshop's Pilates Teacher Blog  |  December 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    […] Group Classes – Multi-tasking the Multi-level Group Class2010/04/07 […]

    Reply

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sessions via Skype

Would you like to do a workout, question/answer or mini-workshop session with Shari? Each week, Shari works with teachers all over the world via Skype. Email Shari at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com

Workshop Download – The Music of Pilates

Buy, Info, FREE Sample

Workshops

Full info listed under "Workshop Calendar" at www.TheVerticalWorkshop.com/workshops

EVERY DAY at your home:
The Music of Pilates
www.TheVerticalWorkshop.com/the-music-of-pilates

2017...
January 13-15 Webinar
June 9-11 Rio de Janeiro, BRASIL
(more to come as I work around my graduate school schedule)

2016...
February 26-28 Rhinebeck, NY
March 10-13 - Live-Streaming Webinar of The Intensives Seminar #1
April 1-3 Bethesda, MD
April 22-24 - London, ENGLAND
May 15 - NYC, NY
June 3-5 London, ENGLAND
July??? - Live-Streaming Webinar of The Intensives Seminar #2
September 30 - October 2 London, ENGLAND

EVERY DAY at your home:
The Music of Pilates
www.TheVerticalWorkshop.com/the-music-of-pilates

Archives

Special Thanks:

NYC's Finest Chiropractor

Joe Fiedler Trio

Incredible Music

Fantastic Music

The Vertical Workshop

Link yourself to this blog…

Would you like to be listed on the Pilates Teacher Blog like the links you see above in "Special Thanks"?
E-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com to find out how!


%d bloggers like this: