Avoiding injuries in your Studio Pilates class

Written on the 21 January 2015 by Studio Pilates

There are a few key ways to avoid injuries in your Studio Pilates class. In this article we examine the 3 most important.

1) Use the Studio PilatesPre-Amble to give ownership to the member
2) Ask your pre-class questions
3) Use your levels and give even easier variations

1) Use the Studio Pilates Pre-Amble to give ownership to the member

The critical parts of your Pre-Amble are as follows:

"Please remember that this is a workout class and not an injury rehabilitation class. You must always work within your limits, some exercises may have different levels and it is important to choose the level that's right for you. Level -1 is always the easiest and please remember, you may rest at any stage throughout the workout if you need to".

By saying this, you encourage your class members to take ownership over their own body to work within their own limits and to select the exercises that they choose to do and not do in the class. If an exercise looks too hard or the person knows or thinks that it may hurt them then they simply should not do it, rest, and wait for the next suitable exercise to commence.

"You will feel the muscles working in your class today but you should never feel any pain in the neck back or any of the joints. If you do experience pain, either choose an easier level, or stop the exercise and simply wait for the next one".

Some members will want maximum value for their money and will doggedly persist with the hardest levels of all the exercises even if they don't physically suit them. It's important to try and identify these people through your pre-class questioning to make things just that extra little bit safer.

2) Ask your pre-class questions

By asking your pre-class questions, you get more of an idea if someone is injured or if they have a physical restriction. This may be impossible to do with everyone if it's your first time instructing or if you're filling in for someone, but try your best. Through consistent asking of the start questions you will start to remember their restrictions and limitations.

Over time, you will recognise many regular faces in your class and there will most likely only be a small handful of new comers. The new comers are the ones you really need to check on and so make sure you ask the new people your start questions if you are too short of time to get to everyone.

Just to revise, the pre-class questions are:

"How are you feeling today?" - This gauges energy and mood
"How's your body?" - This gives the client permission to tell you about any injuries
"Are you ready for a hard workout?" - If they have indicated an injury, you would advise them to work within their limits, perhaps advise them of exercises that may cause them pain within the class, and when you're giving your levels in your class, try to make eye contact with them so they know that this applies to them.

You can't really stop members from trying a hard variation, just know that you've done all that you can to avoid an injury or issue.

After class, ask them how they felt during their workout and if they felt their injury or not.

If they didn't, then great, if they did then suggest they choose the easier levels. If they chose easier levels and they still felt it, advise them to have more rests. If they did this and still they felt it, then advise them the class may not suit them and suggest they seek physio treatment or visit a Studio Pilates International® studio.

3) Use your levels and give even easier variations

There may be easier variations to the exercise than ones given in the current program sequence.

If you have someone who indicated to you they have a sore X and you know that a particular exercise could possibly hurt them, you can give an even easier variation of the exercise.

An example of this might be 100s and instead of the knees in tabletop as level 1, keeping the feet on the floor is level 1. If there is no one who has indicated a chronic case of lower back pain, you would not usually use this level as it will increase your exercise set up and explanation time unnecessarily, slowing the flow of your class.

If you also know something could possibly hurt someone you can also give an alternative exercise. For example, if someone has bad wrists and they get sore when loading them up doing Tricep Circles or a push up action, then you might say "for those who find this hurts their wrists, you might like to do flight instead" and give a demo no longer than 1 second long.

Remember you must cater for the largest portion of your class, not the smallest. Don't burn time, focus, attention etc catering to one person in your class who probably shouldn't be doing it because of an injury. If you do, you will find that class numbers diminish and suddenly you are left with a class of just one person!

An individual with a restriction or injury will have no issues just lying there until the next suitable exercise comes around and they will appreciate the effort you've gone to in giving them an alternative exercise.


Author: Studio Pilates