Pilates classes and dedicated Pilates studios are on the increase. But the workout and the whole Pilates experience can differ widely. We examine what to look for when searching for Pilates classes to ensure you have a good first experience.
OPTION 1: THE GYM
Pilates classes are often offered by gyms, and this is where most people first come into contact with Pilates. Pilates classes in a gym are usually conducted by an instructor at the front of a class explaining and demonstrating the Pilates exercises, with participants working out on a mat, using their body as resistance.
Gym-based Pilates classes are focused mainly on fitness and toning, rather than the rehabilitative qualities of Pilates. There are generally 20-30+ people in a class, with everyone usually doing the same exercises, with a few modifications shared for different strength levels, meaning limited individual attention for participants. Pilates classes in gyms are therefore not the right option for people with injuries or physical restrictions.
OPTION 2: CLINICAL PILATES
Pilates classes are often offered in a physio clinic, which is an entirely different experience – generally a much lower intensity and generally focused on the rehabilitative qualities of Pilates, under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist. Pilates classes in a physio clinic often complement your ‘hands on’ physio treatment, and so doing your Pilates in the clinic where you’re receiving your physio treatment is advisable.
OPTION 3: THE PILATES STUDIO
Pilates classes can also be done in a studio and generally incorporate Pilates equipment, offering variety and a whole lot more resistance. Pilates classes in a studio usually employ a range of interestingly-named equipment, such as the Pilates reformer, Pilates Trapeze Table or Cadillac, and the Pilates Wunda Chair – you might be familiar with some of these via celebrity Instagram posts, especially by Victoria Secret models.
Pilates classes in a studio are offered privately ie one-to-one (but this is often expensive), as well as in small, semi-private groups of three or four, or larger groups up to around 15 if it is a reformer studio. The private and semi private options are especially ideal for rehab, but great for those wanting dedicated attention to their strength and conditioning needs .
The group option is more cost effective, as the cost is split between participants.
Most larger groups use the Pilates reformer, aimed at delivering a full body workout, with the instructor on their own equipment, demonstrating each move. The Pilates reformer machine uses resistance springs to increase or decrease difficulty, and has clients use all planes of movement, from sitting, to lying and standing.
Some studios, such as the hugely popular Studio Pilates International, offer group reformer classes. The classes at Studio Pilates are taught under expert instruction, using video screens to provide 360 degree views of each exercise, so that the instructor is free to provide individual technique adjustments, and modifications, making it feel more like a personal training session, but with the great vibe of a group class. The Studio Pilates model is physiotherapy based, using the latest scientific knowledge on biomechanics and sports science, to create high energy, challenging classes that are sequenced in such a way as to get the best results in the shortest possible time – think toned and sculpted muscles and a super strong core. An added bonus is the super luxe fit-out that really helps clients “get away from it all”.
For more information about Pilates reformer classes, visit studiopilates.com