Leaders In Fitness

Entries in Teaching Strategies (73)

Pilates for Equestrians

photo by Bob GoberBy Elizabeth Hanson 

As Pilates instructors we know that restoring balance, strength and flexibility in the body will help anyone improve in their favorite sport. For equestrians of all disciplines and levels this is particularly true, as riding can be hard on the body. Until recently, riders have not given much credence to cross-training as a way to improve their performance. Fortunately, this is changing and more equestrians are realizing that if they want to get the most out of their ride, they need to spend some time off the horse improving their physical condition.

Having worked with riders for many years, I have found that the best way to get their attention is to learn how to “speak equestrian” in Pilates sessions. They want to know how each exercise will help them with their particular riding issues. If you understand what the imbalances in their bodies cause them to do incorrectly on horseback, you can make their Pilates workouts more effective, and most importantly, give them big incentive to come back. Knowing how to assess pelvic imbalances and spinal conditions and apply correctives, as I do for my equestrian clients, is a great tool for any Pilates instructor.

5 Ways to Build Successful Client–Instructor Relationships

By Devra Swiger

There isn’t much good news these days. Between the high unemployment rate, the dismal housing market and crooked Wall Street investors, some Pilates businesses are facing new challenges. Yet despite the weakened economy, there are still people willing to spend money on Pilates training, but keep in mind the rules have changed. Now more than ever, a client has to really feel that he or she is benefiting from each and every session. This means that client–instructor relationships have to be strong, positive and mutually beneficial.

What makes for a successful instructor–client relationship? How can you make a difference in the life of a client? What can you do to keep the client loyal to both you and the Pilates method? How do we as instructor keep our clients during these bad economic times? Read on…

Posted on Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro in , | Comments4 Comments

Daisy Fuentes Teaches Pilates

By Alycea Ungaro

Yes, it’s true; the Pilates technology you’ve been waiting for is about to be released. Pilates has come to the Wii, merging fitness and fun in the newest incarnation of mass-market health and wellness. Your teacher is none other than the delightful and engaging Daisy Fuentes.

Wait, what? Daisy Fuentes? Uh, ok. Why?

I knew Daisy Fuentes did Pilates but when did she become a teacher? Common sense dictates that she must have expanded her credentials and become a trained Pilates instructor. I mean the corporate bigwigs at Sega wouldn’t have dared to allow her to instruct what will be roughly, oh, I don’t know…millions of people for fear of injury. Hmmm…maybe not.

I’m thinking Daisy did not enroll in a certification course and log in hundreds of practice hours so that she could teach you the perfect form and proper execution of the Pilates method. I’m guessing she didn’t hit the books hard to learn human anatomy or the basics of exercise physiology either. [You can see snipets from the Wii Pilates program here.]

To be clear, I’m not really picking on Daisy here. I’m sure she’ll make do just fine. Maybe as good as Jane Fonda even, or the myriad other celebrities that suddenly become fitness experts overnight. Personally, I just like to believe that my teachers are really teachers and that the experts I let into my life are really experts. So far as I can tell, Daisy’s claim to fame here is…her fame.

Think for a moment about the people you learned the most from in your life. Your first grade teacher: not famous, I’m sure. A coach or dance teacher: similarly off the radar by media standards. A professor somewhere along the way? These people were educators. Trained not only in their discipline but also in the discipline of teaching. Teaching is a craft. A skill set not easily learned and one that is very difficult to master.

Legend has it that Joe Pilates was not a very good teacher. He was a remarkable inventor, an unparalleled innovator but none to impressive with his communication skills. By contrast, his wife Clara is touted as the real teacher at the original Pilates studio. Her gentle touch and soothing voice are recalled even today by her devoted students.

I’m happy that Pilates has come this far and that people worldwide will have the benefit of Pilates in their homes. It’s thrilling to see the growth of this method still soaring after all these years. And I guess that celebrities not only endorsing but now branding Pilates as their own is a hallmark of the method’s success. So what’s next?

Will Miley Cyrus launch a Teen-ilates DVD? Let’s hope not.

Alycea Ungaro is the owner of Real Pilates in New York. This essay was originally published on Alycea’s blog.

Teachers-Only Pilates Classes
Going Green in the Studio
Hosting a Successful Holiday Event

Pilates for Teens: A New Trend?

Pilates for Teens

By Nicole Rogers

Joseph Pilates hoped to reach every possible age and demographic with his method. In this spirit, there has been an increase in Pilates outreach for children in recent years, but lately, we’ve noticed a number of Pilates studios designing Pilates classes for teens specifically.

We interviewed several Pilates for teens teachers to get their insight and advice into developing teen Pilates programs. Most cited personal experience as their reason for starting a teen class – a serious back injury as a young gymnast, a struggle with anorexia in high school, and from everyone, the simple understanding of how difficult the teen years can be in general. These experiences have led to classes that run the spectrum. The classes may or may not be strictly Pilates, but all are places for teens (often girls) to express themselves and explore movement in a safe environment.

Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs

Dawn-Marie Ickes

Allyson CabotGabrielle Shrier






In the third installment of Pilates on Call—our month-long open Q&A with Pilates experts—we’re thrilled to welcome the owners of Core Conditioning in Los Angeles: Dawn-Marie Ickes, MPT (l); Allyson Cabot, PT (m); and Gabrielle Shrier, MPT (r). The three physical therapists/Pilates instructors founded Core Conditioning, a pair of integrated wellness centers, in 2003, where they combine physical therapy with Pilates and Gyrotonic for rehabilitation, as well as offer group classes.

This month, they will be taking your questions on joint injuries and issues—hips, knees, shoulders, feet, spine, neck, etc. Chances are you have encountered clients with problems with all of the above and more. Or perhaps you have a new client with an injury you’ve never dealt with before. Here’s you chance to get the PT-Pilates perspective on how to help them. Post your questions in the comments section below or email editor@pilates-pro.com. Dawn-Marie, Allyson and Gabrielle will get to them as quickly as possible, but might need a day or two to respond.

The Pilates Push

How to help pregnant clients have a smooth delivery

By Debbi Goodman, MSPT
Pilates and pregnancyPilates can be a wonderful tool to help women feel great during and after pregnancy. A modified Pilates program with emphasis on diaphragm and transversus abdominus strengthening will help to support the growing uterus, prevent low back pain and improve posture. Many people don’t realize it, but core strengthening also helps pregnant women during the pushing phase of delivery.

Prenatal Pilates instructors are in a great position to help pregnant women obtain the strength for pushing as well as to educate women on how to push properly. I’ll explain how after the jump.

Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 10:58AM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , , | Comments5 Comments

Pilates Breathing: Why and How

Pilates Breathing
By Kyria Sabin

While there are many valid forms of conscious breathing that support different forms of movement and relaxation, Pilates teachers emphasize posterior-lateral breathing over other techniques. Cues like “breathe laterally” and “breathe into the back” are common. Uncommon are the WHY and HOW.

The Whys of Posterior-Lateral Breathing
The four basic “whys” are fairly straightforward:

  • Increase breathing capacity and lung function
  • Maintain abdominal support of the lumbar spine
  • Improve thoracic spinal mobilization and function
  • Restore optimal posture

How to Teach Posterior-Lateral Breathing
When teaching posterior-lateral breathing, tactile feedback often works best. The following are a few teaching tips:

  • Begin with gentle spinal flexion, lateral flexion and rotation, allowing breath to initiate and facilitate the movement.
  • Lie lengthwise on a foam roller with knees bent. Focus on feeling the ribs open laterally away from the spine/roller on inhalation, exhaling fully.
  • Lie supine on a flat surface with knees bent. Inhale to feel the full rib cage spread or fan laterally from the back, maintaining a lengthened spine.
  • Seated tall, wrap a wide band or folded towel around the lower 6 to 7 ribs, crossing the ends in front, gently pulling to emphasize closing of the ribs. Use the band to experience the opening and closing of the ribs from the spine with each breath.

Kyria Sabin is Director of Fletcher Pilates, Inc. and Body Works Studio.

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 at 04:00PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , | Comments1 Comment

Teaching Group Pilates Reformer Classes: 5 Steps to Success

Nike Pilates StudioThe Pilates studio at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, OR
By Christine Binnendyk
With recession-strapped clients groaning at the cost of private Pilates sessions, you may find yourself thrust into a new style of teaching – group Pilates Reformer classes. The incentive for trainers is a higher per-hour wage, yet you’ll now find yourself challenged to make the leap from focusing on one or two clients at a time to observing, correcting and safe-keeping six, eight or more bodies at once.

I train 12 people at a time at the Nike World Headquarters. Any given group class can include professional athletes, people managing bulging discs, Olympic-hopeful runners, harried executives, new moms and pregnant employees. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to make these classes work. Follow my guidelines, and you’ll have a map for:

  • Gathering a group you feel comfortable teaching
  • Choosing the exercise variations to keep that group interested
  • Keeping all learning styles engaged
  • Developing a successful communication style

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12:19PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , | Comments9 Comments

Pilates DVD Review: Jennifer Kries' Master Trainer Series

By Nicole Rogers

Jennifer Kries—Pilates educator, owner of the Hot Body Cool Mind studio in Philadelphia, and arguably first to bring Pilates to the masses with her award-winning “The Method” videos—is back with an ambitious new series of five Pilates DVDs. The Pilates Method Master Trainer Series covers Joseph Pilates’ classical series on the Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrel, with one piece of equipment covered on each DVD, as well as a segment on the magic circle and a “sculpting” section using hand weights.

Pilates for Feet 

By Madeline Black
Pilates has developed a reputation for building core strength, especially once the fitness and physical therapy worlds came to Pilates in the 1990s. But my history with early Pilates, studying in New York in the late ’80s, was always about the feet. Along the way, the core became the mantra of Pilates. I strongly feel the time has come to a focus on the feet again.

In Pilates, the feet are very important to the way we engage the body, and they deserve more attention. Feet bring to mind metaphors for moving us forward in life and finding our sense of place and existence in the world. Yet in our bodies, we pay little attention to them. We squish them into shoes, stand for long periods of time, walk on cement sidewalks. I live in the country, and we still do not pay attention to our feet here. If we did, we may lessen back issues, hip and knee pain, and release our necks.