Entries in Teaching Strategies (73)
By Julian Littleford
During my Pilates career of 33 years I have seen a significant increase in the amount of men practicing Pilates. At my Pilates studio, there is a 65/35 ratio of women to men. That’s pretty good, I feel, considering the majority of my male Pilates clients are not dancers. Movement-based exercise programs such as this can sometimes seem to be too challenging and somewhat overwhelming, but my male Pilates clients include a wide spectrum of performers, professional athletes, weekend warriors, coach potatoes, husbands, doctors, senior citizens and pre- and post-surgery patients. They come for a variety of reasons. Sometimes their wives send them, others are fed up with the gym approach, some come as personal referrals from clients, doctors and physical therapists. It doesn’t matter how they come, they come!
By Nicole Rogers
While a good, flowing Pilates session can elevate your heart rate and make you sweat, many instructors find that their clients crave ways to integrate more cardio into their workout routine. With this in mind, Pilates studios across the country offer classes that focus specifically on cardio. It helps to note that in this economy, gyms are slashing membership fees to lure new members, so any incentive for clients to stay in the Pilates studio is a welcome addition. Here we take a look at several studios who have added successful cardio classes. If you’d like to add some cardio to your Pilates offerings, take notes—then get cardio-creative!
Any Pilates instructor knows that the one exercise requested over and over again by clients is jumping on the jump board. In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever said the word “jumping” to me in a Pilates studio without smiling. Jumping is fun and weightless and graceful—what’s not love? To help you with new ideas for this classical prop, Pilates Sports Center has produced The Jump Board Workout, a 50-minute DVD for intermediate and advanced levels.
By Caroline Anthony
As Pilates instructors, we are seeing many more middle-aged women in our classes, and they are an energetic, dynamic group to say the least. Women today are much more active, informed and focused on their health and fitness than they were several decades ago. Many have been exercising for years and are not about to stop now that they are reaching their menopausal years.
The onset of menopause does, however, bring several changes to women’s lives, and from what I’ve found, they appreciate all the help they can get with navigating through it. It is interesting to look at some of the symptoms of menopause and how exercise can help alleviate some of them. It is even more interesting to look at the ways in which Pilates can help many of these symptoms.
By Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
Pilates training can be an excellent way to achieve the postural re-education and muscle-balancing necessary to recover from the side effects of breast cancer treatment. Pilates can help alleviate pain from breast cancer operative procedures, restore joint mobility and tissue integrity, and help regain lost strength. Most importantly, Pilates can be a gateway for a true “Return to Life” for many women, as the title of Joseph Pilates’ popular book states. However, Pilates instructors should be on the lookout for some often coincident injuries that will require additional special knowledge about the shoulder complex in order to work safely and effectively with the growing population of breast cancer survivors.
Pilates is a wonderful form of exercise for pregnant women. Through Pilates, women can stay strong and fit throughout their pregnancies. Pilates can help women stay connected to their changing body, improve posture and reduce pregnancy aches and pains. However, Pilates instructors working with this population need to be knowledgeable about the anatomical and physiological changes that occur during pregnancy, as well as about the birth process. In addition, it is extremely important that Pilates instructors have a clear understanding of how pregnancy affects the abdominal muscles.
Read on to learn what happens to the abdominal muscles during pregnancy and for a sample mat workout that will keep prenatal clients safe and strong.
By Joseph Quinn
The world of Pilates and the art of music have a bizarre relationship.
The movements within the Pilates system have an unmistakable, intrinsic rhythm. Joseph Pilates polished his exercises with modern dancers as his human clay. Their flourish and fluidity brought him delight and inspiration. Relatively, a dancer’s (or choreographer’s) inspiration and flair come from expounding upon the ideas from within their emotional selves in relation to a piece of music.
So what’s bizarre about the relationship?
The weird thing is the fact that rhythm is such an important piece of the method, that music was inherent in the character of Joe’s initial students, yet the use of music during a Pilates session these days is typically shunned by many instructors and forbidden by most certification programs.
So when was the break-up? What’s the big deal?
Most discussion on the topic is rather cursory. It is usually a “Yes” or “No” answer with black and white reasoning. “The “No” camp cites music as invasive and a distraction…and that’s all there is to it, end of story. The “Yes” camp rarely provides us with anything more than a New Age CD that claims to be perfect for creating “a relaxing mood” for your session. It gives the “calming” sounds of wind chimes and waterfalls…which usually just make me have to go to the bathroom.
Is there no middle ground? Are our only choices deafening silence or “The Love Songs of Humphrey the Humpback Whale”? I am here to say, “Hell no!… but sometimes, yes.”
So let’s get our hands dirty and really get into this question we have all asked ourselves and others multiple times.
Giving Responsibility to Your Student and Eliminating Dependency
I have had the opportunity to work with individuals seeking physical therapy or alternative methods as their “last hope” to get out of pain. Some clients reach this pain-free goal, while others do not. Some students progress rapidly and others progress so slowly that I must continuously refer to my progress notes to remind myself that I am actually doing some good. I have found that much of the students’ success boils down to the depth of their home practice and the level of dedication they apply to it. Those who take full responsibility to use the tools I’ve given them on a daily basis amaze me with their quick results. Those who think it is my responsibility to take away their pain simply don’t move forward and become stuck in a vicious cycle of questioning and bemoaning their chronic aches and pains.
Knowing this, I’ve developed a system for instructing and motivating my students to keep up with their practice at home.
By Devra Swiger
If this were a perfect world, we’d all have ideal clients. They would rarely cancel, always give us their complete, undivided attention and adore us for the wonderful instructors that we are. As we know, however, this isn’t a perfect world and sometimes clients can make our lives difficult. As instructors we must learn how to deal with clients who may not fit the “ideal” client profile by changing the way we react to them or by learning to just say “no.”
Here are a few examples of problems we may face as instructors and some suggestions on how to best deal with them.
By Pat Guyton
The longer I teach Pilates, the deeper I wish to journey into the principles Joe Pilates describes in his writings. I strive to allow the body and the mind to each have an equal opportunity of expression. Joseph Pilates wrote in Your Health, “neither the mind nor the body is supreme—one cannot be subordinated to the other. Both must be coordinated, in order not only to accomplish the maximum results with the minimum expenditure of mental and physical energy, but also to live as long as possible in normal health and enjoy the benefits of a useful and happy life.” (page 41)
In an effort to promote this harmony between mind and body I have been integrating the practice of dance improvisation at the end of some of my classes. I studied improv as a dancer for over a decade before I began teaching Pilates, and 11 years ago it occurred to me that my students might benefit from the practice, too.
Read on to learn why and how I introduced improve to my students—and how they responded.