Entries in Julian Littleford (4)
by Lauren Charlip
We’ve noticed several Pilates group equipment circuit classes pop up lately, so we decided to rustle up the instructors who teach them for a closer look at this new trend. Some teach just one circuit hour a week and some base a large chunk of their business on group circuit work. Each has their own unique way of running things. A few themes did emerge among the instructors we spoke to: They all agree that multiple-apparatus work allows for a deeper, more well-rounded experience for the client, and that a circuit class is an affordable way to reap those benefits. They also stressed the importance of previous experience on the Pilates equipment for clients before they join a circuit class; the more machines involved, the more complicated the skill set. For more details on how different studios and instructors are adopting this format, we’ve provided five takes on Pilates equipment circuit training from around the country.
Chicago Pilates instructor Laurel Silverman teaches out of her home and rents space at One Mind Body & Being to teach group classes. She hit upon the circuit idea when only one client showed up for her Reformer class and she realized she could move her onto other apparatus. Because that client had mostly Reformer experience, the difference in the work was readily apparent. Silverman noted her client was making new connections and that it was much easier to gauge her strengths and weaknesses. “I started thinking clients who are only able to afford Reformer classes are being done a disservice without access to other equipment,” Silverman says. She began to spice up her Reformer classes with a new apparatus exercise here and there. “Clients really took to the idea. I first started incorporating one exercise that we would circuit through, then we would talk about it and compare,” Silverman says. “It was amazing to see changes when they got back on the equipment that they’re used to.”
By Nicole Rogers
Mentorship is extremely important to the Pilates community, as Pilates elder Mary Bowen so eloquently demonstrated here. If Joseph Pilates hadn’t passed his knowledge on to the first generation of teachers, and if they, the Pilates elders, had not passed their knowledge on to the next generation, Pilates simply would not exist. The tradition of mentorship is part of our foundation and our history.
Over the years, Pilates mentor/mentee relationships were rarely formal, yet were profound and long-lasting. The glue of these relationships has always been passion: for the work, for movement, for health, and for improving the lives of others with Pilates. This passion doesn’t fade, rather it’s the fuel that drives Pilates masters to explore throughout their lifetimes and to build on each other’s work. We all learned from someone, and hopefully we all continue to learn every day. Mentorship is important all the way through our careers, not just at the beginning.
When I asked some prominent Pilates personalities about their own mentors, past and present, I was not surprised to hear that their answers were as diverse as the Pilates world itself. (From what they’ve said, it appears that everyone who was taught by Mr. Pilates received a different workout, so it makes sense that no two teachers are the same to this day.) Each mentor/mentee relationship is unique. Nonetheless, a few general themes about the value of mentorship emerged from these conversations.
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!
Pilates finess videos can jumpstart those days you don’t feel like putting yourself through a workout, but it’s rare to glean useful teaching tips from a standard exercise dvd. For true teaching inspiration, it may be a better idea to look to some of the specialty videos available, instead.
For a brush-up on efficiency:
“Transitions and Order”, from Rebecca Leone and Heidi Byrnes of Pilates Powerhouse NW
If you need to add order and efficiency to your studio or sessions, check out the tips in this DVD. Designed for studio owners and instructors, the first part of this offering details practical suggestions for equipment storage and maintenance. After implementing these ideas, never again will you scramble around during a session looking for the correct prop. The remainder of the DVD is dedicated to teaching the transitions between classical exercises on the mat and Reformer—where to put the handles after each exercise, when to tip the headrest down, and so forth. This video is especially useful for instructors who have a clear understanding of the exercises, but are looking for ways to speed up and smooth out their classes and private sessions. After learning the linking steps on this DVD, instructors can slowly teach the transitions to students, which will ultimately keep the students focused all session long.