Posts tagged #Matwork Certification

How to teach a beginner class to an experienced exerciser

Recently I have been asked by several Pilates instructors how to teach beginner Pilates classes to experienced exercisers without boring them to death! Often these clients are used to training at high levels of intensity and it can be difficult to strike a balance between encouraging precision, integrity of movement and technique and maintain suitable intensity, focus and interest. First and foremost we need to understand and recognise the needs and goals of the client- why are they attending the class?

Since September I have been teaching at the beautiful, newly opened Reformer studio, Akasha Wellness. Almost all of the clients are new to Reformer and are attending in order to increase strength, flexibility and to be challenged!After ensuring that there are no injuries or conditions that may impact on their exercise programme, I teach fairly demanding classes, designed to enhance their strength, mobility and flexibility. Although I constantly embed and cue correct movement and technique, I see the achievement of precision as on-going task which can take weeks, months even years to attain. Perfect movement is not something that can be taught in the first few classes and in attempting to "over-correct" and "over-talk" we can restrict natural movement and reduce the sense of well-being. We need to allow clients to make mistakes without fear of failure. This is how we learn. Giving time to make mistakes and self correct teaches increased body awareness and self-responsibility for ones own practice.

Both instructors and clients should acknowledge that to achieve results, Pilates requires dedication and commitment. As Joe Pilates stated, “PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour” It is a long-term, lifestyle choice giving you time to strive for and achieve precision, control and flow.

For JPilates Associates, this month's Class Plan is a Matwork plan for the beginner but experienced exerciser. Contact info@jpilates.co.uk to request your copy.

Side note: We always need to have full understanding and knowledge of any injuries or conditions which may impact on exercise choice and intensity and seek medical consent if necessary.

You're hired! Top tips for success when auditioning for Pilates jobs.

alan-sugar-amstrad-and-the-apprenticeWith our Autumn Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Mat Pilates students due to sit their final assessments in a few weeks, we have been discussing the practicalities they will face once qualified and ready to launch themselves into our industry. One of the areas we have discussed is auditioning for jobs at Pilates studios-just what are studio owners looking for? Michelle Smith from the Pilates Pod, Hitchin has recently been interviewing for Pilates instructors to join their studio and here are her invaluable top tips!

  1. Arrive with at least 10 mins to spare. This will allow time for an introduction, to check out the studio, equipment and bodies participating. Arriving at the last minute or late makes me think you are unorganised and will be the same in the job. Saying “I didn’t have time to do that” just won’t cut it!
  2. Be confident but subtly so. We want to see you’ve got the confidence in your teaching, what you’re saying and having a good rapport with the bodies in the session and staff.
  3.  Be calm and prepared. Despite whatever stresses you’ve had in the day getting here, appear calm and in control. Plan your lesson in advance so you know what equipment you want, stay within the time limit and know what you want to get across.
  4. Treat the teaching as if it was a normal class. We want to see your style and personality, see you correct, modify and have fun  with the bodies in the session.
  5. Know your environment. What works for a gym style class with fitness adaptations, stretches and tone of language may not work for a  Pilates studio setting so remember to do your research in advance and plan accordingly.
  6. Swot up on the business you are applying for. The teaching part is one part but with a quick interview chat after we also want to see you know a bit about the company you are wanting to work for, and why you want to work for them.
  7. Impress us! This is your 15 minutes of fame so remember to show us the best bits about you and your teaching!

When looking for work at Pilates studios, I would strongly recommended offering to audition as often studios have cover lists.  Jo Webster from Akasha Wellness says "The key to a successful instructor audition is that they demonstrate a passion for Pilates, an ability to build a rapport with clients and a have a level of professionalism that will support the studio / brand"

So with all these fabulous tips success will be more or less guaranteed! Break a leg!

Pilates Pod are looking for instructors for full time positions and cover. For more information please contact info@thepilatespod.co.uk.

Just Love JPilates Associates!

I have to admit that JPilates Associates is the best thing I have ever created! The founding principle of JPilates has always been to constantly support and develop a friendly, vibrant Pilates teacher community where any question can be asked, any concept can be openly discussed and ideas can be shared so that we constantly learn and progress and creating JPilates Associates has completely fulfilled this.

One of the areas I most love in my work is creating new adaptations and variations of exercises and then choreographing classes to further inspire instructors. Being able to offer Instructor Only Classes and Daily Fixes to you means that I can help bring fresh ideas and also practically address any areas you wish specifically targeted such as Pre Natal Pilates. This month I am so excited to have added a slow motion video of The Boomerang so you can really analyse the different elements of this fantastically dynamic move.

Another really rewarding aspect for me is being able to have individual mentoring time with you. This can either be for your own personal development where we work on your Pilates practise or further developing, focusing and structuring your business and marketing plans and ideas.

The Associates Area ensures that you keep up with recent research and continual professional development through articles and updates. We also review books & DVDs for you to help expand and enhance your own Pilates library.

I love being a part of this amazing Pilates community and our Virtual Night’s Out have been so successful with us enjoying a glass (or two!) in the comfort of our own homes chatting about all things Pilates. I love to hear us being able to support each other and offer advice and experiences.

So thank you to everyone who is part of this special community!

For more information please click here

Writing Terms & Conditions- Boring but Essential!

Every so often an instructor posts on the forum or contacts me about a difficult situation arising due to a class member wanting money back or transferring payments which is not in line with the instructor's class policy. It is a well-known fact that many of us do not read terms and conditions when buying a product or service, we tend to skim down the legal jargon and sign on the dotted line, but clearly establishing terms and conditions is an important step to protecting yourself and your business and avoiding unpleasant confrontations. Although terms and conditions may vary for each instructor, here are some basic tips to help you.

  1. Stay friendly! Just because you are setting down rules and policies it does not mean it needs to be written in imposing and legal manner. Keeping your tone friendly and positive not only means clients will read them through but also that if a dispute does arise they will be more open to understanding.

  2. Keep them short, simple to understand and clear, no need for lots of legal jargon!

  3. Clearly explain your policies and procedures with the most important first. The main policies you may wish to include are payment, cancellation, booking and studio behaviour.

  4. Review other Pilates companies T&Cs to ensure you have covered everything needed. Obviously do not copy as yours need to be specific to your company, but they can be a good reference point.

  5. Keep your terms and conditions up to date. As changes happen to your classes make sure they are reflected in your terms & conditions. Good practice could be to have each client re-sign the T&Cs with their par-q every 12 months.

  6. Check spelling and grammar! Like any documentation, terms and conditions represent you and your company and need to give a professional impression.

If you would like any further advice I would love to hear from you!

Posted on September 27, 2014 and filed under Education & Training.

8 Steps to Success When Teaching Pilates in a Gym

Group of women doing Pilates exercises.The versatility and accessibility of Mat Pilates means that as an instructor you can offer classes in so many different venues, from church halls to dedicated studios and of course almost every gym will have Pilates on its class timetable. I have always loved teaching Pilates in gyms for several reasons.

  • Variety of Clients- Teaching Pilates in a gym means that you will experience a wide range of clients exercising for a variety of reasons, with different preferences and needs. It is never boring as each class presents different challenges. It is a fantastic way for a new instructor to gain experience and confidence.
  • Bringing the Method to Everyone- Joe Pilates wanted Pilates to be available to everyone and by having Pilates classes on gym timetables, the Method is open to everyone and anyone. Some clients stumble into the class as it just so happens to be on at a time that suits them, some attend under misconceptions of an "easy" class or a "flat stomach". After the class they often remark on how different it was from their expectations and how they underestimated how completely worked and energised they feel.
  • Financial Although you may earn more money teaching your own classes, working in a gym offers a reliable income as you will receive the same rate regardless of how many people turn up. So even during those uncertain periods of the year, summer and Christmas, you are a guaranteed a level of pay to depend on.
  • Simplicity- Teaching in a gym means no admin, no marketing worries, no collecting payments, no worrying about leases, taxes, bills- life is simpler!

There are some challenges to bear in mind though!

  • Pack them in!- Whereas in many dedicated studios or your own classes you can limit numbers, often in clubs the limit is the size of the room! So instead of having 8 clients, you may have 40. Personally, I love the buzz of a large class but it is not for everyone and you need to ensure the expectations of the class are crystal clear to both the club and the client. It will not be a class for fine tuning technique and addressing injuries rather a balanced class which focuses on flow and movement, ensuring safety of course.
  • Open to All- You will often be teaching range of abilities and ages from an absolute beginner to an experienced client, from a 4 month pregnant lady to a 70-year-old man and so you need to plan and prepare for a mixed level class and be ready to adapt further if needed.
  • Just a Class- It can be frustrating for some teachers if the clients are not passionate about Pilates. Not everyone will be concerned about correct technique or interested in committing to regular classes.

So here are 8  tips to success,

  1. Arrive early to meet and greet any new comers or beginners
  2. Verbally screen the class and then observe their movement in the prep phase so you are ready to adapt exercises later in the class.
  3. Take time to observe the class as a whole.
  4. Be clear and concise in your cueing and directions
  5. Don't over talk technique but still be safe
  6. Constantly offer adaptations and rests
  7. Always start and finish on time as there may be other classes scheduled directly after yours.
  8. Remain professional to the gym-remember you are part of a team.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

 

 

 

Are You Being Served?

300px-Cast_of_Are_You_Being_Served_BBC_1970sLast week our latest Matwork graduates were treated to a brand, marketing webinar from the fantastic MiBrand Fitness Business Coaching giving them invaluable advice on all aspects of branding and marketing for their new Pilates business. One of the key impressions I gained as I eavesdropped was how as teachers we should serve not just sell to our clients. How we need to add value to our product, to always bear in mind our client's needs and goals and help them reach them rather than simply offer a class timetable and payment plan.

This really resonated with me when the following day I received a call from a fantastic instructor who after running a successful class had suddenly lost numbers. She understandably was disheartened and explained maybe it was due to a small price increase (£1 a session) caused by a venue hire increase.  She was considering offering a discount but remembering MiBrand's advice we discussed adding value instead, of offering something for that small price increase such as a short daily video routine, an e-book showing some spine mobility moves or a training diary. The essential element is, of course, knowing your client's needs and goals. Maintaining and generating new interest could be easily created by understanding why they are attending and offer an additional product or service to promote this. So it may be a holiday prep routine to do at home which you introduce on the first day of a new block,  a series of desk based exercises to help relieve neck and shoulder tension or record of flexibility tests.

I think once you adjust your mindset to how can you serve your clients instead of how to make them buy, you completely reverse your strategy and find work so much more rewarding and enriching!

For MiBrand's 6 Steps to a Successful Business Brand Plan click here

As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Effects of Gravity-don't let it get you down!

GravityAs Pilates instructors we love to analyse movement through muscle and joint action, to assess restrictions and compensations and use our findings to help exercise prescription. In analysing movement we must consider the relationship of the movement to gravity. In Matwork the main source of external resistance is gravity, unlike the Studio Equipment where resistance comes from springs. So to explain, if the joint moves against gravity then the muscle group that causes the action will work concentrically (shortening as they generate force). If the movement follows the same direction as gravity then the muscle group that has the opposite action will contract eccentrically (lengthen as they generate force).

For example, The Roll Up. Roll up

In the first phase, as the spine flexes to roll up, it moves against gravity therefore the rectus abdominus and hip flexors contract concentrically, whereas in the second phase as the spine returns to the mat it moves in the same direction as gravity so the rectus abdominus and hip flexors work eccentrically controlling the movement.

Changes in the relationship to gravity means changes to muscles functioning. For example, moving from a supine position to standing as in the The Push Up where the first phase is the roll down. Here as the spine flexes forwards caused by gravity, it is the back extensors which are contracting eccentrically to control the movement not the rectus abdominus, and then contracting concentrically as the spine returns to standing.

Many of the Matwork moves are complex and so the effects of gravity during the movements will produce different types of contraction and muscular emphasis. The Roll Over illustrates these changes perfectly as we consider the leg movement.

Roll Over

To lift the legs up to ceiling the hip flexors work concentrically but as they pass the vertical position gravity will cause the hip flexion so the hip extensors are used to control the leg position. On the return, once the pelvis is on the mat, gravity creates the hip extension to lower the legs and so the hip flexors work eccentrically to control the lowering.

When analysing Pilates movement always try to consider this fundamental relationship between the key body segments and gravity at each phase of movement. Try now to analyse Hip Twist- let me know if you have any questions!

Posted on September 3, 2013 and filed under The Anatomy of Pilates.

Visualisations-Do Yours Work?

visualisation-secretThe success of a Pilates instructor is strongly linked to their ability to communicate with their clients. An integral part of teaching Pilates is in the use of visualisation to convey movement, positions and alignment. Visualisation is an incredibly powerful tool in helping to create the mindful movement required to reap fully the incredible benefits of Pilates. Visualisation can either be direct- anatomical or biomechanical cues or indirect- metaphysical cues. Both types of visualisation create a strong link between the mind and body but need careful consideration.

Some clients do not connect to cues such as the pelvis as a clock or bucket, it can cause them to disengage or alienate them. On the other hand , should our cues be scientific, anatomical terms such as transversus abdominus, glutes, thoracic spine? It is essential that as an instructor we need a thorough, in-depth understanding of anatomy but is it really necessary for our clients?

The importance of good cueing is especially evident in group sessions where many clients may not have the knowledge or indeed the interest in learning the anatomical language required to fully understand these visualisations.

As instructors we develop our own repertoire and style of visualisations which work for us and our clients but we should always be aware of the effectiveness of these cues.

Many exercises begin with the instructor cueing activation of the core, our postural muscles. But it it is important to consider the fact that we do not have conscious control of these muscles- they are controlled sub-consciously by our nervous system in anticipation of movement. Most of these postural muscles work at a sub-threshold state so actively cueing them can interfere with their function in organising the spinal segments and actually cause accessory muscles to contract. As you are reading this you are naturally holding your head up, you do not need to think about it. So how do we overcome this?

The answer lies in cueing the bony landmarks such as hip bones, sit bones, pelvis and so on. Often these landmarks are used to set up positions,  anchor the sit bones, hip bones in line with pubic bone, but take this a stage further and use them to cue the movement itself.

For example, let’s take the Roll Up at a low level.

Roll up1.Seated on the sit bones, with the ribcage directly above the pelvis and a sense of length through the spine
2.Keeping a stillness in the mid back, exhale and move the hip bones away from the thigh bones
3.Inhale to return, lengthening to the start position
Try it now...

Can you feel how the deep postural muscles activate naturally with the movement? Why not try to teach your next session without cueing muscle activation using bony landmarks only? I would love to hear if you found improved movement  and some new visualisations.

Image from www.67notout.com

Pilates Studio in a Bag

Are you looking for some inspiration and fresh ideas for your classes? Would you like to expand your existing repertoire and explore the Studio Equipment exercises but find that you just don’t have the time, space or finances for a Reformer or Cadillac?

Did you know that we can fit a whole Studio in a Bag?!

The Studio in a Bag Workshop explores classic exercises from the Equipment repertoire demonstrating how with small equipment e.g. foam rollers, mini ball, dynabands etc. you can incorporate these moves in your Matwork classes adding further variety and intensity.

Get a feel for the workshop with this short video: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_4lxKfOKOQ]

Contact us at info@jpilates.co.uk for further information.

Great feedback, from one of our lovely Instructors:

"Fantastic day! SO many ideas to take away to use with the small equipment already in my kit bag. This was the day that got me thinking about the value of equipment training even for a matwork teacher!!" Michelle Ormrod, Pilates Instructor

5 Steps to Choosing the Right Pilates Teaching Training Course

Deciding which is the right Pilates Teacher Training Course can be bewildering. There are an overwhelming number to choose from making it extremely difficult to decide which is best for you. Here are a few tips to help find the right certification programme to suit your needs. 1. Go to as many different Pilates classes as possible: Being instructed by a variety of teachers will allow you to experience different teaching styles. If you particularly like a certain way or type of teaching ask the instructor who they trained with and if they recommend the training programme.

2. First Impressions...Try to meet the director or principal tutor of the company and if possible observe them teaching a session. This will give you an excellent idea of whether their method of delivery is going to suit your learning needs and keep you motivated.

3. Time restraints and course content: Decide how much time you have available for your training-a course can be like a part-time job! Do weekends or weekday training suit you best? Find out how much additional home learning is required as well as the course length. Some companies offer on-line training, assess carefully if this is how you wish to learn. Some material such as Anatomy and Physiology can be learnt independently but I believe it should be strongly supported by face to face tuition. Pilates especially is best learnt and understood in person.

4. Financial options: The cost of certification can hugely vary. Look for payment plans to help spread the cost of the training.

5. This is just the beginning! Certification is only the beginning! The real learning starts once you are instructing your own clients. Look at the continuing education programme offered-are there any workshops or short courses to enhance and further develop your knowledge? Do they offer continual support or an instructor community where you can raise questions or share experiences?

If you would like any advice or help please feel free to contact us at info@jpilates.co.uk and visit our website www.jpilates.co.uk for full details of our courses and workshops.