Tricks of the Trade
How have you incorporated Pilates into your clients' programs?
We teach our clients that the body adapts to training on a reformer as it does to training on other modalities. Pilates is simply another form of resisted movement. To demystify Pilates and change the perception of it as an exercise form only for certain people, we integrate it as an interesting option for certain exercise movements.
We have had great feedback, but some members still wish to have Pilates-only training sessions. We try to refer them to our in-house Pilates program.
2001 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year
Director of Education and Personal Training
International Athletic Club Management
More than 60 percent of these individual programs are taken by people with no prior Pilates experience; for example, many come to the spa to splurge on a Pilates primer. Of these novices, more than 40 percent sign up for subsequent one-to-one or group training sessions before leaving. In addition, we give guests a printed description of a few Pilates exercises that we recommend they practice at home, and we sell a selection of Pilates videos and texts in our boutique.
We also incorporate Pilates into our mind-body personal training track. We offer personal training sessions in which we fuse yoga, t’ai chi, Feldenkrais and Pilates. Since we started these sessions this January, they have been extremely popular because so many people want to experience the benefits of these mindful programs in a “cafeteria” style.
Our mind-body personal trainers even incorporate Pilates exercises into group personal training. As part of our seasonal “Mind-Body Triathlon” small-group personal training, we take the hotel yacht to our private Palomino Island for “Pilates in the Pavilion,” which takes place in a wooden pagoda-like structure we constructed on the beach.
Pilates fits perfectly into the spa environment because we emphasize mind-body-breathing fitness. For example, after we teach the core stabilization exercises required for isometric yoga, adding isotonic movement to those exercises (such as adding a Pilates-style roll-down or roll-up from a yoga staff) is a logical progression; it creates synergy and interdependence between the two disciplines. All spa guests enjoy the Pilates-inspired personal training touches because they feel they receive cutting-edge exercises to improve their mobility and stability!
Group Exercise Manager/Personal Trainer/Nutritional Counselor/ Reebok University Master Trainer
Wyndham Golden Door Spa
Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Because I find it easier to explain and teach movements once I’ve practiced them personally, I signed up for Pilates mat sessions at fitness conferences in the early 1990s and recently hired a Pilates personal trainer for myself. I now have a whole new collection of Pilates exercises to share with my clients. For example, I might do the “teaser” on a BOSU or begin the session with a roll-down. Clients love the variety the exercises add to their programs. They love getting more than just the regular cardio/weight routines and consider it a bonus to learn about new techniques.
Of course, I’m careful to explain to my clients that I am not a certified Pilates instructor and that I teach only Pilates “basics.” I encourage them to continue studying Pilates with a certified instructor, either one-on-one or in mat classes.
Sweat Co. Workout Studios Ltd.
Vancouver, British Columbia
I’ve found Pilates very popular among older adults. Some take sessions because they have a bad back or arthritis; in addition to addressing their specific medical problems, Pilates greatly benefits their daily lives by helping them improve their balance, gait and posture. Some clients do three Pilates sessions per week with no other resistance training; others do a few Pilates sessions and a weight training session. One lady in her 70s follows a weekly program of water aerobics, cross-country skiing (or hiking in the summer), one weight training session, one private Pilates session and one reformer class.
The Aspen Club & Spa
I teach these clients how to use Pilates exercises to strengthen and lengthen the muscles of the back, neck, shoulders and abdomen to correct their posture while sitting, standing or moving around throughout the day. After teaching them how to pull their navels in toward their spines to engage their deep abdominal muscles (which help keep them stable while they sit at their desks, train with weights or do cardio work), I have them practice while they talk on the phone or ride in the elevator.
It’s not long before my clients tell me, “I found my abs!” Once they are comfortable with engaging their abdominal muscles, I can add more difficult abdominal exercises to their programs without worrying that they might use their backs or hip flexors to do the exercise.
Working the muscles of the shoulders, upper back and neck is difficult for many of my clients, but incorporating Pilates strengthening and lengthening exercises into their programs has improved clients’ posture remarkably. Many are even surprised at how much taller they feel after doing the exercises.
Additionally, adding Pilates exercises to my clients’ travel programs helps keep them strong and flexible while they are away, even if they cannot get to the gym. They can do the exercises on a blanket or towel in their hotel rooms.
Basically, Pilates helps my clients become more in tune with their muscles. The decrease in their muscle imbalance improves their posture and flexibility and makes their day-to-day activities easier.
Personal Training/Corporate Fitness/ Lifestyle and Weight Management Consulting
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