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Requirements for a Pilates Instructor

Info: 2424 words (10 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th Feb 2020

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Tagged: teaching

Pilates Instructor

What is required to be a Pilates instructor?

A Pilates instructor offers hands-on comprehensive Pilates instruction to a group of students or to an individual. As a fitness program, Pilates is designed to increase the muscular strength, and to improve one’s posture while toning the body. This is usually taught by working on specifically designed Pilates equipment as also using a Pilates mat.

The majority of Pilates instructors are certified practitioners having completed a lengthy training program, but there are also some excellent instructors that have been instructing for many years who are not certified because they probably began instructing before certification existed.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I enjoy teaching?
  • Do I have an interest in body mechanics, anatomy and exercise science?
  • Do I enjoy speaking in front of large groups
  • Am I self-motivated?
  • Am I ok trading my job stability for job flexibility?

Core Strength

Core strength is the foundation of Pilates. Core muscle is the deep, internal musculature of the back and abdomen. When these core muscles are strong and correctly executing their role, as they are trained to do with Pilates, they will work together with the more superficial musculature of one’s trunk to support the spine and one’s movement.

As one develops core strength then also stability is developed throughout the entire torso. This is one technique by which Pilates assists people to overcome their back pain. As the trunk of the body is correctly stabilized, any pressure on the back is released and then the body is able to move more freely and efficiently.

The Six Pilates Principles:

  • Centering
  • Control
  • Flow
  • Breath
  • Precision
  • Concentration

These six principles are the essential components found in a high quality Pilates workout.

The techniques have always emphasized quality over quantity, and you will find that, unlike other systems of exercise, Pilates does not include a lot of repetition for each posture. Alternatively, performing each exercise fully, with precision, will yield more significant gains in a shorter period than one would imagine.

A Unique System of Exercise

Core strength and thus torso stability, along with the six principles, establish the Pilates techniques apart from so many other types of exercise – which mostly are merely exercise. Weight lifting, for example, can place much attention on arm or leg strength but without attending at all to the inescapable fact that these body parts are connected to the rest of one’s body. Even swimming or running can seem to be all arms and legs, with either an overly tense or a floppy core. Ultimately those people who really do succeed at their sport also learn to use their core muscles correctly and to their advantage. In Pilates an integrative methodology is taught and learned from the outset.

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Training to Become a Pilates Instructor

It is a challenging goal to aim for Pilates fitness instructor certification, but it is clearly worthwhile if you love fitness and group exercise. Equally, you must be willing to invest in the time and effort necessary, for you could become certified and start teaching Pilates within less than one year. As an instructor, you shall be able to assist others to reach their fitness goal while also maintaining your own.

The training required to become an instructor of Pilates is intense.

  • Most individual training certifications are in the 20-hour range.
  • To be a completely certified Pilates instructor this will require some 500 or so hours of courses, and will take most people approximately 18 to 24 months to accomplish.
  • You have to love Pilates and also be prepared to study and train hard.
  • You will be spending many weekends at seminars and also a lot of time by yourself practicing, while also practicing teaching upon your friends and those willing to lie down on a mat for you instruction.
  • Expect to spend approximately $4,000 to complete the full training.

To qualify as a Pilates instructor, it’s recommended that one participates in Pilates classes for a lengthy stint in order to discover one’s aptitude and interest for the program. Additionally, many of the instructors also study anatomy and other exercise and fitness principles before they embark upon gaining certification from a studio; some number of studios simply will not accept applicants for Pilates instructor training without some background in human anatomy.

  • A student will be required to choose certification in either Pilates mat instruction, which is simpler and so less expensive
  • Or in the comprehensive instruction course with competence of Pilates equipment.

Pilates instruction can take place in a group scenario, with several students, or by teaching individual private clients. If an instructor is employed by a studio, then generally they need to teach a required number of classes as determined by the studio, yet many instructors are self-employed and thus are able to determine their own schedules.

Choose a mat or comprehensive certification

Both the Pilates mat certification or the comprehensive Pilates equipment certification programs, will involve regular classes, both in group and as an individual, including hands-on instruction, written course work, and a final examination. The examination will also include both hands-on work and written questions. The instructor applicants may also be required to assist an existing certified instructor for a number of classes before they are granted the certification.

An instructor will need to thoroughly understand the over 500 exercises in the full program, and also how to instruct them on the mat and also using the equipment. They shall need to know how to modify the postures for individuals who may have different needs, such as pregnant women, those with injuries, disabilities, diminished flexibility, or the elderly. Instructors may also wish to incorporate Pilates with other forms of exercise or well-being sciences, like Yoga.

The Pilates Method Alliance is the governing body for the Pilates industry. But as this is an unregulated sector, it is not essential that one gets certification through the PMA, but it is recommended.

Pilates certification is usually split into two parts

  • Pilates mat certification
  • Comprehensive certification in Pilates, covering all of the specialized Pilates equipment.

Following these two basics, there is the professional certification and also further to this several levels of advanced training. This is available for those students who choose to also specialize in a sport-specific, or in the rehabilitative dimensions of Pilates.

Basic Mat Instructor

Mat instructor training is generally available to those students that have demonstrated the basic proficiency in their classes. It’s recommended that a student should study Pilates for some period before they commence a teacher’s training class, but unfortunately, not all of the certifying bodies are requiring previous Pilates experience.

The training courses for mat instructors cover all basic mat exercises, including the techniques of modification sometimes required for different client needs. Expect a mat instructor examination to include a teaching demonstration and also a written test.

The basic Mat Instructor certificate is often offered as an intensive one weekend course, or as a course spanning two weekends, this will depend upon the provider. Expect this to cost anywhere from $100. to $300. And even more for certification. Again, please beware. Pilates training is not standardized, so therefore you will get what you pay for. Do research the certification body that interests you and confirm that it meets your standards and needs.

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Comprehensive Instructor Certification

Comprehensive certification that includes Pilates equipment is a more elaborate course than the basic mat instructor certification. A potential student is often required to have undergone at least one year of Pilates study, which includes a number of private lessons. Completion of the mat teacher training course will also be expected.

At this comprehensive level, a student must undertake a basic course in human anatomy and physiology, plus the history of Joseph Pilates and also the evolution of the Pilates Method. Moreover in-depth instruction of the Pilates equipment and the exercises performed on it with modifications, are expected.

The higher the level then the more sophisticated the certification becomes, so these days there is a trend toward phasing the comprehensive instructor certification process into several segments. Each certification program course has its own design and they do vary, e.g., one may see a program where there is a study level for the reformer, or another for the Cadillac or other apparatus, and perhaps a level dealing with issues regarding special needs. Each of the levels may be an intensive course, or learnt over a longer period of time.

Comprehensive certification may take over a year of studies to accomplish, it regularly requires many hours spent in a studio as a teacher apprentice, totaling approximately some 900 hours over a year.

Validity of Certification

Carefully research which type of fitness organization that you may wish to be associated with. Where you actually obtain the fitness instructor certification will no doubt influence the future job search after training is completed. Various organizations do offer training and subsequent certification, however not all are reputable or even recognized by many gyms or other fitness and health facilities. Do ask established Pilates instructors regarding their training, and understand that acknowledged fitness training organizations, such as the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), offer you bona fide and specialized group instructor training of all types.

Your overall fitness career goal

To reach the goal you have chosen, do work with a competent organization that will enable you to reach it. Firstly, secure a Group Fitness Instructor Certification via professionally authenticated fitness training organizations, like America’s Authority on Fitness (ACE). The basic group exercise training and certification will assist you in opening more doors than not having such validity, and moreover it will provide a sturdier foundation for further specialized training, including comprehensive Pilates certification.

Understand precisely what you need to accomplish to gain certification, and research the full cost of training prior to committing. Calculate the added costs for other prerequisites, such as CPR training.

Ensure you receive the appropriate fitness credits for all the training courses completed. Many fitness training organizations tally the course credits for certification similar to how most colleges and universities calculate the accumulation of credits for a degree. Sometimes the fitness credits may be applied to other types of certifications.

Hybrid Pilates. Yoga & Pilates. Pilates with Bands, The great Ball, etc…

Think about combining Pilates with other exercise methods or fitness equipment techniques as this is a growing field. You can now get certified for Yoga-Pilates, Pilates with exercise bands, and Pilates on the ball, and more. These sort of certification programs are regularly offered in weekend programs that have few prerequisites.

Though hybrid combinations may be fun and helpful, it is equally important to understand that Pilates is a highly specific methodology. A minimum requirement of a mat instructor certificate is recommended prior to commencing any cross-over teaching.

Pilates Instructing tips

Pilates can be somewhat difficult, especially for beginners. When instructing Pilates, it is crucial for the instructor to consider the ability levels of all the participants. To make this easier, it is usually better to limit class sizes so that each participant will receive more of an individual guidance. Classes should be designed to a specific ability level so that on the whole, while abilities will naturally vary, the class is moreorless of a beginner standard, or intermediate etc.

One of the mistakes instructors can make is not to put in sufficient effort that keeps the class fun. Instructing Pilates is much more than simply getting people to exercise; it is also about teaching participants to develop healthy long term habits. One way to do this is to keep the activities fun for the class, as this will influence the class to want to keep on with learning. Engaging with individuals is vital, while ensuring that each individual is within their ability level, while also expanding their comfort zone.

The effectiveness of any Pilates instructor depends upon their knowledge of the exercises and routines and of their enthusiasm.. these character traits are contagious and those participating in a class will respond to how they are being instructed, and mirror that enthusiasm.

An instructor should be clear and precise regarding their instructions and able to guide seamless transitions between the activities while teaching Pilates. This presupposes that you are able to work as an effective communicator while ensuring that each student in the class can understand the guidance. In between the exercises, an instructor must be offering encouragement and also motivation to learners, and explaining carefully the following activity and why it is important. Repetition may be necessary as many students will not clearly follow or understand the directions in full, initially. Some students will inculcate instructions much better by observing, therefore the instructor may need to demonstrate an exercise before and during a set of exercises being performed by the students.

Be assured you that you do not have to be young, thin, and extremely agile or a strong individual to toward become instructor. However it’s necessary, to have a passion for passing on knowledge to others.


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