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How to plan a Pilates session

How to plan a Pilates session

All Pilates exercise sessions should be divided up into a beginning, middle and an end. Pilates is all about body awareness and by dividing the session into three distinct categories, it is possible for a client to achieve his or her goals.

The start of working with a client

Before you, as a Pilates Instructor start to work with a client, you need to assess them. To this end, a questionnaire should be filled out by the individual before they embark on a Pilates training programme. This should underline all traditional medical questions and should there be a medical problem the client should get medical clearance before embarking on any Pilates exercise programme.

When you start working with a client, you need to assess their posture to find out how you can help to improve this. A personal interview with the clients – to assess their posture – should always be taken into consideration.

Static posture test

A client’s posture can be observed in terms of the alignment of the joints and body landmarks as well as understood in terms of the muscle balance and function.

Deviations in terms of posture can be measured through and with the plumb line posture. When observing the body from the side the plumb line runs down the centre of the side of the body from:

  • The crown of the head
  • The earlobe
  • The cervical vertebrae
  • ASIS and PSIS of the pelvis level
  • Hip joint
  • Knee joint
  • Ankle joint

Ideally, if a person has a good posture:

  • Their neck should be upright and erect.
  • The breast bone should be the furtherest-forward body part.
  • The shoulders should be central.
  • There must be normal rounding in the upper back.
  • The trunk must be upright.
  • The abdomen must be flat.
  • There must be a natural curve in the lower back.

Warm-up and cool-down exercises

In every Pilates session, you need to have warm-up and cool-down exercises. If you’re starting out, and don’t have a big budget, the most cost-effective pieces of Pilates equipment that you need to buy are mats and bands. Balls are relatively inexpensive as well, however if you decide to train people at their homes transporting this piece of equipment could be cumbersome.

A great warm-up exercise that is performed on the mat is the pelvic lift. Here’s how to do this movement:

  • Start your client off by lying on their back and on the mat. Your client’s arms must be lying relaxed at the side of their bodies with the palms facing down.
  • Their legs must be bend with their feet facing forward.
  • Inhale to prepare.
  • Exhale and get them to pull into their abdominal muscles. They must slowly lift their torso off the mat and feel each vertebra lift consecutively off the mat.
  • They need to engage their hamstrings as they eventually lift up. They need to squeeze their glute muscles as they reach the pinnacle of the exercise.
  • Inhale and hold.
  • Exhale and get them to pull into their abdominal muscles again. Then, they must slowly lower their torso and feel each vertebra articulate onto the mat starting from the upper/thoracic spine and down to the lumbar vertebrae.

There are many cool-down exercises that are available in Pilates. However, if you’re solely using the mat the saw is a superb but challenging exercise for the whole body:

  • Get your client to be seated on the mat. They must be sitting up straight with their legs out in front of them.
  • They must then lift their arms up to shoulder height and extend these to their sides with their palms facing forwards.
  • Inhale and make sure that they keep their abdominals connected and their back straight. They must rotate their torso to the right side of their body.
  • Exhale and ensure that they flex their torso over their right leg and extend the left form over the right foot. Rotate both arms and make sure that the client keeps their abdominals connected at all times.

Repeat on the other side.

We hope that the suggestions we’ve given you in this article spark a number of ideas so that you can be more prepared as well as organised for your clients.  Don’t forget that your students are putting their trust in you to be the expert so you need to be fitness professional as well as prepared.

About Catalin Mitrica

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