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Jelly Babies

No, No No. I’m not talking about those that followed around the rock ‘n’ roll stars of the 70’s!

I’m taking about Group Pilates Classes! When did they start? Who are they for? Who are they not suitable for? Are you meant for Pilates Private training instead?

Joe Pilates didn’t have levels. He just taught people 1:1 initially and then people took ownership for their workout when they joined his Pilates gymnasium. Even the group classes he did teach (In Jacobs Pillow in the Summer) was what we may now call the full advanced mat series. In his day, it was just Pilates! No levels, no adaptions.

Group class ‘levels’ came later in the late 80’s with the introduction of the first teacher training programme for teachers to learn this vast work. The fitness industry boomed this concept from the 90’s and made the matwork part really accessible with the rising trend for group Pilates classes. Unfortunately the whole method became less remembered and the fitness industry adapted their training on the mat to make it shorter, cheaper and more general fitness based.

Levels are a helpful way for teachers to distinguish what is expected experience wise before you sign up to class. It’s not the holy trinity though and aren’t set in stone so but more of a helpful guide. Read more about it in our blog “Talk to me about group classes and levels” so you know about The Pilates Pod group class levels.

Group classes are for ‘healthy bodies’- is that me?

What does a healthy body mean anyway? Many of us have aches and grumbling joints, feel a bit out of shape or feeling stiffer than we’d like.

If that’s you and there’s nothing really wrong, diagnosed and you’re not in pain (like back disc issues, osteoporosis, abdominal separation, pelvic floor prolapses, recent joint replacements) – then head to the classes! They are a great way to get and maintain you feeling strong, fit and healthy and more affordable than Private Training.

We recommend 2 times a week or Studio Apparatus, Mat and Online Mat for your benefit after your introduction with a New Client Package or Beginners Group Course.

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But some of us have a few more issues – are classes or Private Training for me?

If you’re recovering from an injury, illness or operation (and it’s been over 8 weeks and your medical practitioner has advised) then it is advisable to have private sessions first before you join a class to ensure your needs are
properly addressed. There may be many things we need to modify, leave out, and we will want to work with all our tools in the Pilates toolbox and the whole range of apparatus and props- classes aren’t for this individual help.

Things like; Osteoporosis, recovering from postnatal issues, pregnant, diagnosed back or neck disc issues, prolapse in pelvic floor, abdominal separaton, recovering from caesarean section, had a recent joint replacement or are in pain from knee or shoulder problems.

If that’s you– we recommend working with us 1:1 Private Training for a while. How long? We can’t say. Everyone’s different. You have individual needs, learning paces, length of time you’ve been injured or in pain. Some take 10 sessions, others 30 x 1:1’s, and for some they prefer to stay working this way.

It’s nothing to worry about, and we will be working with you and the guidance of your medical practitioner/osteopath to help tailor your programme. Our aim is to get you moving well, feeling good and enabling you to move in all ways without pain, and when it’s appropriate, (and if you want) get into classes for maintenance. So let’s just start.

With us, we take out the problem part and work on balancing out the 99% of the good bits which help to uniform the body and often this heals the problems you’ve been facing. Plus it stops the inevitably compensations kicking in elsewhere. Many people when they are in this stage, don’t think they can exercise or move well. We’re here to say YES YOU CAN AND MUST! Most issues come down to a lack of space, support and strength and Pilates has that in abundance!

If it’s been under 8 weeks?

That’s called ‘accute’ in medical terms and we would recommend you stay with your physio/osteopath/pain specialist before starting with us for Private Training at 8 weeks or after their sign off.

If you’re already working with us, we can work around your new recent issue.


Word of caution: Pilates is not rehab, despite what people may say. Pilates teachers (even in Private Training) are not medically trained to diagnose, fix or treat your problem area so you should never be given exercises specifically to fix your problem(that’s the physio’s job!) Only fully comprehensively trained teachers have the training, full Pilates system of studio equipment to work and support with special populations and injuries and are insured to do so. If your are working with Mat or Reformer trainers, please note that as things stand (Jan 2021) these qualifications are governed by the fitness industry and not the full Pilates method, and only insured to work with healthy bodies in a group class format for generic fitness only. Refer to the Pilates Teacher Association for guidance.

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