What Makes A Great Pilates Session?

by pilates32 on October 26, 2011

[dropcap1]W[/dropcap1]hat makes a great Pilates workout? Is it the feeling of aching muscles, tired joints or a tight lower back? Or is that feeling of being energised, strengthened, lengthened and overall feeling like you just came back from an all-expenses paid spa weekend? Pilates it seems; has the power to do both. To energise, mobilise but also to extend your body’s ability to a point of overload that causes it to grow stronger and better. Here’s six key components that make a Pilates session great.

The Exercises are Relevant.

Exercises should be relevant to the individual. Good Pilates instructors will know their clients and each of their individual needs. If a person is a horse-rider, postural correction to fix a posterior pelvic tilt may be need. If the client is an athlete, runner or weight lifter; exercises that focus on correctly muscle imbalances and improving joint mobility maybe needed.

Move In All Directions

I am a firm believer that if we consider all directions of movement within our Pilates sessions, the body will learn to adapt and modify its posture towards neutral spine and that which is optimal. Pilates is by no means just about crushing our abdominals to the point of pain. It is about the body as a whole. A great session will consider spinal extension, rotation and stability and well as just flexion that many abdominal exercises provide.

Exercises progress correctly

A great session gives opportunity to progress according to the needs of each individual person. Monitoring progression over time needs good assessment, which is not always easy when following a video tutorial. Progression ensures you continue to increase strength, mobility and flexibility.

The pace is right

This means the session allows time to work hard and to rest. It provides variety in the intensity at which exercises are performed. Some are performed fast and with tempo, some slow and with delicate control. Some moves flow from one to the next, where as some allow for rest and release stretches in between.

The Session goes beyond Pilates

Beyond Pilates? What does that mean? Well with modern day science and the understanding of the body and how to make it work better, a great Pilates session has the ability to adapt and modify exercises, whilst integrating other exercise types used in the fields of strength and conditioning and physiotherapy. For me as a teacher, Pilates is a foundation of exercises that I develop on top of with certain clients, taking them further in the realms of core strength and injury prevention.

There you have it; 5 components that I feel make a great Pilates session. Our video tutorials here at Pilates32 aim to tick the boxes of a great session. We encourage you to have a try yourself, or find a session or tutorial that suits your individual needs.

Comment below to let us know what you feel makes a great session.

All the best.


Author: Ian Harris

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam Wilson October 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

A great post Ian! I like instructors who know how to cater their class to the people’s needs and I’m aware this is not always easy! Progression is important to. I have had been to some classes that do the same thing week in, week out. Not good!


pilates32 October 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Many instructors get stuck in this ditch of repeating the same moves and not finding progressions or alternative moves to see more results.


Debbie chambers October 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Lovely piece of writing Ian – I teach pilates myself & was just searching around to see what others views on a ‘good’ class was. Love the fact you progress into different planes of movement. great!


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