5 Things I Learned From My First Month Teaching Pilates

5 Things I Learned My First Month Teaching Pilates

Wednesday marked my first month teaching Pilates and I’m feeling much more confident in my teaching abilities!

me the Pilates instructor in my Pilates class

I remembered my music this week, but only the second page of my notes, so I winged that part again and everything turned out just fine. πŸ™‚ It was my biggest class yet and I’m really glad I have a few regulars as well as some new people every week. Some things I’ve learned along the way:

1. Teaching Makes Exercises Easier

I actually discovered this very early on, when I was just leading small portions of my Pilates class. I was so surprised at how easy the exercises felt that I wasn’t sure I had done enough reps. I mentioned this to another instructor who said that teaching gives you a different adrenaline to power through. Which brings me to my second lesson…

2. Pay Attention to Your Students

All of them, not just one. I was given this pointer by my Pilates instructor. Since it’s so hard to gauge how challenging the class is by how I’m feeling, it’s important to look around at everyone to judge how the class is doing. It’s easy to look at just the couple people right in front of me, but I need to make sure I’m leading the class the best way possible for everyone. This can be challenging, though, because of number 3.

3. People Are Competitive

They don’t like to let on that they’re struggling to get through the exercises, so they can be hard to read. I’ve found it helps to suggest a modification to make it a little more challenging. Usually suggesting taking it up a notch gets people to express their true feelings. πŸ™‚ Another option is to comment on how I must be the only one feeling the burn and then I’ll usually get some feedback!

first day teaching Pilates
My first day teaching, just hoping someone would show up!

4. Some Exercises Won’t Ever Be Favorites

And not because they’re challenging. I get strong vibes from my classes that they don’t love rolling like a ball. I don’t think they love any of the rolling ones, but seal they tolerate because it’s silly (you clap your feet together like a seal). I’m still not sure what to do with this one yet. Rolling is a basic Pilates exercise and it’s good for a few different things, but it can be awkward. It’s also not an exercise where you really “feel the burn” or anything and I had a student ask out loud to the class what the point was. I’m thinking I might not have them do it every class, but it’s not something I’ll leave out for good.

5. Talk About Other Things

It’s a good distraction when we’re working a particular muscle. I learned this strategy from my Pilates teacher who would go off telling us a story or riddle while our buns were burning. It makes the class more personal, livens it up a bit and gets people laughing. Just counting the exercises over and over can get dull. Speaking of which, I tend to lose count when I’m doing something other than counting, but I’m not sure anyone notices!

pilates booty burner
This one is a great one to distract people through! Check out the whole booty burner exercise to get those buns burning!

I’d love to hear any other tips from fellow fitness instructors!

If you take group workout classes, what do you like from your fitness instructors?

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Comments 7

  • I LOVE rolling like a ball! It feels so good on the spine. Now, V sits in any form are the ones I don’t like but still power through. I would need a great story to get me through those. Congrats on your 1 month anniversary.

    • Thank you! Honestly, rolling like a ball is not my favorite either, except that it feels good to “stick it” with the balance at the top before rolling back down. And it’s kinda fun!

  • Hi!

    I also teach pilates πŸ™‚ Congrats on your first month of teaching!! When it comes to rolling in my class, I usually pick one roll and leave the other variations out. I also like changing it up, for example, closing their eyes or not using their hands, slowing it down, etc.

    Generally, if you are having fun, they are having fun πŸ™‚

    • Good to hear from another Pilates instructor! I think sticking with one roll is a good idea. Maybe when my class gets more advanced (there are a lot of beginners right now) I’ll try the other variations!

  • These are GREAT! I remember my first time teaching (almost 5 years ago… eek!). These things still apply to instructors and classes today. My favorite is “exercises will be easier”. Some people ask us how we can talk and move at the same time. I think it helps that we get to decide repetitions and moves! When we know what’s coming next, it doesn’t seem as hard. Keep up the great work!! Go Pilates! <3

    Jackelyn Ho

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