How Do I Choose the Best Pilates Workshops?

Judith Smith Sullivan
Judith Smith Sullivan
A woman doing pilates.
A woman doing pilates.

The best pilates workshops will fit your educational needs whether you want to become an expert pilates instructor or simply add to your teaching repertoire. The pilates workshops will also fit your schedule and fit within your financial limitations. Pilates is not a fully standardized program, so you will need to research the instructors of the training program and their credentials before making your decision.

In order to become a pilates instructor, you must have completed at least a year as a student in a pilates class. These classes are typically offered at community centers, fitness centers, and private studios. Understanding how pilates works with your body firsthand is crucial to understanding how to teach pilates to others.

Before searching for pilates workshops, consider your scheduling needs. Unless you are a full-time student, chances are that you have work and family obligations. To figure out how much time you can devote to the workshop, write down your weekly schedule, including the time you spend at work, with family, going to various events, and attending clubs or worship services. Don't forget to write down the time you spend on personal hygiene and sleeping.

The time you have left over can be devoted to your pilates class. If you find that you have consistent days or evenings available, you may be able to take a comprehensive course. Of course, you may only have weekends off or sporadic days which become available. If this is the case, you will need an intensive class that lasts only a few days.

There are basically two types of instructor training: mat and comprehensive. Mat training typically takes place in an intensive, weekend workshop setting and costs a few hundred dollars. Students are taught basic pilates exercises, how to accommodate and adapt for individual needs, and how to lead a class. A comprehensive class delves into the science behind the exercises, discussing anatomy and physiology, Joseph Pilates and his original method, and much more. Comprehensive classes take several months to complete and typically require students to apprentice with an experienced teacher in the classroom.

Your budget and long-term goal will determine what type of course you should take. An individual who plans to focus entirely on pilates instruction as a career would benefit from a comprehensive pilates workshop. Someone who simply wants to augment their general knowledge base of exercise instruction may prefer a class that teaches the basics. Either way, as an instructor, you should be able to count the class as a business cost and recoup it by teaching. Consult with your financial adviser or tax preparer to verify the details of your situation.

After you've determined your scheduling requirements, your budget, and whether you want to take a mat training program or comprehensive training program, its time to search for pilates workshops. Pilates is not yet a fully certified field, so you cannot rely on the accreditation of a professional organization to guide you to high quality classes. There are a few organizations which offer certification, like the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA). The PMA offers an exam which highly qualified pilates instructors can take to further legitimize their practice.

Look for information about the instructor in pilates workshops. He or she should have many years of training, teach classes regularly, and possibly have some type of certification. There are some pilates instructors which are not certified who still provide a high quality training program, but they should have significant experience. The training program may indicate that students who complete the program will be certified. Determine what organization offers this certification since virtually any company can legally call their program "pilates" and offer a certification. Contact the PMA for recommendations for pilates workshops in your area.

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    • A woman doing pilates.
      A woman doing pilates.