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Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Business & Education, Featured | 0 comments

The Business Side of Teaching Pilates

The Business Side of Teaching Pilates

Choosing where to study Pilates as an apprentice can be tough. Many consider location, costs, equipment, exercises and Teacher Trainer. What about business skills taught? Did you know what to do to build your business after your apprenticeship?

As you read in our previous article “The Pilates Apprentice Story” each apprentice chose their programs based on the best mentors and learning the technique. All of them are well on their way towards rocking their Pilates teaching dreams. But, what happens after the apprentice hours are completed? Where do they find their clients? How do they fill a schedule and build their own Pilates business? Most programs still do not teach the business side of Pilates. Focusing mostly on teaching students the exercises and history of Pilates. Of course, this is important. In fact, teachers will never stop learning the in’s and out’s of Pilates. But, what about the business side? Can we do more for apprentices, so they come off the ground running? Gina and I believe so!

This follow-up is geared to help teachers, teacher trainers, and apprentices focus on five areas to take with them and hit the Pilates reformer, Cadillac and mat running! Aside from a website try these tips and make the business side of Pilates, your friend:

1. Focus on what’s in front of you: To be successful as a Pilates instructor you do not have to advertise to everyone. You just need to connect to those in your area, and specifically with those that want the depth and breadth of the method. You only need to speak to 20 – 30 people. Plan to use simple, local marketing programs; e.g., pin specially designed postcards for group mat classes on the bulletin boards in nail salons and coffee shops.  Set up a FREE Google Local business page to your location. Build a local community mat class that meets regularly; collaborate with another small business to co-promote a community health & fitness workshop; write a article or two for a local paper or community business journal. Before buying Google AdWords or even Facebook ads take some stock. You don’t need a national audience to see you! Buy targeted space in your local area and minimize your cost and maximize the effectiveness. Then focus on teaching the one or two clients in front of you. Make their bodies feel and show the benefits of Pilates by training with YOU! They will soon become be the walking billboards you need in your community and more friends, and friends of friends will seek you out. Do not hesitate to ask for their feedback as a testimonial to their experience. Word of mouth stories will go a long way in helping others find the path to you.

2. Knowing when to say Yes and when to say No: In the beginning,it is easy to say “yes” to everyone who asks for a session and at any time. Why? Because saying “no” often means saying no to money. The money you want and need. You are the instructor. You have all the power. First, know when you are available to work. You may think you have plenty of time to teach. You are new and building your business, but you are not available anytime. What would a full schedule for you look like? Ask yourself, when do I feel at my best? When am I taking my Pilates sessions? Build a work schedule and then only offer those times. Stick to it! There is an attraction to the “busy restaurant.” People will wait hours to get into the restaurant with a line out the door even if the one next door is empty. If someone asks for a time, you are not available say “I am not available then. I have this time or this time, which works best for you?” If none work then you’ll have to say no but I bet the next time they’ll work Pilates with you into their schedule first!

Angela Paul-Gaito, who runs a studio in Newburgh, NY, commented in our “The Pilates Apprentice Story” interview, that she learned the hard way, that saying “yes” too often, perhaps being too lenient, too timid with goal of “wooing” clients and building relationships actually made it harder in the long run. She realised that she needed to keep a focus on my own limits in the relationship and transaction. She needed to stop trying to be a friend and work toward being their teacher.

3.  Know what the clients ‘Why’ is? Why is the client coming to Pilates? What brought them to you and Pilates? They are not going to learn all there is to know about Pilates in that first session. Take the pressure off yourself and spend your time showing them how Pilates with YOU will help them hit their WHY. I know their body has more needs than that why but if you don’t get them to come back in you’ll never get to help them with their bodies needs. Allow them to feel what Pilates with you is. Their first package with you is them buying time with you. They felt enough trust with you to help them attain their Why.

4. Choose the best option for you: As a Pilates instructor, you have multiple options to choose from when it comes to where you teach. You can rent space, work for a studio or fitness facility, work for yourself and go to clients homes. You may feel the urge to choose one or a few of these options at once. We recommend you choose the option that works best for you and your work style. In a Profitable Pilates post “To Own or To Rent,” I suggest you ask fellow teachers what the positives and negatives are. What work best for them and why? If you dream of having a studio of your OWN one day, find a space that allows you to build your own business and following. Prefer to show up, teach and leave? Perhaps working in a studio is a better option for you. There is an advantage to being your own boss and calling your own shots and wearing all the hats. Do you know yourself enough to know which option works best for you?

5.  Online options: A website is important. It’s a crucial calling card in the digital marketplace. For more on why websites are important, take a look these tips from web developers. If you cannot afford one, in the beginning, don’t worry. You can purchase the domain today so that when you are ready, your ideal website URL is available. Start a Facebook page or Instagram page. These do not replace a website, but they do help people find you and see who you are, what you do and what you stand for as a Pilates Instructor. Yelp and Citysearch as well as other review sites are great options as profiles on these sites are often free. A website is an assistant that works for you 24/7 so get one sooner than later! In the meantime use the free options you have and then don’t be afraid to ditch the world wide web in exchange for good old fashion in person connection. Hang out at the cafe by your studio and introduce yourself to people. Your future clients are all around!

We cannot express how important it is that you do not avoid the business side of teaching. You got into teaching Pilates because of your passion for the method. For you to share that passion for Pilates, you will have to master the business. Start with these five tips and see how they help you fill your dream schedule with dream clients!


Co-Authors & Collaborators Gina and Lesley found each other via social media and their common love of connection, Pilates and blogging.

Lesley Logan, a PMA Certifed Master Pilates Instructor and has been studying and teaching Joseph Pilates Classical Method since 2005 and 2008 respectively. She has also been featured in Pilates Style Magazine and recently was admitted into “The Work,” a masters program taught by one of Joseph Pilates elders, Jay Grimes. Maintaining that

Pilates is a unique practice that is good for every body, Lesley tailors the method for each individual client. Connect with Lesley via

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Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in Becoming a Teacher, Business & Education, Featured, Pilates | 0 comments

The Pilates Apprentice Story – passion and business

The Pilates Apprentice Story – passion and business

Whether 17 years old or 62 years old; initially trained with a classical orientation or contemporary, the experience as an apprentice in the Pilates method is an exhilarating and challenging, yet life-changing experience.

My colleague and I spent a few hours getting to know five teacher-trainees a little better, asking what made them decide to become  Pilates instructors.  What drew them in? What were their goals when finished?  Who inspired them?  Whether West Coast or East Coast trainees, their stories are relatable to all of us.  While their varying answers might seem predictable, “helping others love pilates and wanting to make a difference,” there is another theme that can be found in all their stories.  The desire and ability to have the flexibility of creating their own business doing something that they love, ie., teaching Pilates.

Follow along.  We dug deep to extract a few pithy, take-away points from the commitments each of them gave to the rigor of the training program and challenge of building a business with Pilates.

On the East Coast, Gina Jackson, teacher/studio owner, Pilates4Fitness, spoke briefly with three teachers-in-training about their personal observations. On the West Coast, Lesley Logan, teacher/teacher-trainer, Profitable Pilates, spoke with with two stay-at-home moms that made the transition to Pilates teachers.  Not surprisingly, from the eldest to the youngest, a classical training program was the intended goal of each; ultimately operating a business as an independent and continuing to learn from the industry and their respective mentors and support teachers.

Initially certified by Polestar Pilates, with a Mat and Reformer group class certification only, Angela Paul-Gaito, 38 yr old mother two, says she felt she was

“Missing the comprehensiveness of the teaching system, and ultimately sought out a Balanced Body full apparatus certification.  However, she knew in her heart of hearts, she wasn’t feeling as confident and felt she was missing a link.

Angela  trained in dance with Master Teacher, Matt Mattox, and as a certified student with the Alvin Ailey school, she performed around the world in the french musical “Notre Dame de Paris”.  I was part of the creation team of “A New Day”, Celine Dion’s show in Belgium and Las Vegas and worked as a free-lance dancer for various companies, theater and TV projects.  She was introduced to Pilates thru dance with the Alvin Ailey company as a 19-year old,  she says, however,  the benefit of the work didn’t connect until 10 years later when she needed to  “reform” her body after her first child was borne.  “I became very aware of all the great benefits as a dancer, a teacher but most importantly as a woman.  Time of maturity was the right time.”



Angela states, the biggest challenge to her as a Classical teacher-trainee was “forgetting or letting go” of all the previous contemporary training references.  She owns/operates her own studio in Newburgh, NY since 2012, and counts as her mentor influencers Ann Toran, Fabrice Lamego and Jennifer Kries.

In fact, it was Jennifer Kries that convinced her of the importance of the classical system, and in 2015 she started a bridging program with Juliet Harvey, Beacon Pilates, to improve my practice and knowledge on the classical form of the Pilates method.

Consistently, students are greatly influenced to find or follow the path to teaching by their exposures and mentors.  Whether drawn to the Pilates teaching path by either health or physical injury, or following the lead of friend, colleague or relative, the recognition of the depth of the method and specifically, the classical approach to teaching is a profound awakening.

“The Pilates apprentice experience is an incredible learning journey, no matter what programme is selected.  Everyone starts off in a group at the same time.  Then life happens.  It’s windy trails intersect with the apprentice journey and don’t stope even when you become an instructor.” Lesley Logan, Profitable Pilates

Jen Hilton of Encino, CA, a “stay-at-home”  mom, who was seeking a part-time Pilates teaching career.  She chose the Equinox Pilates teacher training program after much research.

Key to her success in the experience, she says was having amazing support from her family, as she balanced being a wife and a mother of three, while traveling all over Los Angeles to complete her required apprenticeship hours. During her time as an apprentice she found the instructors she calls her mentors, Carrie Samper, Susannah Todd and Ashley Hoffman.

Her best day as an apprentice, she states “when I finally got it and felt like teaching was starting to glow.” Always a positive spirit she cannot think of one “worst day,” however, as all instructors can relate, there were a “few days of exhaustion and feeling completely overwhelmed.”

Jen’s selection of the Equinox Training program, coupled with her personal goals for completion, helped her prepare for the business side of teaching. Before she completed the program, she had a targeted dream studio in mind and an interview set up.  She utilized her time observing in the training studio with the specific intention of noting great examples of what works and doesn’t work when developing a Pilates teaching business.   Her 10-year goal, “I’m hoping to still be teaching part-time but as a fabulous experienced teacher.”

Another Equinox Pilates Teacher Trainee, Jenny Latham of West Hollywood, CA, is a 40-year old mother, interior designer and fit model.  She chose the program based on her experience as a member of the studio/gym.   She states that the teacher/client relationship drew her in and and mentor/teacher trainer relationship with Carrie Samper, helped pull her through the program.

When asked to describe a dream client, she said, “one who is open and willing to change their body.”  Further, “in 10 years I’ll be 50, so I don’t want to think about that, but, I would love to be more confident in my body and my teaching, so I can work with women/men like myself who are adapting to their changing bodies.”

“When I finished my program I was elated and a little tired. Six hundred  hours in nine months while working 50-hours a week across running back and forth across town. I left with a certificate and immediately signed up for the upcoming PMA conference. I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” states Logan, who teaches workshops on How to Sell Pilates.   While the start or initial driver that brings one into becoming a Pilates instructor differed for everyone, the end takeaway is the same.  There is so much more learning in the process. To be a Pilates instructor is to be a student of the method for life.

daniel-profileDaniel Alvarado, 19 years old, was the youngest apprentice in Alycea Ungaro’s New York Real Pilates Teacher Training program, and the only male in the group we interviewed.  Danny, is the nephew of Real Pilates NYC, Senior Teacher Trainer, Juan Estrada and as a result, has a high bar to surpass with all the mentors he has in his corner; Alycea Ungaro, Bob Leikens, Carrie Campbell Clark, Stephanie West, Anna Clark, and Bethannie Redinger.

He describes his best day as one filled with teaching moments, where he mistakenly thought he had a “rest day” and suddenly found out he was scheduled to teach

“Four classes in a row and take a private session for myself afterwards. On this same day I taught my first duet and then a trio session following it.  The closest thing to the worst day was having to deal with 3 fully- energized teenager girls.”

Daniel is already teaching at Real Pilates in both the Tribeca and SOHO studio locations as well as two gym studios in Manhattan and Long Island City and has the freedom and time to hone and refine his skills with an active teaching and personal practice schedule.  However, building a client base, he recognizes will come over time.

“I am not ashamed to say, I recognise the ‘student-apprentice’ in myself at every session I have with a senior or master teacher” Gina Jackson, Pilates4fitness.

While experience is the best teacher, being a good teacher, or having access to the highest quality training programs, may not create the requisite experience, exposure or training for building a successful business as an instructor or a business owner.  It’s really the next layer of the apprentice programming that we see is noticeably absent and true of the entrepreneurial experience as a business owner.

Jennifer Cayenne, was first introduced to Pilates following an injury of her spine. She states she fell in love with the system after three sessions at a Montclair, NJ studio.

As a 62-year old IT Project Manager, she researched and found the United States Pilates Association teacher training program and specifically began a trainee-mentee relationship with Brett Howard and Pamela Dejohn.

jennifer-cayenneWith a long-term goal of operating a boutique Pilates Studio in her native home of Trinidad & Tobago,  Jennifer’s  short term plans are to seek teaching positions at various local studios to explore different teaching techniques and styles and build client/business experience and relationships.

Mentoring relationships and small-business training and programming would greatly serve teacher-trainees.  Small business planning, marketing, promotion and new business development are acknowledged as key elements crucial to running a successful studio or independent instructor business.   However these are generally well beyond the scope of most highly regarded teacher-training programs.

When asked what you wish you knew about the Pilates business side of teaching, Jennifer stated,

“I wish I knew how to find my own niche in the Pilates business since I’ve never run a business before.  My expectations upon completion are to teach one-on-one at multiple locations to expand my clientele, and to further progress to teaching group classes.”

Angela, who runs a successful studio already in Newburg, NY, observed that she had to learn the hard way,
“Being too nice, too timid with goal of  “wooing” clients and building relationships may actually make it harder for yourself in the long run.  I realized that I needed to keep focus on my own limits in the relationship and transaction.  I need to stop trying to be a friend and work toward being their teacher.”

Like Jennifer, Jackson states she transitioned from a corporate life very foreign to the typical dancer-apprentice.   “As a former general manager and corporate business leader, I made the transition from selling or managing  “widgets” in corporate America to teaching and selling the goodness and benefits of life with Pilates.”

Further, Jackson states, “I was lucky, that my former experiences gave me a foundation and the confidence to step out to operate an independent, small business that in some ways to most new teachers, may feel as daunting as the apprentice test-out itself. “

Learning never ends.  To be a Pilates instructor is to be a student of the method for life. Contemporary systems training leads one to classical refinements. Intermediate work leads to advanced transitions.  Bowen did it different than Grimes; and we all seek to deliver the best quality instruction with each client/student relationship.
The business of teaching Pilates, however, requires another set of ABCs, tools, workshops and learning experiences.  The importance and value of establishing business policies, building business relationships, acquiring clients, retaining them, communicating with them via a website, newsletter and social media and being the floor and mat cleaner  – all at the same time  – have equal weight with being the principal teacher, independent contractor or Pilates studio owner.

Stay tuned for Part II of the apprentice story – The business side of teaching Pilates.

Co-Authors & Collaborators Gina and Lesley found each other via social media and their common love of connection, Pilates and blogging.

Lesley Logan, a PMA Certified Master Pilates Instructor and has been
studying and teaching Joseph Pilates Classical Method since 2005 and 2008 respectively.  She has also been featured in Pilates Style Magazine and recently was admitted into “The Work,” a masters program taught by one of Joseph Pilates elders, Jay Grimes. Maintaining that Pilates is a unique practice that is good for every body, Lesley tailors the method for each individual client.  Connect with Lesley via

ginajacksonGina Jackson, Director/Owner, Pilates4Fitness Movement Space, West New York, NJ, has been teaching, coaching and training for more than fifteen years and loves the challenge of helping others find their center with Pilates. Certified by Power Pilates, New York, NY,  connect with Gina via


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Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Featured, Pilates | 0 comments

Pilates, Yoga and Ailey: The New Year’s Resolve

Pilates, Yoga and Ailey: The New Year’s Resolve

Main image (The dream team Alicia Graf Mack and Jamar Roberts in “Petite Mort” photo by Paul Kolnik)

I never trained nor danced like these performers, yet I felt every bend, breath and preparatory move; that of the young and the old. I literally saw the practiced movements of my Yoga and Pilates work gracefully and rhythmically choreographed to Ellington, Mozart, and African water drum beats.
Image-1-300x225I witnessed the grounding of yoga warrior poses, the lift and openness of an untold number of arabesques. In addition to the oblique twist and rotation exacted of a Mat spinal twist or Reformer Snake and Twist and I felt the exhilaration of a heart opening, swan diving back-bend as shown below by Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish (55 yrs) and Jamar Roberts (31) in their practice for the evening’s performance of “Fix Me Jesus” in Alvin Ailey’s signature piece “Revelations.”
I was drawn immediately to purchase tickets to the New Year’s Eve performance as a result of a NYT article and Ms. Roxas-Dobrish’s profile for a “one-time only” performance by several alumni of the Alvin Ailey Company. My sister and I couldn’t think of anything better we wanted or should be doing – as two 50+ African-American women, than watching the graceful movements of these particular dancers.
Elizabeth had me and Ailey had my ticket money when I read of her preparation plan as reported in Sarah Lyall’s, New York Times, December 25, 2013 article:

“She enlisted the help of a physical therapist, a massage therapist and an acupuncturist; she tweaked her diet; she stepped up her Pilates; and she started going to class again. She began to see the dance from a new perspective, not just as a showcase for technique but as an expression of “all the things that life has put into you.”

While many practitioners and teachers in the Pilates and Yoga community may come from a background, experience or immersion in the discipline and artistry dance, I for one have not.  I have embraced Pilates and Yoga for the life and living that it keeps in my body. I practice what I preach and I use and recommend a massage therapist, acupuncturist, dietary adjustments and of course regular Pilates practice for anyone that asks or will listen to me. So I totally dug this quote. Not to mention the breathtakingly open Swan Dive in the image.
You better believe I sat enveloped in each gesture, kick extension and rotation in the performance of not only the alumni featured in the signature piece, “Revelations,” but from the entire company’s artful, rhythmic, movement expression of what felt like my Pilates and Yoga practice put to life and music.
Many of the moves oftentimes feel repetitive but it’s that repetitive move – perfectly executed – that brings us back time and again to witness it, feel it and experience it.
The execution of a fuller reach, a more expansive extension and higher kick grips one every time, leaving you to moan that sound of “hmphhh” under your breath. There were several of these moans – at least for me – that evening.
The opening performance of “Pas De Duke” with Alicia Graf Mack’s solo and her scintillating height and crisp gesture movements was the first one. I found myself bouncing a bit to Duke Ellington and when Alicia presented her solo, I moved to the front edge of my seat and was simply captured by the precise angles, soft squaring of each step, twist and body positioning.
Alicia-Graf-Image2-300x169Ronald K. Brown’s “Four Corners” was absolute pure delight in angles and abstractionism. The troupe was moved by a particular sweet 8-minute african rhythm entitled “Da Na Ma (Manoo Remix” featuring the recognizable African water drum that I immediately put to use in a musical mix to move my TRX class two days later. I don’t teach my students to dance, but the rhythms of the music and the mental picture I have retained of the company changed my own personal workout the next day and therefore my energy with my students the following morning.
The moan and that sound of “hmphhh” continued through “Petit Mort” and its play with wandering swords and the sinewy, lean muscle of a few good men. The curves and lines of the dancers and the movements were breathtaking. This piece premiered with Ailey in 2012 and was one of my favorites of the evening. Choreographed by Czech-born, Jiri Kylian, it showcased the 6 ft tall, all power and energy, Jamar Roberts and again, the equally powerful, Alicia Graf Mack.
Alicia-Jamar-Petit-Mort-Image4-300x169Roberts also danced with Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, in “Revelations” and lovingly referred to her as a delicate “jewel” rather than a “55 yr-old grandmother” that she feared he might consider her to be.
The silver at her temples was the mark of her crown, for there was no “granny in her steps” nor in that of any of the alumni for the evening.
Image-5.Dobrish-247x300“I Wanna Be Ready” was performed by Guillermo Asca, as a part of the classic “Revelations.” I saw, and deeply felt, a yoga “boat pose” and Pilates “Teaser” through his floor work. As an alumnus, he had a slight, visible girth in his middle, however, it didn’t stop his magnificence from shining through. Guillermo Asca and Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish were my favorites for their performances and executions during the evening; both were clearly filled with joy in delivery.
Dudley Williams and Donna Woods Sanders performed in Revelations 2013, as a part of “Rocka My Soul in the Bosum of Abraham.” Ms. Sanders was having the time of her life and an absolute ball being on the stage with the “yellow umbrella dance.” She underscored the fact that “movement matters – age doesn’t” with her joy for the evening. Both Dudley Williams and Donna Wood Sanders were my favorites for their enthusiasm and spirit.
My sister and I went for the reprise and the evening honor to the alumni dancers and I left with a refreshed spirit for the purpose and benefit of my own work in the practice of Pilates and Yoga.  No warrior pose will ever have the same meaning.  No Teaser will ever be half-heartedly executed.
The company and its performance gave me new meaning to finding joy in the preparation, the movement, the breath and the execution. These will be the sole drivers for the work in the year to come.

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Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in Equipment, Featured, Pilates | 0 comments

Gym & Weights vs. Pilates & TRX Suspension

Gym & Weights vs. Pilates & TRX Suspension

I used to throw heavy weights around quite easily.  I remember taking pride in loading the leg press with 2X my body weight and comfortably working my legs.  At the same time, I also worked my body diligently in a Pilates studio with a Master Teacher or two, on a regular basis.  I called it functional, cross-training and had been doing it for about ten+ years as my lifestyle approach to fitness and health.  Now, as a Pilates teacher & studio owner and with my new found love of TRX Suspension, there is no longer a need for weights.  In fact, I haven’t touched a weight or its equivalent in 3+ years.

Clearly it is time to change your protocol when the training methods you use fail to prevent injuries , and actually potentially cause them.  It is time to change your protocol when you notice your joints, tendons and ligaments screaming at you after each bend, twist or turn.  It is really time to change what you have been doing when you end the evening and begin the morning smelling like camphor and menthol or can’t start or end without an anti-inflammatory.  Ageless, graceful living requires mindful conscious changes and adjustments.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have reminded a student to “work*within their current body* and *toward their future body*” rather than remaining frustrated with the inability to retain yesterday’s body.  Yes, our bodies are self-healing systems. Our invincible, youthful selves are thankful for that reality.   The older we get, the more care, attention and maintenance we require.  The older we get, the easier it becomes for the disparate parts of our bodies to breakdown from overuse, wear and tear.  That youthful, invincible play with life and activity comes back as a formidable haunt of the body system.

This is one of the main reasons that I walked completely away from the use of the gym in the last three years.  Vanity made me a “gym rat” from my late 20′s thru my late 40′s.   I introduced myself to yoga in my early 40′s and sporadically used it to stretch while maintaining a “serious” workout regimen 3-4x weekly in the gym.  At mid-40s, I began working with clients as a private trainer and at 45 years of age, I competed in a Body Building contest and won 1st Place as Lightweight Body Builder.

The rigor of training the body and the tight and constricted feeling of my muscles and joints along with my subconscious awareness that “I could not physically do this for the rest of my life” helped me find and embrace Pilates and the formidable change it made in my life and body.  Pilates replaced my use, love or even desire to go to the gym.  The mental-physical connections required for training with Pilates, in addition to the myriad of other functional, cross training tools of my studio; TRX, BOSU Balance Trainer, resistance bands, stability balls changes lives, bodies and flexibility.


Body Resisted Training

The TRX System was developed by a U.S. Navy SEAL as a revolutionary method of leveraged bodyweight exercise allowing one to perform hundreds of exercises building power, strength, flexibility, balance, mobility at an intensity level chosen by the user or led by the instructor.  While it may not be new to gym rats or personal trainers, it is a unique tool for Pilates studio owners and teachers and is so complimentary to the healing movements of Pilates.

Body resisted training with the TRX allows one to move easily with the equipment, maximizing the body and mind’s training and minimizing the injury to joints and overworked muscles.  Using the equipment with a “pilates-frame of reference,” creates a delicious, dynamic, functional training workout that is exhilarating and incomparable.  I believe that cross-training, particularly with the TRX Suspension equipment and Pilates-based movements, can lead to better muscular balance and joint stability.  This is due to the fact that Pilates with the use of TRX emphasizes the body’s natural ability to move in three anatomical planes of motion.

While stationary equipment/machines can sometimes be safer to use, they restrict movements to a single plane of motion, an unnatural form of movement for the human body. When stationary equipment is essential, students are moved to the floor or the Pilates Reformer to begin safe movement exercises.  As strength and mind-body connections are attained, additional planes of motion and movement are added into the exercise regimen and program.

Quite a few people erroneously equate strength training with gyms, weights and bodybuilding. Challenge them with a Pilates sequence using the TRX and eyes will be opened to a new world of bodywork. Pilates and Pilates-based movements make a great choice for creating adaptive training workouts that build strength with length and flexibility.

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Equipment, Pilates, Repertoire, Reviews | 0 comments

Circular Movements to Re-Shape the Derierre

Circular Movements to Re-Shape the Derierre

Movement is my medicine,  my drug of choice and my daily mantra.  As a result, I have earned a reputation for being an active-oriented teacher.  “Action Jackson” has been a nickname for longer than I can remember, and I have been told that it seems my “ever-ready” batteries almost never seem to run down.

It may, therefore, come as no surprise that I have fallen madly in love with the Balanced Body Pilates Orbit. As a tool in the studio, the Pilates Orbit in my opinion, is a perfect compliment to the reformer in facilitating circular, rotational movements for the upper and lower body.  I use the Orbit quite a bit in concert with my cycling activities and love the lifted, toned shaping I feel of my 50+ derierre with each use.

Essentially, the Pilates Orbit is a “mini-mat on wheels” and given the curves and shape of the lion share of our client’s bodies, I find it the perfect compliment to the “length and depth”  as well as the “vertical and horizontal” alignments we use on the reformer, tower and Cadillac equipment of the studio.

Challenging stability while moving “on wheels” is a sure-fire way to fire up the powerhouse.  It surely feeds my need for continual, active movement.

There are a myriad of Pilates exercises for which the Pilates Orbit can used for to strengthen the core abdominals.    A creative instructor will easily find a way to translate and transfer the classic Pilates exercises used on the mat and/or reformer to the Orbit.   It didn’t take long for my ”action-orientation” to find a number of challenging toning exercises to support re-shaping the bottoms of those walking into my studio.

Loving the Curves & Shaping the Butt

As a 50+ woman with clients that are also fighting the gravitational pull of life on their bodies, I wanted an additional way to shape, tone and stretch the muscles of the hip and legs while encouraging core balance and control and this little tool does the trick perfectly.  Students of all ages have joined me in loving not only the flow of movement, but the toning and balance control achieved with a few specific “circular movements” facilitated by the Pilates Orbit.

I spend no more than 10-12 minutes with the Orbit in a session hour.   After the abdominal series, I generally start with Orbit “knee stretches,” add a few push ups and oblique rotations just to get the blood flowing with the ease of the tool and then transition to a kneeling sequence that targets the quads, hamstrings, abductors/adductors as well as the internal and external rotators.

One particular movement, single leg adduction/abduction, garners quite a few “oohs and ahhs” from students.   In fact, many of my senior client/students beg to do this exercise just for the opening it helps to facilitate through the pelvis, hips and joints (Pictured).

Transitioning from kneeling to a supine, I encourage use of the Orbit for “frogs.” Assuming the “frogs” foot position and planting the sides of the feet on the Orbit, students are encouraged to perform 5-8 frogs with the pelvis stationary on the mat and then challenged to lift the hips (keeping the sides of the feet planted) and “frog” in/out for 5-8 more repetitions.   The last supine exercise I use is a bridge, whereby the feet are planted solidly on the Orbit and the torso bridged without moving the Orbit for 5 reps and subsequently performed in a controlled, slow movement away from the Orbit while still engaged in the “pelvic lift” for greater intensity and work on the hamstrings.

I always end in a standing position and use the Orbit for single leg balance work.  Challenging balance and stability on wheels – with controlled rotational sequencing through the internal and external rotators of the glutes – fully integrates the mind and body and yields a few more “oohs and ahhs” as we roll through the circular movements. [Picture supplied – Standing Balance]

Students end the session smiling with their spirits, as well as their rear ends, lifted a little higher.



  • Knee Stretches 8-10 reps
  • Rollout, Plank to PushUp (Hands on Orbit) 5-8 reps
  • Single Leg Abd/Adduction 5-8 reps [picture supplied – Single Leg Abduction]

Supine Bridge


  • Frogs 5-8 reps
  • Pelvic Lift 5-8 reps

Standing – Balance, Control and Abduction


  • Single Leg Lunge 5-8 reps
  • Single Leg Lunge with Circle 5-10 reps [picture supplied – Rotational-Lunge]
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