Pilates for ALL clients …

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When teaching group Pilates classes we are often faced with physical issues that seem to be fairly generic. Here are some that regularly show up in my classes:

  • Arthritic wrists — making weight bearing difficult
  • Arthritic knees — making any kneeling work difficult plus some movement at the knee joint a problem
  • Bunions — making some standing work difficult and positioning of toes and weight bearing into feet a problem
  • Plantar fasciitis — making foot work and mobility in the ankles difficult
  • Frozen shoulders — mobility and some weight bearing difficulties
  • Non-specific lower back pain — making some positions and mobility difficult and painful
  • Bursitis — making any hip movement a challenge
  • Bulging discs/herniated discs — making positions and movement of the spine difficult
  • Hypermobility — making mind/body connections a challenge, and range of movement issues

Plus hip and knee replacements — which seem to be becoming more common — but this may be related to my client age group.

Most of these problems can be catered for in a general Pilates class by offering modifications, adaptations and alternative positions or movements that can achieve the same goals. And although some of these conditions will need a different aim, they all have a common theme, which is to keep the body moving, to maintain a level of strength, and to work on improving posture.

The facts are that we teach real people with real bodies that present with lack of movement, lack of stability, loss of strength, which can all result in physical problems.

If we take an example of non-specific lower back pain which is at its worst when they try to rotate at the waist, does this make the rotation a
bad movement? No it doesn’t, it may mean that the body hasn’t been used to moving in this way. Potentially perhaps this body has spent the majority of time sitting at a desk with a computer. So this body has become very used to moving forwards and backwards, but twisting and rotation of the spine isn’t done regularly. Then this body decides to take up golf because it knows it needs to get more active and because this body’s friend and work colleague plays golf. Suddenly this body has to twist and rotate — and this results in pain in the lower back, because the body has been put into shock. The muscles are likely to go into spasm to try and stop this movement that it doesn’t recognise. So when this body is presented to us as a group Pilates teacher we have to teach that body how to twist safely and effectively. We have to teach exercises that will help that body achieve that range of movement.

Our bodies are designed to move, so our Pilates classes should be designed to keep bodies moving and with generic problems that our lives lead us to can be dealt with in our generic classes. While some of the issues listed above do need specific and a deeper delve into the cause and what programme of exercises will be right for them, most can be worked on in a group class.

When I work with other Pilates teachers these are some of the areas we look at to develop skills, progress knowledge and confidence to deal with every body. We work in Pilates because we want to help people to move, keep strong, keep looking good, we we shouldn’t restrict what we do to bodies that don’t present with any problems, we should be working on making our classes accessible for all.


Written by: Jane M Thomas of Jane Thomas Pilates, as featured on the BBC.



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The success of a blog for clients …

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For those of you who maybe follow Jane Thomas Pilates you will know that I send out a free weekly Newsletter. This Newsletter is aimed at my clients who attend our matwork classes, our Reformer classes and our one-to-one studio sessions. However, I also have a lot of people who subscribe to the Newsletter but who haven’t as yet signed up to a class, so they haven’t actually bought anything from us.

For those of you who love a statistic, we have 1018 who subscribe to the Newsletter, and around 50% of those subscribers actually buy from us in one way or another, either matwork, Reformer classes, or one-to-one studio sessions.

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For the Love of the Psoas…

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I love this muscle, because when we get it working properly and freely as Pilates Coaches it can make such a difference to our clients’ movement, performance, balance, and emotional wellbeing. The function of the psoas is also an important factor when dealing with lower back pain. So here I share a little about what I have learnt from Kinesiologist Douglas Heel.

For those of you who have heard of Douglas Heel, you will know that he combines science and coaching with a relaxed, happy and an almost meditative perspective. For those of you who haven’t heard of him he has devised a programme of coaching known as Be Activated.

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Here I am, welcoming the start of another week. And I have to say that I am waking up on this Monday free of pain.

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October so far has been a testing month for me as I am a sufferer of migraines, and I seem to be having a constant battle against them at the moment.

So much so, that it ended up with a trip to hospital as my GP was also concerned that there could be an underlying problem, when my migraine had become so bad that none of my normal medication was helping. On the fifth day of continuous pain enough was enough!

I am thankful to say that after lots of tests there was no sinister underlying cause, but after talking and answering the Neurological Consultant’s questions, the diagnosis is stress-related migraines.

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I am very much about giving something for free, and I often see criticism in the fitness industry about giving free sessions as "undervaluing" what we do, but this isn't how I see it…

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With Jane Thomas Pilates we always offer a free taster session — whether that is a class space, or a free consultation at our studio.

We can spend lots of time on social media sites setting up posts, scheduling posts etc, trying to show what we are about. And don't get me wrong, I obviously recognise the benefit of having a social media presence, and how important this is in our industry. I just really believe that giving half an hour of your time to spend with a client for free, could be worth an extra £300 on your turnover, whereas hours and hours on social media can often result in £0, nil points, nothing.


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DO YOU WANT TO TEACH A PILATES CLASS OR DO YOU WANT TO TEACH A GREAT PILATES CLASS?

Here are my top 10 tips for teaching great Pilates classes…


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Meet & Greet
Know your class participants’ names and make it your aim at every class to find something out about their lives
Always ask how their bodies are today — this gives new participants an opportunity to speak up, regular participants to say if they have overdone it, this gives the teacher a heads up about modifying or adapting certain exercises
Build the bond between the teacher and the participants
Create a feeling of attentiveness and professionalism that you know what you are talking about and demonstrates an outstanding level of care.

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So What’s Next in Your Pilates World?
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Whether you have just qualified or you have been teaching for a long time, you will reach a point in your Pilates career when you start to ask yourself

“What do I do next?”

You may be teaching for a gym or leisure centre, or you may be teaching your own classes in the community, and whilst you may love what you are doing, you may start to feel things getting a little stale, or you are feeling a little drained with what you are doing day in and day out.


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First Class Pilates — Pilates Done Right!
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First Class Pilates — 9 Great Central Road — Loughborough — LE11 1RW