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Becoming a Pilates Instructor


Pilates is a popular exercise method which is helping people all over the world become stronger, flexible, more active and healthy. “Pilates” has boomed in the UK since its introduction to the UK fitness market and is featuring more widely on group exercise timetables in health clubs and leisure centres.

Pilates in the UK

Pilates became recognised as an exercise discipline by the UK fitness industry and was mapped to the national occupational standards as a level 3 Mat work qualification during 2006/2007, making Pilates training more accessible to fitness professionals. Training in Pilates mat work via the fitness industry allows for prior learning to be recognised and matched against the industry professionals’ existing qualifications, for example: Anatomy and Physiology is a requirement of a Level 3 Pilates mat work qualification but if a fitness professional has already achieved this unit via their personal training qualification and it’s in date, they do not need to redo this unit. Training in Pilates via the fitness industry is great if you are a group exercise instructor and you want to add Pilates to your group exercise skill set. The delivery of this course structurally is consistent with what you have learned on other courses in the fitness industry, making it a great way to enhance your skills as an instructor, especially that it is fairly affordable and accessible.

If you want to specialise in Pilates and offer the full system, and work in a specialised Pilates studio as a group teacher and teach private sessions, it is recommended that you invest in a full Classical Pilates training which covers both mat work and apparatus, otherwise known as a “Comprehensive” training programme. Most Classical Pilates training schools are of American origin yet run training here in the UK. If you have a Pilates studio near you where you are looking to seek out work, it is worth asking them which training school they recommend training with and find out which apparatus they use before investing in your training

We always advise our students to consider how they wish to use their qualification before embarking on any Pilates qualification to ensure that the training meets their specific needs and adequately qualifies them for the environment in which they intend on working.

Becoming a Pilates Instructor


Pilates is a system of physical strength and flexibility exercises to balance the body, as devised by Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) and originally known as “Contrology”. It consists of a mat work system and exercises using apparatus specifically designed by Joseph Pilates to include: The Universal Reformer, Cadillac, high chair, low chair, ladder barrel, small barrels and the magic circle and more.

Joseph Pilates was German-born and was placed under forced internment in the UK during World War I, where he spent time developing his exercise system. Pilates has been described by many as being 50 years ahead of his time. He immigrated to America after the war where he spent the rest of his days, continuing to teach his method “Contrology” right up to his death in 1967. Pilates as we know it today only became known as “Pilates” after Joseph Pilates death, as a tribute to his work.

Joseph Pilates passed his Contrology method onto a select few, known as Pilates Elders, many of which were dancers. The method has lived on since many of Joseph Pilates elders have set up their own training schools to educate the next generations of Pilates teachers to come. It has led to further development and interpretation of the method over the years. Classical Pilates training schools seek to protect the method, keeping it as true as possible to its original source. Contemporary approaches have emerged which are considered more modified and accessible- training in Pilates Mat Work via the fitness industry would fall into this category. Some would argue that training available today is well suited to the needs of the average person in the 21st century, others would argue that the Pilates method has become somewhat diluted through its interpretations.

Becoming a Pilates Instructor

5 Facts About Pilates

  1. It is not a derivative of Yoga – a lot of people seem to think this, but as you’ve previously read, Pilates is its own form of movements and sequences
  2. Breathing is key– while the execution of the exercises themselves is very important, your breathing technique should be too. Now repeat after us :’ breathe in….breathe out….breathe in…..breath out’
  3. It’s for everyone – Pilates is not specifically directed towards women, it’s a form of exercise for both men and women, beginners or advanced.
  4. Resistance training is the essence of Pilates – with core muscle strength and spinal alignment being two key elements
  5. Pilates is a form of exercise where quality is more important than quantity


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