What Makes a Pilates Class Good … ?

What makes a pilates class good …. or bad for that matter?


  1. Firstly, the instructor! They need to know their stuff and also be friendly, inviting and encouraging.  A good instructor can teach different types of personalities and different types of bodies confidently and be able to offer exercise modifications to keep everyone safe in class.  They should always teach to an appropriate level for the class, and correct either through manual alterations or verbal cues, or a mix of both.
  2. A pilates class should leave you feeling looser and more limber than when you started. You should move better, stand taller and it should bring attention to your posture: how you stand, how you sit, where you hold your weight and how you move.
  3. Pilates classes shouldn’t be too big! Smaller class sizes allow instructors to get in there and correct any faulty movement patterns, to adjust your positioning and take the time to explain “how” to activate those lazy muscles …. that’s how you become aware of your own body and how you use it.
  4. The group class should give you an overall, fullbody workout in a safe environment. It should train and strengthen your weak muscles to help bring your body into symmetry and balance. You should use both your little stabiliser muscles and your big mover muscles, as well as moving through different planes of motion, and different ranges in your joints.
  5. The class should include exercises for:
  • Warming up the body and bringing awareness to breath
  • Extension: spinal extension, hip extension, small range of shoulder extension
  • Flexion: spinal flexion, hip flexion, shoulder flexion, rotation with flexion
  • Rotation: spinal rotation, circular motions through hip joints, and shoulder joints
  • Lateral movements and lateral flexion: think mermaid for the spine, side splits for inner and outter thighs
  • Full muscular contractions: concentric (when the muscles shortens under load .. think bicep curl); eccentric (when the muscle lengthens under load … think deadlift for the hamstrings); and isometric (when the muscle length stays the same under load … think plank). Working through the range of muscular contractions will give you strong muscles which are supple, strong and flexible…. And that equals ease of movement
  • stretch and cool down

The aim of pilates is to bring your body into better symmetry and balance with exercises that bring both the muscular and skeletal system into better alignment.  That means strengthening your weaker muscles, against the pull of the stronger muscles to assist with correct alignment of the skeletal system.  These imbalances are usually a direct result of our jobs, or regular training which utilises the same muscles over and over (think running) which leads to muscular imbalances and over use injuries.


Julie Ojeda

Pilates Nation

Julie is a fully certified STOTT PILATES® instructor and holds Cert IV Allied Health Assistant; Cert IV Fitness and has completed numerous additional courses in Pilates for Injuries & Special Populations,  Athletic Conditioning, Pilates for Children & Adolescents, Pilates for Pre & Post Natal Clients

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