Our Supply Side Feature offers expert
advice from suppliers to help give you an
insider edge with your upcoming facility
purchases and expenditures. In each issue,
OSF editors will provide an industry expert
to give you the insight on how to ask the
"right questions" for product and service
purchases for your facility. This won't make
you an expert, but will give you the
knowledge to ask those right questions
when you are in the purchase mode. Send
your specific topic requests and questions
to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and
we’ll get you an expert answer.
ONSITE FITNESS: There’s a lot to take into account when
introducing a Pilates program to your facility. What would you tell a
facility manager to consider when is contemplating introducing Pilates
into their organization?
PILATES EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS: There are a number of
questions that you need to ask yourself, and these questions need to
be answered in an initial investigation phase, well before you begin to
set up the program.
At the outset, you’ll need to figure out whether there is an
interest among your membership for starting a
Pilates Program at your facility. It’s a good
idea to explain what you
envision and poll your
the program is
something they would participate
in. If there is indeed interest expressed, then
you may want to put together a brief business plan that
answers a lot of fundamental questions, such as:
- How much floor space will we need to devote to Pilates? You’ll have
to examine where you have floor space that can be available to
commit to Pilates and, since it is a “mind-body” exercise, that area
needs to be in a place where members can dedicate their focus solely
to their movements without distraction. You also need to determine
whether you’ll conduct classes with mats or whether you can add
equipment. A typical Reformer, for instance, requires 60 square feet
of floor space, so if you do not have a dedicated Pilates equipment
room, you’ll need to have an area to store the machines between classes.
- What type of programming will we offer? Many facilities start with
free mat classes and then may later transition into fee-based Reformer
classes. But remember that just because mat work is used as an
introductory class, it is not an introductory form of exercise. In fact,
mat work is actually harder than Reformer work, as there is less assisted
resistance. It could be that you’ll decide that your facility will continue
with mat classes only and it’s best to get a feel from
participants as to whether you need to progress to classes where more
equipment is utilized.
- Where will I get my instructors? Much like other types of group exercise, Pilates must have a certified instructor present during the class and an
enthusiastic and a knowledgeable instructor can make the difference in the
success of the program. You’ll need to decide whether you want to obtain
training for some people that you have on your existing staff or whether you
want to hire outside instructors who have already been trained. There are
pros and cons to both, but you’ll want to find someone who has good fitness
knowledge, enthusiasm for the program and continued involvement with it.
The quality of the Pilates trainers can have a great affect on the
participation levels in the program so the importance of the selection of
these individuals cannot be overstated.
- What kind of equipment will I need? If you’ve determined that you have
enough space to utilize equipment, then you’ll need to decide which types
are best for your classes, assuming that you don’t want to go the route of
simply utilizing Pilates for personal training, which is an option as well.
Remember, unlike most group exercise, Pilates equipment classes are taught
in small group sessions with typically only 4-6 participants per class.
Therefore you don’t need a large number of any single type of equipment.
At that point, it simply becomes a matter of how much you are willing or able
to invest. Keep in mind that the major Pilates equipment manufacturers do
have leasing plans available as well, which will minimize your initial
investment in the program.
OSF: What are the basic types of equipment for Pilates?
PILATES ES: Mat classes are typically performed in groups of 10-12 and
are similar to yoga, with the difference being that the body is virtually in
constant motion in Pilates, rather than the assumption of various held
poses as in yoga. Mat classes may be done using only the body’s natural
resistance against the floor or a wall, or some small equipment can be
added to enhance the movements. A myriad of equipment can be
included are such devices as the Magic Circle, foam rollers, stability balls,
balance boards and foam cushions, all of which enhance mat routines.
Equipment classes utilize equipment that is available in a number of
different adaptations, but these are the basic pieces:
- The Reformer – the cornerstone of Pilates equipment, it provides a resistance
workout to a participant who lies, sits, kneels, or even stands on a free
- The Trapeze Table - or as it is often referred to, the Cadillac. This device
can allow for up to 200 individual exercises, as simple as assisted
motions, or as advanced as acrobatics by hanging from
its upper bars.
- The Barrel -
allows you to do core stretching
and flexibility moves, and the Ladder Barrel
enhances this by allowing you to adjust your footing to create
a more challenging angle.
- The Chair – it’s built with resistance pedals that you press down on while
performing series of demanding stretching exercises that build strength in
the legs and the shoulders.
OSF: You mention certified instructors. Where can I get my
instructors certified and trained?
PILATES ES: The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) is a non-profit
organization that provides the only nationally recognized certification
exam for Pilates and has been doing so since 2005. While not all
instructors that you have on site need to be certified, the PMA
recommends that at least one certified instructor be on staff and
present while Pilates programs are being taught.
All of the major manufacturers of Pilates equipment offer instructor
training, either through licensed training facilities or through host
facilities that sponsor a visit from a certified master trainer in Pilates.
There are also a number of companies in the market who will train Pilates
instructors in specific methodologies, either as a form of
continuing education, or to prepare instructors for certification. These
trainers instruct on anything from the classical “contrology” originally
taught by Joseph Pilates in his studio in the first half of the last century,
to methods based on his teachings, but adding more contemporary
updates that takes into account modern scientific research on
biomechanics that was simply unavailable in his day.
OSF: Pilates is still a foreign concept to many people who go to our
facilities. Since most are not that familiar with the activities, how best do
you present the concept to them and then encourage them to regularly
PILATES ES: Pilates can be introduced in a number of ways, but it’s
important to have a champion of the program within your organization.
Whether that’s someone that you’ve hired from outside to lead classes or
a newly trained personal trainer is unimportant, as long as it’s someone
with a vested interest in the program, is charged with making the program
run smoothly, can creatively adapt programs to individual needs, and has
strong organizational and leadership skills.
One excellent way to bring in new participants is to tailor programming
to the unique demographics that already exist in your facility. Pilates
exercises are very versatile and can be modified to meet a variety of
these demographics. For instance, programs can be easily customized to
meet the needs of expectant mothers, the aging populations or
any number other groups that exist within your membership.
It can also be introduced to members who are interested
in sports-specific training, with programming that can
be part of an overall conditioning program for
golf, tennis, cycling or any number of other
Survey your members about what they are
interested in and then figure out ways to
create Pilates programs to complement
PILATES EDUCATION & CERTIFICATION:
There are currently two predominant philosophies
when it comes to Pilates education. One is the
classical approach based on the original teachings
and equipment designed by Joseph Pilates. The
other is a contemporary approach that
takes into consideration modern
scientific research to
supplement the classical
programs meld the two
BALANCED BODY University (BBU), the training division of Balanced Body Inc.,
has created a curriculum where both approaches are featured as well as
blended together based on a current understanding of human biomechanics.
The result is an educational offering where instructors can customize
programs easily and effectively for all types of clients and members- from the
post-rehab client, to the serious fitness buffs and athletes.
The instructor training classes are modular in format with easy-to-manage
segments. Instructors can begin teaching what they learned as soon as
the weekend is over. This allows your program to get started quickly and
grow at the pace that best suits a center’s needs. BBU offers Quarterly
Updates on CD-ROM providing relevant and topical programming
information to keep their classes fresh and interesting.
PEAK PILATES educational workshops and certification programs are
grounded in the classical Pilates method and emphasize an
integrated and systematic approach for a balanced
Their certification programs focus on professional
development with a proprietary coaching/training
model. Continuing education workshops are
open to Pilates and fitness professionals, as well
as enthusiasts. All
offered through a
individuals to progress at
their own pace and all
STOTT PILATES is a contemporary approach to the original exercise method
pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates. Developed in collaboration with physical
therapists and sports medicine professionals, the repertoire consists of more
than 500 systematic, mind-body exercises that can be performed on a mat or
specialized equipment pieces. Their Education Department continues to
develop and refine the method to ensure that it is practical, relevant and in
line with the latest exercise science research.
STOTT PILATES training and certification programs are available at
numerous locations worldwide offering more than 12 programs
depending on background or area of interest.
With over 30 years in business and 17 U.S. patents, Balanced Body
equipment accommodates a wide range of body types, is easy to use,
ergonomic, quiet, durable and offers some of the finest wood
- The Pilates Allegro® Reformer was specifically designed particularly those
who may be short on floor space.
- The Allegro is a full featured Pilates Reformer that is light enough for one
person to move, and can be easily stored by stacking one on top of another
or by standing them on end.
- The Tower of Power™ can be easily added to an Allegro, expanding
programming versatility by giving you the capability of a Reformer, a
half-trapeze and a mat - all in the same compact footprint.
- The Allegro Sport™ Reformer is a simpler version of our Allegro System.
The Sport is also a full-featured Reformer with a minimal storage footprint.
Balanced Body provides consultations on Pilates business planning,
programming strategies, education, facility layout, marketing, return on
investment models and more.
- Reformer Frame is constructed of solid premium white Oak, with flawless
mortise & tenon joinery.
- Carriage is constructed from a multi-core, 13-ply Baltic Birch with reinforced
cross bracing for rigid stability.
- Foam Padding is an Olympic grade athletic foam. This material will last 3
times as long as other foam padding, minimizing costly re-upholstery.
- 4-Gear Position System (incorporates our proprietary "Negative Gear"), along
with our 3-Way Adjustable Foot Bar (optional) effectively expands your
range of work to accommodate all heights, body types and ranges of hip and
STOTT PILATES equipment offers unique features including:
- Exclusive whisper-smooth, patented rolling mechanism on all reformers
- Our reformers have a 6-carriage-stop versus 4-carriage stop
- Higher carriage heights make it easier to mount and dismount reformers
- All STOTT PILATES reformers can be ordered with an additional six inches
of length to the supporting rails and carriage to accommodate people taller
- Limited lifetime warranty on all large equipment including reformers and
- The SPX™ Reformer, developed for clubs with limited or
multi-purpose space, is lightweight and portable without compromising
quality and strength.