Pilates has grown exponentially over the past decade in and around the club scene – fulfilling the needs
of regular exercisers, athletes, rehab clients and even children. Basically anyone who desires a leaner, stronger,
healthier body for a lifetime can participate in Pilates. Fitness facilities everywhere are taking note.
According to the 2007 IDEA Fitness Programs and Equipment Survey, 68 percent of facilities surveyed have Pilates as
one of their program offerings. This is a 49 percent increase from when IDEA first started tracking Pilates back in
1999. As a result, most clubs are rigorously trying to incorporate Pilates classes into their regular programming
– often by only scratching the surface with basic training and equipment. However, for those clubs wanting
to incorporate Pilates programming into their facility – there’s more to this form of exercise than
Pilates is not just a bunch of exercises you can do on a mat. The true basis of Pilates is the piece of equipment
called the Reformer. The Reformer is generally the first piece of equipment that Pilates instructors and enthusiasts
gravitate toward for a stellar, body-sculpting workout. This machine is unlike the typical Stair Climber, Bike, or
Treadmill – it’s designed to leverage specific Pilates movements to improve the overall mind and body
connection.It also helps exercisers develop lean muscles overall, without adding bulk.
One of the biggest barriers to club members getting in shape is that they are often intimidated by the equipment.
You see these people wondering around the facility aimlessly – wanting to approach certain pieces of
equipment, but not knowing the first thing to do once they get there. This creates a huge problem for club owners
trying to incorporate wellrounded Pilates programming because members are simply not using the equipment.
Ironically, it’s often the club that hasn’t marketed, trained or informed their members of the
benefits of Pilates equipment. It’s up to the facility owners and general managers to learn about the
appropriate training and equipment necessary to run a quality Pilates program.
THE REFORMER ROAD MAP
Most clubs are already familiar with the benefits of Pilates and that’s why they’ve decided to
incorporate this popular form of exercise into their program offerings. The first strategy is to treat Pilates
equipment like any other piece of large equipment you’d consider buying for your club. Research all that you
can about the various manufacturers and the benefits of the apparatus. Talk to other club owners about what they have
in their facility and what their members like. Ask your fellow instructors and even club members what they like.
Talk to the manufacturer of choice and find out the various features and diff erent programming options available
for each piece of equipment. Are certain pieces of Pilates equipment all-encompassing? Are they for all fitness
enthusiasts of all ages and abilities? Do you need to purchase several pieces in order to satisfy all your
members’ needs? Do you have limited space available? What are your options if you want to incorporate a
well-rounded Pilates program? When you’ve answered these questions, you’re on your way to determining
the right Pilates equipment for your facility’s needs.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
The Reformer is the first piece of equipment for anyone serious about Pilates. Depending on which type of
Reformer(s) you choose, your clients will benefit in different ways. For instance, the Rehab Reformer is higher
off the ground and therefore accessible for older clients and sports rehab; the Professional Reformer is ideal for
all client types and suitable for both in-club and boutique Pilates studios; the Rack & Roll® Reformer is
easily stacked and stored; and the SPX™ Reformer is lightweight and very economical. So again, it depends on
what your needs are to run your business. But either way you look at it, Reformer training is essential for
reinforcing proper form and function, and can help with rehab and sports conditioning, as well as cross training
THE THRILL OF THE RIDE
Nothing in life comes easy – and the same holds true for Pilates workouts. After your members use the reformer
a few times, they will notice a diff erence. Those passionate about Pilates also quickly learn that when you are
successfully working your core muscles, you become more aware of what you put in your body, thus your diet improves
along with the fi tness gains you experience.
Pilates is a kinder, gentler exercise for your body with all of the benefi ts of strength training. No matter what
age, fitness ability or goal – there’s not one club member that can’t reap the benefits of
reformer training. Pilates makes your whole body feel great without the aches and pains of higher impact exercise.
Once you have successfully implemented your Pilates program for your facility, it is important to create an education
road map that will evolve over time and provide your Pilates professionals with the necessary tools to coach and
involve all of the special populations your facility caters to.
Things to remember when seeking quality Pilates equipment and instructors:
- Does the equipment allow instructors to teach to seasoned citizens and active adults to help emulate the
movements of daily life?
- Are you off ering Injury Prevention classes or Sports Conditioning classes on your schedule that will
increase athlete participation?
- Is the “STUD” of the club involved in your program? This will be sure to increase awareness
of Pilates with the men at your facility.
- Do your instructors provide simple, achievable goals to your members so that they can be achieved in the
first three initial sessions, in order for repeat to occur?
- Do your instructors draw upon parallels between regular fitness activities and movements on the Reformer?
By offering quality Pilates Reformer classes as well as diverse programming in your facility, you will be able
to offer your members a timeless activity that bonds them to your facility. Doesn’t everyone want a method
of exercise that provides true results? Pilates is for everyone and your “Pilates Champions” must
have the knowledge base, and equipment, necessary to orchestrate superior training programming.