FAQ: GROUP CLASSES VERSUS PRIVATE SESSIONS

One of the most common questions I am asked by prospective clients is whether it is better to begin Pilates training with group classes or private sessions. Following are a few things to consider:

The first is safety. If you have never had any Pilates training, particularly if you have been away from the fitness game for a while, or if you have any physical issues, then I would advise to begin, if possible, with at least a few privates, so that exercises can be omitted or modified as needed to accommodate your level of fitness.

The second point to consider is which scenario would offer the greatest reward and opportunity for success. I often hear from people who have tried open drop-in Pilates classes, having heard many positive claims about the benefits of Pilates, only to walk out of the class feeling discouraged. Their complaints range from experiencing neck and back strain to feeling confused or lost during much of the class. This can happen even in a class that is posted as Beginner level. (read Springs Studio criteria for joining groups and semi-private classes)

BENEFITS OF PRIVATE SESSIONS

Private sessions offer a very different experience:

•   They are more appropriate for a client who has special needs or who is recovering from an injury

•   Exercises can be modified or omitted as needed

•   They can move at a pace that is appropriate for a specific client

•   They can result in greater and faster progress

BENEFITS OF GROUP CLASSES

There are many reasons why a healthy individual, particularly one who has previously had some Pilates training, would choose a group class over private sessions.

Group classes can provide:

•   A more affordable workout option

•   The stimulation and energy of working in a group

•   Comradery and support from the other participants

•   The challenge and push of working and keeping up with other equally fit participants

It is important to decide whether you would feel more invigorated and challenged by being part of a group, or if you would prefer the comfort level and personal attention of private sessions.

Once you have decided to try a group class, the next step is choosing the right class for you. Two things to consider that often indicate how effective a class will be are:

•   The size of the class – For best results, the class should be small enough to allow the instructor to monitor each participant.

•   The compatibility of the participants in the class – The participants should be close in level, so that no one feels lost or unable to follow at a pace that is too fast, or feels held back by a pace that is too slow.

Generally speaking I recommend beginning with a few privates, see how you do, and go from there. Your instructor can advise whether or not you can be brought up to speed enough to join a group.

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