Pilates Instructor Training: Online Or On-Site?

Pilates Instructor Training: Online Or On-Site?

In this episode of the Pilates Business Podcast Clinical Pilates Instructor Series, your host David Gunther discusses the specifics of the clinical Pilates studio Pilates Can, and how they can help people with mobility, strength, flexibility issues or multiple conditions.

David underscores the rewarding aspect of solving these health problems for clients on a daily basis, thanks to their highly trained clinical Pilates instructors, and approach of personalised sessions.

We also cover the role of clinical Pilates in the fitness industry, emphasising the value of personalisation and specific training. Insights are offered on how one can transition to being a clinical Pilates instructor. Details are provided about an upcoming course in Canberra organised by Polestar, and opportunities to work in clinical Pilates studio environments.

Don’t miss out on this latest, or any, episode of “The Pilates Business Podcast”.

Show notes

  • [00:00:00] Introduction to the Podcast
  • [00:00:25] Understanding Clinical Pilates
  • [00:02:20] The Role of Instructors in Clinical Pilates
  • [00:02:35] The Journey of a Client in Clinical Pilates
  • [00:04:00] The Benefits of Clinical Pilates for Instructors
  • [00:06:12] The Importance of Onsite Training
  • [00:07:46] Opportunities at Pilates Can
  • [00:08:26] The Culture and Experience at Pilates Can
  • [00:09:15] The Challenges and Rewards of the Pilates Course
  • [00:09:36] Defining the Pilates Industry
  • [00:09:56] The Variety of Services at Pilates Can
  • [00:10:40] Conclusion and Preview of Next Episode

"There's a lot of satisfaction in helping to solve those problems with clients and for clients. They may have injuries and multiple conditions impacting their life negatively, and if we can help them with that then it really does make a difference to their life."                                                               David Gunther - The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra

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Episode Resources

Episode Transcript

DAVID GUNTHER: Welcome back to The Pilates Business Podcast. We hope you really enjoyed the last episode about what happened in 2023 with the studio we sold, and the exploding interest rates. Our first two episodes could be paraphrased with: "how do you create a successful clinical Pilates studio? Well, start by spending 20 years building up two successful studios, then add COVID."

But seriously, we love what we do with our clinical Pilates studio, so episode three will be about clinical Pilates. If you're wondering if you fit into that, we'll come up with a little definition, and also we'll talk about our instructors and how important it is to have people with specific clinical Pilates training and experience. We can't do what we do without fantastic instructors. Find out about that important link by listening to this episode of the rebooted Pilates Business Podcast and stay awesome.

Clinical Pilates studios work primarily in private and semi-private sessions with clients who are needing personalised attention. Semi-private sessions are, really, our core business at Pilates Can. Usually those clients have mobility, strength and flexibility issues that need problem solving, so we have to become very good at that problem solving.

There's a lot of satisfaction in helping to solve those problems with clients and for clients. They may have injuries and multiple conditions impacting their life negatively, and if we can help them with that then it really does make a difference to their life. One of the things that we really enjoy as instructors in the clinical Pilates industry, is getting that thanks every day for something very important and substantial that we're able to bring to the scenario, bring to the relationship with our clients.

Those clients are people that really benefit from the use of the large Pilates equipment, and that personalised programming and that personalisation is really the difference between clinical Pilates, and perhaps other sorts of larger group Pilates that certainly does have a place in the fitness wellbeing industry. As you can imagine, if you do own a, clinical Pilates studio, you need to have clinical Pilates instructors with the specific training and experience to help people with those injuries and those conditions solve those problems.

Typically, a prospective client will contact us at Pilates Can thinking: 'is this Pilates for me or not? I've got this mobility issue, this strength issue, this injury or condition.' They may have been referred by a friend, or by an allied health practitioner - a physiotherapist or somebody of that nature. We'll recommend for them to do a couple of one hour private sessions. Depending on the type of condition or injury, it might be with one of our senior instructors or perhaps one of our instructors who has less than 5,000 or 10,000 hours of professional clinical Pilates delivery. They'll come in and they'll do those private sessions and the instructor will write a personalised program from there, which will then be updated in those semi-privates.

Now the semi-privates will have typically about three people per session. Our sessions are fairly full. We've been running for over 20 years, so we have quite a number of full sessions. We have a maximum of four clients per semi-private session. Instructors that haven't been with the company for so long, perhaps being qualified only in recent years, they may only have two or three people in the session, but usually our senior instructors have that maximum of four booked.

The good thing about the fitness industry recognising Pilates and getting into Pilates in a big way with so many of these Pilates reformer studios opening up, is that there's many instructors out there that have done some training in Pilates. They might be instructing reformer classes, and there's certainly some very good skills involved with that. That can be then progressed - if instructors are interested, if they see that as a progression for their career - towards this clinical Pilates, where they have the opportunity to get the satisfaction that we get every day, from clients that are so very thankful that we can help them really change their lives, their mobility, and help them to do the things that they really want to do.

It could be lifting the grandchildren, playing around of golf, or being able to ride a bike, that they couldn't do prior to being able to address their mobility issues through clinical Pilates. That's certainly an opportunity for clinical Pilates studios and for Pilates instructors generally. If you're out there listening to this podcast and thinking 'what's the relevance to me? I teach Pilates in a studio reformer environment.' That's fine, that's fantastic. At some time (it may not be now, but sometime in the future), you might think about how good it might be to work in the clinical Pilates studio environment that we work in every day.

And if you are one of those instructors, or indeed, if you have no Pilates instruction experience or professional qualifications already, there is a course coming up in March in Canberra, the studio rehab course. It's the best course that we've come across. That's why we use the Polestar course providers, educators and system. If you're not in Canberra, then there are courses right around Australia in the capital cities, as well as internationally. It's a very well-supported course. There's a lot of live content in the studio, which is really important.

I often draw the analogy between learning to be a plumber, and being a plumber. If you're going to learn to be a plumber, it's best to be on site. Best to be handling the pipes and digging the holes in the trenches, rather than looking at it online. It's going to be a bit of a big step to go onsite, if you haven't done that already in your training.

The other example would be a soccer coach. It's probably very difficult to be a soccer coach if you haven't played soccer, if you haven't really been involved at the coalface with what it takes to make a good pass, create a good formation, and to solve those problems in soccer (unless, of course, you're Ted Lasso, one of my favourite shows). But, if you don't have the support of fantasy, then it's a very good idea to get that onsite involvement of how to solve those problems. They are significant and important problems, and if you don't have that experience onsite, you will be caught out.

We've got the problems in Pilates, dealing with clients that are perhaps in pain, working with other instructors with some team-teaching. That's a big advantage to you in a studio Pilates environment, where you can leverage off the tremendous experience, sometimes 20 years worth of experience, of helping clients through these points of difficulty and creating solutions for these problems. The Polestar course starts in March If you're keen for that, you better check it out soon on our website. All of the links will be there for our Pilates Can website, and the Polestar site ( the government recognised course provider).

At Pilates Can, we also provide internships for Pilates instructor students. We provide lots of valuable mentoring, and guaranteed work with our studios if you are one of the interns that come through the Polestar course. Many of our staff at Pilates Can have come through that path, or a very similar path to that. Of course, as we mentioned, we're very clinically focused. We have a social and fun environment for the whole body Pilates experience, and we do that because it does help with results. It's a culture in our studio, and amongst our people. The atmosphere is just very encouraging and welcoming. Apart from that, you'll be accessing the experience of over 80,000 hours of professional Pilates delivery if you are involved with our team through the course.

We'd love to talk with you about that if you're interested, and you feel that you might have that as a possible direction in your life or in your career. You'll certainly be helping a lot of people, and getting that satisfaction. It's not easy. It's quite a difficult course to undertake, to get all of the technical elements under control, and all of that learning in your body, as well as help clients to do what they need to do. I can very highly recommend the course and, yes, we'd love to talk to you about that.

All right. It's been a very short episode, but very important episode to define what we do. There's probably other definitions, but that's our definition of the way we see ourselves in the industry, the way we see the industry, and the delineation between Pilates studios that are clinical Pilates studios, reformer studios, and then mat work. We also do provide mat work, but in a very small class situation. We have a hybrid where we have some people still online, and people in the studio. A maximum of just six in the studio, so that we can still give a degree of personalised attention. Not the same as semi-privates or privates, definitely more of a group situation, but with instructors that have that clinical focus there as well. Who are looking, in some cases, to progress the clients on to the semi-private sessions or vice versa.

The clients might be in semi-private sessions and looking to add some other Pilates with the mat work Pilates that we also offer in the studio. So we'll call it a day there for this episode. Important episode, short episode.

And our next episode will be about search engine optimisation (SEO), and how you do the technical side. How you bring the art of knowing what your business is about and who your audience is, who your clientele are, to that very important web page of yours. Looking forward to talking with you again, and, until then, Stay awesome.

"Those clients are people that really benefit from the use of the large Pilates equipment and that personalised programming, and that personalisation is really the difference between clinical Pilates, and perhaps other sorts of larger group Pilates."                                                                               David Gunther - The Pilates Business Podcast, and Co-owner & Instructor Pilates Can, Canberra

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