How to help others to improve their physique

As a Pilates teacher you would help clients to change and improve their body strength and posture.

You would do this by teaching stretching and conditioning exercises based on eight basic principles:

l relaxation

l coordination

l alignment

l stamina

l concentration

l centring

l breathing

l flowing movement.

As a Pilates teacher you would:

l work with clients either one to one or in groups of between four and 12

l use your understanding of human anatomy to design exercise sequences that suit the needs and abilities of each client

l teach exercises which are done on a mat or using specialist equipment

l break down exercises to help clients to establish good movement skills as a basis for progressing to more complex sequences

l use exercises to target problem areas.

By teaching clients to be in control of their bodies, you would also help them to handle stress more effectively and relax more easily.

You would need a very flexible approach to working hours, as weekend and evening work is common.

You would work in a studio that focuses on creating a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere.

Some travel may be involved, especially if you are a freelance Pilates teacher.

There are no set salary rates for Pilates teachers.

Many are self-employed and income varies depending on the number of clients and the tutor’s reputation.

You will need to have a background in exercise, movement or a related physical therapy, or have been attending regular Pilates classes – this is considered within the Pilates field as the foundation to becoming a Pilates teacher.

You can train with several organisations within the Pilates industry.

Doing a fitness instructing course which helps you to gain entry to the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), also known as the ‘Exercise Register’, will improve your chances of employment.

REPs has been set up to help safeguard the health and interests of people who are using the services of exercise and fitness instructors, teachers and trainers.

Membership will show clients that you have an industry-based qualification and practical competency, and that you work within a Code of Practice.

See the REPs website for details.

To be considered fully qualified as a Pilates teacher you will then need to do further training.

Specialist Pilates organisations provide professional membership schemes which promote and support Pilates practitioners, and expect them to meet certain teaching standards, and follow an established code of practice.

Each organisation is different, but they generally suggest that further training should be in the form of a part-time teacher training diploma course. These take between 12 and 18 months to complete.

At present you can join REPs as a level 3 Pilates instructor with a CYQ Level 3 Certificate in Teaching Mat Pilates, an OCR Level 3 Certificate in Pilates or Body Control Pilates teaching qualifications. See the REPs website for details.

Before starting work as a Pilates teacher you need appropriate insurance cover and a certificate in CPR.