Cross-Training: Pilates

I just had a terrible experience.

Normally, I am very picky about who I will take classes with – and by this I mean any kind of dance or fitness class. I want teachers who understand the body, safe movement, etc, as well as teachers who explain what they want and lead the class clearly. Unfortunately, I have limited funds right now and mostly limit my non-dance activity to workouts and classes that are included in my gym membership. I just can’t afford to take a Real Yoga Class or a Real Pilates Class, from someone who is certified and truly good at what they do.

My gym membership is a compromise. For the same price I could only take about two good classes a month – instead, I can take an unlimited number of mediocre classes. I have identified some very competent teachers at my gym, but sometimes I find myself wanting to scream at the teacher. I end up modifying movements for my safety. I know my body well enough to do this, but I worry for the students in the class – and I know that there are probably things I am missing.

Last night I found the worst offender. He was substituting for the regular pilates teacher at my gym. I got worried right away when he did a releve onto a sickled foot. Bad sign! It got worse. We went right into ab work, and in the second exercise he led the class into plow pose. If you followed that link, you will see all of the advice and cautions – this instructor gave none of those. He said that the plow pose was optional, but almost no one opted out. He also gave NO instruction aside from his demonstration. The offenses continued throughout the class, ranging from bad instruction (incomplete/lazy demonstrations and acting completely disengaged) to bad pilates (going too quickly through what should be slow, precise movements) to no concern for safety (leading movements that could cause damage to joints, muscles, etc without cautioning us).

I have already sent a very disapproving message to the gym and personally blacklisted the instructor, but I remain undecided about what else to do. This is a wake-up call of sorts, a reminder that I would rather be training with certified yoga and pilates instructors. I know I would never train with a dance instructor who had received perhaps a weekend of lackluster training; why do I think it is acceptable to do so with other activities? Ugh…


3 thoughts on “Cross-Training: Pilates

  1. On one side I am relieved that this wasn’t a post about < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Tangolates<>, but on the other side it is always distressing to hear of incompetents being set loose on the public.

  2. Saludos from Buenos Aires!I sure do hear you!Last year I fell off the reformer and broke two ribs! It was the day after Christmas and we had a substitute instructor, and although I was tired and distracted and blame my own carelessness, still I can’t help but feel if the regular instructor had been there it wouldn’t have happened. That she would have paid more attention or not given us that particular exercise, which proved to be dangerous, at least to me.Anyway, we can’t be too careful who we’re taking instructions from when it comes to our only body.

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