top of page

Teaching Pilates Reformer with no knowledge of the Matwork : Is It Possible?

Instructor guides diverse class through reformer exercises
Pilates teacher leading a dynamic group reformer session

The Pilates landscape is witnessing a significant shift, propelled by a global trend that has seen a pronounced surge in the UK: the widespread popularity of Group Reformer Pilates. This trend, while expanding the reach of Pilates, has sparked an important conversation within our professional community regarding the depth of knowledge and understanding among those teaching these classes. Amidst this evolving backdrop, a crucial question arises: Is it possible to effectively teach Pilates Reformer classes without a foundational knowledge of Pilates mat work?

The Rise of Group Reformer Classes: A Global Phenomenon with Local Impact

The global enthusiasm for Group Reformer Pilates has found a robust foothold in the UK, bringing with it an influx of new studios and instructors. This trend reflects a growing interest in Pilates as a form of exercise that promises both fitness and wellness benefits. However, it also highlights a potential gap in the educational foundation of some instructors. With Group Reformer classes becoming a mainstay in the fitness offerings across the country, the distinction between teaching the exercises and understanding the underlying method becomes increasingly significant.

Understanding the Method: The Essence of Pilates Education

In the Pilates industry, there's a vital distinction between instructors and teachers. Instructors may be proficient in demonstrating and leading exercises on the Reformer, catering to the physical execution of the movements. Teachers, however, embody a deeper understanding of the Pilates method, integrating the foundational principles of control, breath, precision, and flow into their practice and instruction. This nuanced understanding underscores the importance of mat work in Pilates training, serving as the bedrock upon which the comprehensive Pilates method is built.

The Scope of Practice: EMDUK's Role in Defining Professional Standards

In response to the evolving landscape of group exercise, including Group Reformer Pilates, EMDUK (Exercise, Move, Dance UK), the governing body for group exercise in the UK, has released a Scope of Practice. This document provides invaluable guidelines for teachers, outlining the expectations and standards for professional practice. It serves as a critical resource for ensuring that instructors moving into the realm of teaching Pilates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, highlighting the importance of a well-rounded education that encompasses both Reformer and mat work.

Bridging the Gap: The Importance of Comprehensive Training

The phrase "you know what you know, but you don't know what you don't know" resonates profoundly within our industry. It speaks to the gap that can exist in the understanding of some instructors who may be skilled at teaching Reformer exercises but lack a grounding in the comprehensive Pilates method that mat work provides. This gap is not a reflection of the instructors' dedication or intent; many are passionate and committed to their practice and teaching. However, it underscores the need for a more holistic approach to Pilates education, where understanding the method's full scope is paramount.

Towards a More Informed Pilates Community

As we navigate this global trend and its impact on the Pilates community in the UK, it's essential to foster an environment of learning and growth. Encouraging instructors to deepen their understanding of Pilates beyond the Reformer, to include the foundational mat work, can enhance the quality of teaching and the overall experience for participants. By doing so, we not only uphold the integrity of the Pilates method but also enrich our community with teachers who are fully versed in the principles that make Pilates a unique and transformative practice.

In conclusion, while the trend towards Group Reformer classes continues to gain momentum, the importance of a comprehensive understanding of the Pilates method, including both Reformer and mat work, remains a cornerstone of professional and effective teaching. As a community, our goal should be to embrace this trend while advocating for education that ensures all Pilates teachers are well-equipped to guide their students through a holistic Pilates journey.


bottom of page