There is no average number of exercises in any Pilates class but expect a range of between 3 and 20 exercises per session. Effective Pilates instructors will help you establish your goals and understand what you want to achieve from regular sessions. The goals will influence the choices of exercises and execution. Other considerations that determine how many Pilates exercises are guided during your session will be your current physical fitness levels and posture. The choice and number of exercises will depend on the equipment being used, expect to see a larger number of exercises in a Pilates mat class and fewer in a Pilates studio equipment or Pilates reformer class. Whilst these may be more obvious reasons that influence the number of Pilates exercises in a Pilates class, a senior instructor will also consider your commitment to an exercise session and your learning style and preferences.
A good instructor will focus their attention on you and respond not only to your physical goals but also your style of learning and instincts. Some of us enjoy technical detail, and precision. Some of us enjoy learning through repetition. Some of us need constant changes and differences. Your instructor should assess your preferences and the choice, and selection of exercises will partially reflect this. If you are an auditory learner you might prefer your instructor to give verbal instruction, a visual learner you might prefer to see a demonstration of the exercise first, and if you are a kinaesthetic learner you may prefer to “just do it” and respond to the Pilates instructor physically. Your Pilates instructor has a duty of care to ensure the choice of exercises are appropriate and safe, and they also have a responsibility to keep you engaged and motivated by understanding your learning style, goals, objectives and preferences.
The number of exercises should not influence the structure of the session or the range. It is important that every session relates to functional movement, moves between lying down positions (prone) such as on the Pilates Reformer or Pilates Mat to a vertical standing position. The range and choice of exercises should use opposing muscle groups to avoid muscular imbalance or over training (a ratio of 7:3 is sometimes used), and there should be a balance between large whole body complex movements and isolation of movement using small simple controlled exercises.
Your input is also important to develop effective understanding between yourself and the Pilates instructor. To get the most out of any Pilates session take the time to discuss with your Pilates instructor your preferences, how you are feeling, any changes, and what you would like to gain from the session. Give your instructor some trust in their decision making, and respond to them. The good instructor will share qualities common to all good performance coaches – a focus on you, honesty (a balance between positive encouragement and honest feedback), consistency, creativity, and will also respect, care and be interested in you to ensure you get the best out of your Pilates.
So best results are not quantifiable by the number of exercises alone, as you progress through a Pilates training programme where advanced and progressively more difficult exercises are introduced you may even find you do less exercises not more. Dynamic results are obtained from the best coaching and exercise guidance you can find, keep practicing at home and keep getting feedback from a senior level instructor.
Author: Celia Carron, Director of Little Venice Pilates
For examples of exercises please see Little Venice Pilates You Tube Channel
For senior instructed classes please in Maida Vale, London W9 please contact us on 0207 286 5000 or visit our contact page.