Frequently Asked Questions : The Pilates Alliance of Australasia

How much does it cost to do Pilates?

Costs of Pilates sessions vary from studio to studio depending on your location and requirement. As a guideline:

  • Initial assessment of one-hour can vary from $85 to $140.
  • A private session of one-hour can cost between $75 and $120 and this may vary depending on the level of instructor taking the session.
  • For apparatus sessions 2:1 you could expect to pay between $60 and $80.
  • For apparatus sessions 3:1 you could expect to pay between $50 and $60.
  • For apparatus sessions 4:1 you could expect to pay between $40 and $50.
  • For a mat class 20:1 or less, you could expect to pay between $20 and $28.

How do I choose a Pilates Instructor or Pilates Studio?

Pilates is an exercise program based on a set of universal principles and concepts involving the integration of mind and body. It can invigorate, rehabilitate and strengthen the body, creating a feeling of wellbeing and health that enhances everyday life.

There are varying approaches, or styles, within the Pilates Method that are equally valid and relevant to the individual. Be open to trying different approaches to find the one that works for your personal needs and requirements.

Ensure your instructor holds full membership with the PAA and that the studio is a registered studio with the PAA.

Proof of membership or registration, evidenced by a certificate, shows the studio and its instructors have met the following criteria:

  • Graduation from a recognised training organisation.
  • Undertakes ongoing professional development education to ensure currency and standard of knowledge.
  • Holds current ‘Apply First Aid’ certificate as well as professional insurance and indemnity.
  • They pledge to undertake professional conduct in line with the PAA Code of Practice.

The complete Pilates studio must include all listed equipment consistent with approved training courses delivered by registered training organisations.

The complete Pilates studio offers matwork classes, including small apparatus, as well as classes on the reformer, trapeze table, wunda chair and barrels.

Pilates can be practised in:

  • A group class environment (class size should be a maximum of 12:1 for matwork with a Level 1 instructor and a maximum of 20:1 for a Level 2 or above instructor).
  • Different levels of classes should be offered to cater for both new and experienced participants.
  • The instructor(s) walk around and correct technique.
  • A controlled ratio of client to instructor in a semi-private session (maximum 4:1 ratio).
  • A private (individual) or duet session.
  • The initial session should involve a health screening to ensure the safety of the participant.
  • An initial assessment for any studio equipment work is required to ensure the health and wellbeing of the client.
  • The program must address the specific needs and ability of the client.
  • All sessions should be 50-60 minutes in duration (unless otherwise stated).

I use Pilates books and videos at home, would it be better for me to take lessons at a Pilates Studio or Health Club?

There are indeed many great Pilates books and DVDs available to the general public. The principals of Pilates are quite specific and the focus is to develop dynamic core control with correct body and limb alignment. It is important to ensure that one understands the principals correctly, understands the types of exercises that may be precautionary to ones body type and is executing the movements correctly.

A qualified instructor is specifically educated in postural assessment and in the teaching and correcting of exercises through tactile, kinaesthetic and imagery cuing.

Books and exercises are a good back-up resource for a maintenance program at home when you are unable to attend class. However, to achieve maximum results and prevent injury through correct execution, supervised sessions are highly recommended.

How do I know if my Pilates instructor is a qualified teacher?

An instructor should have their authentic certificate of qualification on hand at the studio. Alternatively you may check the list of instructors on industry body websites, such as the Pilates Alliance of Australasia (PAA), The Pilates Method Alliance or the Australian Pilates Method Alliance. The latter two are not exclusive, as they only list those instructors who are members.

It is guaranteed that any instructor listed under the PAA have completed a certificate level of education through a registered training organisation and are competent in all aspects of theory and practice. Finally, all leading registered teaching organisations also list successful graduates on their individual websites.

View: Education Providers

How do I find a Pilates studio with qualified, well trained Pilates teachers?

When selecting a Pilates instructor or Pilates studio, it is important to look for a qualified Pilates instructor who is able to provide quality Pilates instruction in a safe environment. Enquire whether the Instructor is a FULL member and whether the studio is registered with Pilates Alliance (PAA).

Registration (evidenced by a certificate) will show that they have met the PAA criteria: How To Choose a Studio

I thought Pilates was just mat exercises?

Pilates Matwork is perhaps the better-known style of exercise as it is the most accessible in fitness centres and community groups. Matwork utilises small props and the resistance of gravity to work one’s body.

Pilates apparatus work utilises specifically designed Pilates equipment for exercise. Resistance or assistance to the exercise is provided by a variety of spring ranges. These may be adjusted accordingly, so that a body will achieve a positive and achievable movement experience.

Reformer Classes are choreographed one-hour sessions on reformers. These small group classes allow for the challenge of an apparatus style session but with the interaction of a group session.

What is the difference between using apparatus and just doing Matwork?

The apparatus allows for modification of exercise through the changing of springs and altering equipment setup. Due to the intricacies of the exercise, equipment sessions are often performed in small groups or in an individual setting where detailed corrections and adaptations to movement patterns are made. Programs may be prescribed to the individual’s needs and goals.

Matwork only requires a mat and at times small props, and is therefore more easily accessible. The focus is on movement of the body against gravity, and with increased complexity in choreography and continuity of exercise, this format can prove to be quite challenging when done correctly.

When working under a qualified instructor either format is graded and adapted to the participant’s ability.

My friends tell me that Pilates is just like Yoga. How do I explain the difference between these two exercise modalities?

Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools in Hindu philosophy. It is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and aims to use meditation to attain spiritual insight and tranquillity. We understand that Yoga focuses on flexibility and mobility.

Pilates focuses on the development of core control, stability and the creation of dynamic, functional total body movement. Through Pilates, one will develop postural strength and endurance as well as mobility and flexibility.

Through movement we also benefit and create efficiency in all systems of the body including vascular, respiratory, endocrine and digestive.

For the experienced Pilates practitioner, Pilates can be a very challenging, dynamic and powerful workout.

What are the benefits of Pilates training?

The development of core control, correct joint alignment, flexibility, postural strength, form and endurance as well as coordination and skill.

Beneath the surface, we gain improved breathing and therefore oxygenation of the cells, improved circulation, and digestion and lymphatic drainage.

I am healthy and fit, why should I add Pilates to my workout program?

Running and cycling provides us with aerobic fitness, weight training provides us with strength, dancing and aerobics provide us with coordination and swimming provides us with challenging non weight-bearing exercise.

To ensure correct execution of all of these and develop correct alignment and skill of acquisition, one needs to specifically exercise the deeper intrinsic group of muscles.

This helps to create a rounded exercise program and reduce the chance of injury, which may occur during ballistic forms of exercise.

I have health issues that limit my participation in regular exercise programs. Is it safe for me to do Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise that may be attempted by the young and old, the elite level mover or the novice, men and women, experienced movers or not so experienced. Pilates instructors have postural and movement pattern assessment skills and through this can provide an exercise program to suit any person who requires additional support, as well as to those who are seeking a stronger challenge in their workouts.

Why is Pilates so different from lifting weights for strength training?

Lifting weights for strength training, is to the large global prime mover muscle groups what Pilates is to the deeper intrinsic muscle groups. For correct body function we must have both groups working equally, in balance and succession. The structure of Pilates not only strengthens muscles, but also facilitates flexibility, joint mobility and improvement of the internal systems of the body.

How many days a week should I do Pilates?

If adding Pilates to an existing exercise program, 1 to 2 times a week is satisfactory. If Pilates is the only exercise you are doing, then 2 to 3 times a week is recommended.

What if my schedule won’t allow me to participate at least twice a week?

The principles of Pilates are designed to improve posture, alignment and execution of movement. We aim to create functionality with exercise so that one may take the new movement patterns into their daily routine.
Speak with your instructor to ensure that they provide a safe home based matwork program so that you may continue with your Pilates at home when you cannot attend the studio.

How quickly will I see results from my Pilates training?

As Joseph Pilates himself famously said

you will feel a change after 10 sessions, you will see a change after 20 sessions and you will have a new body after 30 sessions

We encourage participants to follow his lead: for further benefits, preventative care and to achieve the satisfaction and challenge of newfound skill.

Can all Physiotherapists teach Pilates?

Only if they have undertaken correct Pilates Method education and examination.

What Should One Expect when Commencing Pilates?

The Pilates Method is a specific form of rehabilitative exercise that is bound by a registration process and Codes of Ethics and Practice adhered to by both Studios and instructors.

The Initial Assessment

When embarking on a Pilates Program, one should undertake an Initial Assessment with their practitioner. This assessment will be one hour in length and a complete and subjective medical and fitness history is taken, as well as an objective fitness assessment or screening. This assessment is non-invasive and allows the practitioner to work with the client on identifying movement faults, strengths, weaknesses, goals and objectives and level of ability. This will ensure that the correct program of exercise is applied.
If attending a new studio, even after having attended Pilates elsewhere, it is in one’s best interest as well as being a legal obligation by that new studio, to complete an initial assessment to ensure that the correct program is developed for the individual.
Following the initial assessment, your instructor will determine your level of competency and decide the style of class most suited to your needs and ability. It may be necessary to complete a number of individual sessions in order to become to familiar with the principles of movement, to correct any faulty biomechanics that have been identified and to be introduced to the apparatus before transitioning to a more semi-supervised style of session. This is imperative to in order to ensure a safe and efficient execution of the Pilates Method.

What to Wear?

Wear comfortable clothing – neither too loose nor too tight.
Clean socks.
A small hand towel is recommended.
Water bottle.
Hair tied back.
Avoid dangling jewelry of any sort and;
Avoid wearing sharp jewelry as this may damage the equipment upholstery.