Modify...lets talk!

How to Modify Traditional Pilates using Precautions and Contraindications


As a Pilates Teacher sometimes we get those clients with issues that can be scary. In our Pilates teacher Training Programs they go over all those such as hip replacement, disc issues, knee and more but does it feel like for Pilates it takes away most the exercises for your Pilates teaching? Do you struggle teaching  Pilates to that client? Does it overwhelm you a bit with the Pilates exercises and the do’s and don’ts for them? Are you a newly Certified Pilates teacher that the thought of those clients with stenosis or spondlyothosis is enough to send you into a panic?



I remember after getting Certified and the moment the studio owner came to me and said: “ I have a new client for you that has severe Knee issues”. I must have looked like a deer in headlights and she just said: “you will figure it out!” I was in a panic. My first client with any type of contraindication! What if I broke them? I didn’t of course and I had to do major research as in Teacher Training, of course, we learned what not to do and I had the basics but, a real person was different than in a manual.



Overall my years of experience with different clients and issues I realized and you probably have as well that every single body is different, even when they have the same issue. They also are out there playing golf, tennis, picking up their kids or grandkids, walking, bending over to garden or pick something up, twisting to pick something up from behind or above. Movements for their contraindication is something we are told they can not do! Well, can we tell them hey! No more playing golf for you! I don’t know about your golf clients but, mine would be like uh..see ya later then!



Well, why not make them safe in their movement in the real world? What about giving them the tools to understand really moving in a way that supports and gives them the ability to do what they want or need to do out in the real world? I think that is the brilliance of Joseph Pilates work. You can! We can have them getting stronger and moving in a truly functional way for their body.



This workshop is one of my favorites to teach, which is funny considering how scared I was to train clients with issues when I started my Pilates journey. I created this 4-hour workshop with the Traditional work but, the “modifications” are for anyone teaching Pilates, in fact, you will see the reason and purpose of each exercise. For me that is a huge moment in the workshop, it makes the teacher realize “why would I give that to this client” or “ I can still give this to this clients”  You will learn all about the contraindications and issues we see with clients and learn how to break them down or build the Traditional Pilates exercises to fit these clients needs and still challenge them and get them stronger.



You will learn and understand why you would omit certain exercises and how to assess for that client that day. Using all the apparatus as well as mat this workshop will give you the tools as well as give you the understanding to be confident and safe with clients. As always in my workshops, it Includes a manual and handouts.



“The precautions and contraindications workshop with Hilary was exactly what I wanted and needed.  The breakdown of each exercise and application of the movements to suit client requirements further reinforced my understanding of each exercise. I have been teaching for over 5 years but, it really went deep into the purpose of the exercise.   In addition to helping me with client application, it has also cemented my understanding of why we are doing what we’re doing.” Koren Hollamby, PMA Certified Teacher


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