Imagine that your students have just shown up to your Pilates class. As you look around the room, you see people of all different abilities and experience. How are you going to teach a class that challenges each student effectively and keeps everyone safe?
Layering is the single best solution I have found. Give it a try and it will change your life. Your teaching life, anyway : )
Many Pilates studios offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes. Many teacher training programs categorize exercises as Level 1, 2, and 3. So you should simply be able to teach the level 1 exercises in the beginner classes, level 2 exercises in the intermediate, and level 3 in the advanced, right? If only it were that simple!
The first major problem with this idea is that students often attend classes that work with their schedule, not according to their level of experience.
The second problem I see is this: even someone who you might consider an advanced mover might have significant deficiencies in one area. They might be able to do advanced repertoire, but they might not be doing it with the right muscles or joint actions. For them to make a fundamental change in their movement, they need to go back to basics.
For these two reasons, I think layering is going to be one of the most practical teaching skills you will learn.
How does it work?
For each exercise, you begin to teach the easiest variation and add only one skill at a time. Each student can continue following along with these progressions until she reaches her individual challenge point (the variation of each movement that is challenging but can still be controlled).
The first step is to pick an exercise you'd like to teach. Let's take Side Kicks for example. Think of the easiest regression for this exercise and teach this first. In this example, you would start your students with Side Balance and add one skill at a time. Here's how this would progress:
As you look around the room, you'll see that each student is getting the workout that's right for them. Your beginners will be able to stay at a level they're comfortable with. Your advanced students will get the challenge they're after. Both groups will understand and improve their form more and more with each class. How great is that?!
In the Programming & Sequencing chapter of the Pilates Encyclopedia, we
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