Andrea Young in her Corefit studio

Andrea Young
the clinical Pilates and
functional movement specialist

Finding a matwork Pilates teacher

Although I would like to see you in my class, you may be looking elsewhere for an instructor. This page suggests some things that you might want to consider when you are looking.

The first thing you need to think about is what you need from a Pilates instructor. If you are fit, healthy and uninjured then you do have more options when finding a suitable class. If you’re not, or even if you are fit and healthy but looking for a more disciplined class in terms of Pilates technique, then you will likely be better off in some form of clinical class.

Always talk to a prospective practitioner to explicitly understand how they can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – a good teacher will be more than happy to answer them to your satisfaction. What follows are some things to consider and questions to ask when choosing your Pilates practitioner.

Whether the class being taught is clinical

This is a very important point to consider if you have any sort of joint or mobility issues or if you have an injury. Other health conditions (for example high blood pressure or respiratory conditions) may also indicate that you should consider a clinical class. I have a separate article describing what makes a class clinical.

For any class you should expect to complete some sort of health screen at the start. If you are not asked to do this then the class certainly isn’t clinical, because the exercises you’re doing are not specific to your health needs.

In large facilities make sure your group class instructor has read your form if you flagged up issues; i.e. that the form actually got passed on from the front desk to the person who is responsible for your safety in that class. It should not just be about the legal disclaimer that you are there at your own risk.

Expect them to approach you if it’s your first class and address any issues on your form with you. If they don’t then you should raise it with them. The last thing that you want to hear from your instructor is “You'll be okay – just do what you can”.

How many clients are there in a class

This is also a good indicator of the individual attention that you will be given; especially important if you are looking for a clinical class. A class with large numbers is less likely to be clinical. Class size also gives some indication of whether the pace of the class will be adaptable to your needs.

The practitioner’s training and experience

Always ensure that the practitioner has a recognised qualification. If you are looking for a clinical class this is especially important. Who the practitioner trained with will also likely give you an indication of the nature of the classes being taught. You should ensure that the person you want to exercise with is appropriately trained for the type of exercise that you want to do.

It’s also encouraging if your instructor’s own development is ongoing; periodically updating their training to supplement and expand upon existing skills and knowledge.