One to one Pilates sessions – the benefits

We are often asked in our classes, why would I want to attend a one to one Pilates session? For those who have done it, they will tell you that the personal attention you get as well as the focus on health or injury issues can be incredibly helpful and beneficial to their Pilates practice and also performance in other areas of life.

Who can benefit from a one to one session? Really everyone can, we get clients in who have chronic pain, recovering from an injury or operation through to sports people. Women who are pregnant and into the postnatal period often find they need a personalised approach to help them move effectively as their body goes through rapid changes. Other Pilates instructors come to us for feedback on how they are moving or to progress to more advanced levels. Our clients are any age, from young teenagers through to people in their eighties.

Everyone is motivated in different ways. Some people respond to being in a class – the social aspect of meeting the same people every week, exercising alongside people of the same ability as you. Others prefer a more personal approach, with the direct relationship with the instructor a key driver to turn up and make improvements. Some say that people who train in small groups are more likely to stick at exercise than those who are part of larger groups where they feel more anonymous. The smaller the group, the more accountable you feel. In a one person group, you can’t hide at the back or get away with not turning up one week!

Many people, especially those new to exercise, can feel a bit shy in a class, thinking that everyone around them is a) an expert and b) laughing at their novice efforts. Of course, the reality is that everyone else is a) only a few weeks ahead of the newbie and b) too busy trying to do it right themselves to judge anyone else! However, the perception can be a powerful one and our emotions often over-ride our good sense. So a one to one environment can feel more supportive and build skills and confidence to the point where you would feel fine about going into a class. Equally, many people choose to stick with personal tuition.

Every one to one session is personalised to the client’s needs and wishes; regular classes, a programme to work on at home or a combination of both. Some people come three times a week, others come once a month to fine tune their programme and make it more challenging as they are able. Every session is different and tailored to individual’s needs. In the private environment of a one-to-one session a client can also discuss more sensitive issues which they would not want to raise in a class setting.

A client of ours had struggled with neck and shoulder pain for years and been to various Physios, chiropractors and osteopaths before giving Pilates a go. We have given her a programme of one-to-one Pilates sessions twice weekly as well as a few key exercises to work on at home. In the one-to-one sessions she has very close supervision of her positioning to ensure she gets the best out of the exercises. She has found that each session’s effects are lasting longer as she continues working with us, and we have been able to progress her to challenging exercises. Her posture has improved, pain reduced and movement in her neck and shoulder is now much better. She reports that Pilates has been much more beneficial than any previous treatment.

Another client who runs regularly and suffers from back pain from time to time came to see us to check his alignment in the exercises. We incorporated various pieces of equipment into the exercises and encouraged him to work in front of a mirror to help him to monitor his own alignment. He is now making great improvements knowing what to look and feel for, and his back pain has not recurred.

What about those with longstanding chronic conditions? Sometimes the level of a class can be too demanding and people find they need a level that is easier than beginner. In the one to one setting we can look very closely at the positions that are causing discomfort, and start to find positions of ease. These positions are then used to very gradually build up the challenge of the exercises within their abilities. It is a slow process and demands patience from the client while they make steady improvements, usually over months. We focus more on activity than pain as often people find they improve in everyday activities before pain starts to decrease. The strong foundation that Pilates builds means that the person can function better with everyday activities.

We can be versatile in our approach to a one to one session, so if you’ve got something in mind, why not give us a call and talk through your ideas?!