You’re signing up for your first class at a Classical Pilates studio and you’re wondering what level class you should be taking. Does it matter if you take the beginner class or go into an intermediate class? Yes. It’s not about your athletic ability or how much you work out–the classes require you to know the choreography, change your own equipment, and keep up with the pace. This is why it’s important to start with the beginner classes–once you’ve mastered the basic moves and equipment, you’ll be equipped to graduate to the next level.
Here is what you can expect out of the beginner and intermediate classes, and why it’s so important to understand the difference between the two levels.
What to expect in a beginner level class.
This level is appropriate for all Pilates practitioners. You will work at a slow to moderate pace through a set sequence of beginning Pilates exercises that allow practitioners to focus on learning the exercises, transitions between exercises, and changing the springs and equipment.
The teacher will always provide the names of the exercises, a description of how to move through the exercises, and how to transition in and out of each exercise. You will learn proper breath mechanics and postural alignment through the exercises.
The beginner class will incorporate basic foundations and principles of Classical Pilates and are stressed on the Reformer, Tower, Chair, Mat, and auxiliary pieces.
What to expect from an intermediate level class
Once you have a solid foundational knowledge of the Pilates system, repertoire, transitions, and can change your own springs on the equipment, you will progress to an intermediate class. You will be incorporating more of an intermediate repertoire and will work at a moderate to fast pace as you progress through the link system, which will deepen the execution of the exercises.
What are the major differences between the two levels?
Pace through transitions – You will move faster in the intermediate classes because practitioners will know the names of most of the exercises, and will know the transitions between the exercises.
Movement vocabulary – The beginner and intermediate exercises are different! Mastering the beginner exercises will allow you to safely advance to the intermediate exercises. Progressing too soon may confuse you or prevent you from getting the full benefits of each exercise. It may cause frustration as well because the class will be moving faster than you can keep up with when you don’t know the exercises, transitions, or equipment changes.
Am I ready to move from a beginner into an intermediate class?
If you know the answers to most of these questions then YES! If you are not sure, ask your teacher:
- Do you know how many springs you need for footwork?
- Do you know what props you need for the short box series?
- Do you know how to prepare your leather straps for frogs and leg circles?
- Do you know what is means to “run” on the reformer?
If I’ve been practicing Pilates for years, will I get a workout in a beginner class?
You will absolutely get a full-body workout in a beginner class even if you have been doing pilates for years. You will move. You will sweat. You will strengthen your core, legs, and arms, and you will stretch. You may even be surprised just how hard you will work. When you fully have the exercises in your body, you feel the work in a deeper way!
Written by Lauren Bruker, Certified Classical Teacher at Pilates Fit Studio in Peewee Valley, KY
Lauren Bruker has been a leader in the fitness scene for over a decade teaching in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin. During her career as an indoor cycling instructor, she experienced a lower back injury that helped introduce her to Pilates. She became instantly hooked. Lauren loved the one on one attention, the small group classes, and how Pilates helped alleviate fatigue and imbalance her body had been experiencing for years.
As a former dancer and BFA graduate Lauren has always been drawn to movement. After college, she quickly received her NASM personal training and 200 hour Yoga Alliance certifications and began training clients privately. In 2009 she was one of SoulCycle’s- NYC’s premier indoor cycling studio, first instructors. She helped open SoulCycle studios all over the country and expanded the company’s teacher training program from 2009-2017. She completed the Soma Space 600 hour Classical Pilates Certification in Austin, TX in 2018. In 2019, Lauren will begin the Classical Syllabus under MeJo Wiggin This Louisville native is thrilled to finally return home and be a part of the Louisville Pilates and movement community.