To Count or Cue

Senior Instructor Gayle in a Pilates Refomer Session

When teaching, counting reps is easy (most of the time). It can be a good idea to give your client a sense of how many of each exercise she will be doing.

As a newer teacher it's harder to give the perfect cue to a client or a class to enable the client to feel the exercise. Your hardest job is to get the client moving appropriately and then enhance your cueing to give your client what they really need out of an exercise.

Start by going back to your manual for the basics of the choreography. Move next into the essence of the exercise and the focus points which give you plenty of tips on what to look for in an exercise and what to avoid. Try to give your client the positive cue which can make all the difference.

Let's look at the Plow part of the Back Rowing Preps series, which is an essential exercise on the Reformer.

  1. Set the client up seated neutral and upright.  Not seated neutral...immediately adjust the client's position either on a platform extender or a long box.
  2. Cue the client to sit tall and pull the straps back and watch what the client does. Is the client able to maintain good posture while pulling against the resistance of the strap. Maybe the client is rounding her upper spine or rolling the shoulders in. Think about how your are going to revise your cueing so that the client can maintain good posture while pulling the ropes.
  3. Give the client a mind body connection during your cueing. For example: feel tall from your head to your tail. Feel the back of your shoulders working while you maintain good posture. Breathe and release tension from your neck.  Feel the front of your shoulders opening while you strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades and the back of your shoulder.

If you can give your client a sense of proper connection to her body while she is working out with you, you will have achieved the true goal of the exercise and empowered your client to learn how to feel movement and begin to understand when her body is in the right place. This leads to client success and ultimately to your success as a teacher.

Do this for all the exercises you learn in training and you are on your way to becoming an excellent teacher and to passing your exam with ease.