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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Neal

Top 5 Exercise Modifications for Teaching Multi-Level Reformer Pilates Classes

Teaching a multi-level reformer class can be a juggling act. You want to push your advanced students while ensuring beginners and those with injuries feel safe and challenged with clear modifications. But fear not, Pilates instructors! Here are 5 key ways to modify any exercise for a truly inclusive and effective class:

1. Master the Load

Spring tension is your friend when it comes to modifying load. Decrease it to make an exercise gentler on specific areas, but remember, sometimes "less is more" on the reformer. Understand how changing the spring tension affects the exercise before making adjustments.

2. Support Matters

Increase support for your clients by using heavier springs in certain exercises. You can also widen their base of support (think wider foot placement) to distribute weight more evenly across their body.

3. Range of Motion Magic

Don't be afraid to adjust the range of motion! Reduce it for clients who need more comfort, but remember, the ultimate goal is usually to gradually progress them back to their full range.

4. Leverage the Lever

Shorten the lever length by having clients bend their knees or elbows to decrease the load. Conversely, for some exercises like short spine, lengthening the lever (think extending legs) with heavier springs can provide additional assistance.

5. Swap It Out

Sometimes, the best modification is simply choosing a different exercise altogether. Don't be afraid to swap an exercise for one that better suits a specific client's needs and limitations.

Bonus Tip: Communication is key! Always check in with your clients to understand their individual needs and choose modifications that work best for them.

By mastering these simple modification techniques, you can create truly inclusive reformer classes that challenge your entire group, regardless of experience level or physical limitations.

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