Private Pilates Sessions vs. Pilates Reformer Classes

Hmmm… an interesting question and topic. As Pilates has grown more popular, the sizes of group reformer classes are getting bigger and bigger. As the cost of living increases, the prices for privates (and classes) are getting higher as well. Let’s compare the two options and look at a few different situations as they relate to this debate of classes or privates.
Privates sessions with an instructor has it’s obvious benefits. Your workout is customized to your strengths, weaknesses, imbalances and goals. With such tailoring, the workout yields faster results of strengthening and reshaping the body. However, the cost of consistent privates are not in everyone’s budget. Group reformer classes offer a fun, communal (yet sometimes competitive) setting that can also be rewarding. Another benefit, is that classes can often cost a third of the price of a private session.
Who should take privates? Well, ideally we all should, but it is not always within our budget. However, beginners should certainly start with privates. It is essential and often mandatory at some studios. Studios will often offer a special Introductory Package to first time clients to make the initial private sessions more affordable. Even if classes are where you are headed, by taking the initial privates, you will save money and frustration in the end. You will learn your strengths and weaknesses and know what to focus on in a class that is not tailored just for you. 
Also, clients with injuries or special needs should take privates to be instructed on appropriate exercises with individual attention on their alignment and special requirements. The teacher will also know what exercises to avoid all together whilst still giving a good workout. 

Things to consider if you are taking classes. If you do have special needs, look for a class that is tailored for your population: Back-care class for low-back pain and sensitivity, Pre and Postnatal class for moms preparing or repairing their bellies. Osteoporosis-safe class which omit many of the traditional, unsuitable mat exercises. There are even classes tailored to certain sports like surfing whose participants often suffer from the same imbalances. However, in any class there is a personal responsibility that comes along with the lower price. One must not fail to observe and follow the instructions on safety and technique. 
Also to consider is that class we have all been in (or taught) where a beginner joins an intermediate class. The beginner feels lost and awkward, the intermediates feel annoyed that their class is slow, the teacher feels torn and everyone just wants the class to end. Ideally in the moments to follow the teacher and beginner find a class that is more suitable for their level or decide that more privates are needed before entering the class levels currently available at the studio. Phew!

My two cents. TAKE BOTH! Take 2-3 classes a week and budget for a private once a month to check in with your imbalances, strengths, weaknesses and what to focus on (and sometimes avoid) in the classes you are taking. See you in the studio! 

By Rachel Greene

1 comment


Yes – I will take both. Great information. Thank you so much!

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