Strong Programming: What are we basing it on?

By: Carla Ricalis

An established clientele means working with the same clients weekly and often, more than once.

Part of retention is being able to progress them towards their fitness goals and keep the workouts fun and challenging. To do this, strong programming needs to be in place.

Beyond the exercises and physical abilities or limitations, there are other components needed to keep the workouts strong. Here are a couple to think about as you prepare:

An overarching or macro-level focus:

Every client’s workouts should focus on a need or goal whether they define it in their initial intake form/discussion with you or not.

As an observer of movement, what do you notice that needs to be kept in mind as you develop programs?

For example, is their active posture kyphotic?

Or do they have a tendency to shuffle that could require exercises for balance and proprioception?

Or maybe they’re working with a joint replacement that needs healthy, challenging movement patterning in order for a good range of motion to be sustained over their lifetime.

Whatever it is, macro-level focuses have an overarching impact on the clients Pilates workout; they are in the background and your foundational programming acknowledges it. But they’re not always the primary focus and usually not the only focus of the session.

A specific or micro-level focus:

Unlike the macro-level, these needs are more specific and often temporary; they pop up and guide the workouts for a period of time, but they do not become long term or permanent factors.

These could be anywhere from a client returning to the Pilates studio after giving birth to a client coming in with restricted movement because of a long distanced run the day before.

Or maybe they’re distracted and lacking focus because of something happening at home or work. Whatever it is, micro-level programming hones in on a particular issue, whether physical, emotional or psychological for a defined period of time and works in conjunction with the client’s overarching needs. And while they might be a primary focus, they’re usually temporary as client heals, strengthens, re-focuses and moves on.

Learning to prioritize overarching and micro/specific programming in either a concurrent (a movement sequence or exercise that targets both layers of focus) or consecutive (alternating from one focus to the other) format is all part of developing your skills to create strong, customized workouts.

First off, you’re improving your ability to program in the moment for issues/ situations that pop up on your radar when your client shows up for their session.

But because you’re already working within guidelines that are informed by their overarching needs, the session is being steered in a pre-determined and clear direction; instead of being overly spontaneous which can lead to lack of focus and result in your energy being expended unnecessarily.

Strong programming is layered programming that accommodates whatever the client brings into the studio with them; recent injury, anxiety, discomfort, you name it.

By looking at these 2 different levels of programming, you’re bringing more detail and innovation to your teaching and developing a clearer focus in the workouts you teach.

Not only is this a bonus in establishing and retaining your Pilates clientele, it makes the session much more rewarding to teach – guaranteed.

Looking for more programming ideas? Join us in our From the Top Down Workshop on Sunday, April 18 as we move through some advanced inspired sequences to build strength and awareness and mix up your programming.