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Bootcamp Pilates for your Pilates Studio

Bootcamp Pilates for your Pilates StudioSince Pilates was first introduced almost 100 years ago, different styles of this intriguing system of exercise have emerged. One of the most recent and controversial styles is Bootcamp Pilates. Frowned upon by many Pilates purists, Bootcamp Pilates may be seen as the anti-Pilates or as Peter Fiasca’s puts it, “…a mutation of Pilates”. Nevertheless, should Pilates studios consider offering Bootcamp Pilates as a programming option?

What is Bootcamp Pilates?

The word Bootcamp gives the impression of military style fitness training with a drill sergeant type instructor barking orders while participants sweat out 1 or 2 more repetitions before collapsing on the floor. Bootcamp Pilates is similar. However, instead of wearing big black boots and running through tires, you are barefoot performing a range of Pilates and fitness exercises.

Bootcamp Pilates is typically performed in a group setting on the reformer. The exercises include traditional reformer exercises as well as popular fitness moves such as lunges, squats, dips and push ups. The reformer revitalizes such fitness-based exercises as it demands an extra dimension of balance and core control.

Bootcamp Pilates is far removed from the classical method taught by Joseph Pilates. It opposes one of his key principles which advises against pushing the body to exhaustion. Instead, Bootcamp Pilates incorporates the weight training principle of muscle failure which helps boost muscle tone and development. Bootcamp Pilates follows some Pilates principles such as spinal and joint alignment, core activation (centering) and deep concentration. Nevertheless, this interesting modification should be considered a fitness-based exercise method rather than a mind-body exercise system.

Despite its difference from traditional Pilates, this system of exercise is gaining huge popularity, mostly due to the impressive results that participants are seeing within a very short period of time. Furthermore, many benefits associated with traditional Pilates such as improved posture, alignment correction, body awareness and reduced back and joint pain are also generated through the Bootcamp Pilates method. One significant benefit which amplifies the popularity of Bootcamp Pilates is effective weight and fat loss. Thanks to the intensity of the class, one can burn up to 700 calories per hour, regardless of fitness level.

The Pros of offering Bootcamp Pilates at your Studio

Bootcamp Pilates is hugely popular and many people who typically would not find traditional Pilates interesting are giving this new dynamic upbeat version a go. Traditional Pilates can be quite a hard sell at times. Not everyone may appreciate its subtle controlled elements, slow movement and the long term benefits it brings. Offering Bootcamp Pilates may bring a whole host of new clients through your door who eventually, may convert into traditional Pilates enthusiasts. In addition, many people are looking for a weight loss solution and while traditional Pilates assists in weight loss, the results can be slow. Bootcamp Pilates gives your center the opportunity to assist your clients in their weight loss goals while still introducing them to Pilates.
Offering Bootcamp Pilates also opens up an interesting marketing opportunity in garnering press coverage. The press is consistently interested in new fitness concepts and with the right approach, you may be able to receive new referrals from magazines and newspapers articles.

The Cons of offering Bootcamp Pilates

Bootcamp Pilates may not fit in with many studios’ ‘Mind-Body’ design. Most Pilates studios are very tranquil, quiet spaces with calming design features to help clients focus on the mind body connection. Bootcamp Pilates is hot, sweaty and loud, typically performed to pumping house music and therefore may not complement the existing set up of many studios. Due to the heat and moisture generated during a class, a ventilation and air-cooling system are desirable to maintain comfort. The Pilates reformers also take a greater amount of wear compared to traditional Pilates and extra maintenance costs need to be factored in. Other Pilates professionals and studios in the area may not agree with this type of class being offered and a previously amicable relationship with fellow competitors may turn sour.

Are you with it or against it?

Most Pilates professionals with an absolute passion for the work of Joseph Pilates may find their skin crawling at the very term ‘Bootcamp Pilates’. Many may believe it opposes all of Joseph Pilates’ teachings and see this method as a way of cashing in on the Pilates name. For those studios already offering other styles of fitness classes within their Pilates programming, Bootcamp Pilates may be an appealing opportunity. As long as this class is sold accurately as a fitness and resistance-training class that includes Pilates elements, rather than advertised as a genuine Pilates class, and as long as it does not impact negatively on your existing client base, Bootcamp Pilates may be a great addition to your Pilates program.

By · Posted on August 16, 2010 · Topic Industry Insider

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15 Responses to “Bootcamp Pilates for your Pilates Studio”

  1. Julia Wheeler on August 16th, 2010 10:10 am

    I think this is a great idea, I like it…. I teach Pilates, and after 8 years of it I do at times find the basic principals of Pilates minding numbingly boring, it always good to mix things up…

  2. Nicole De Anda on August 16th, 2010 10:16 am

    I am a Pilates instructor and have been teaching for six years. I’ve definitely seen many studios embracing this Pilates bootcamp or circuit training type of format in order to get more clients through the door. Their classes are usually full and wait listed. It seems to be a resounding sentiment that while the average client wants to do the exercises safely, they don’t always care that they do it to perfection. They just want a heart pumping workout, to fun music, that makes them sweat and makes the hour pass by quickly.

    I currently instruct this type of group reformer class. However while I strive to make the class challenging enough so that the clients return, I also try to do the best I can to offer them tactile and verbal corrections throughout each movement to show them how doing the exercise correctly makes it ten times harder. Some get that concept…but some do not.

  3. Elizabeth O'Connor on August 16th, 2010 1:26 pm

    I own 31 Ten Fitness in Lighthouse Point Florida. We offer Pilates and group fitness classes. We offer a wide range of Pilates classes including a intense version of the pilates reformer class. I feel like it keeps those who have been doing pilates for years inspired and motivated. It also gets people who may have never tried pilates into it. Pilates is evolving just like yoga and other fitness modalities. It doesn’t mean that one way or style is better or that people will not also enjoy the classical methods. I think that learning the different styles and experiencing different instructors is important in learning how to correctly use your body. After all Pilates, contrololgoy as it was originally called, is the art of controlling the body, your body! Changing things up is good. I think Joe would like it. So as instructors we find our own special and unique ways of getting that across to our clients. Besides the reformer was designed as a stepping stone to the matt which is the hardest part of the practice. If we incorporate some more mat work and bring up the intensity it’s a step in that direction. Ultimately it is important to get people moving there body in a challenging way, sometimes we have to take baby steps and open peoples mind to the art of pilates. If that means we spice things up by adding in other challenges I think it’s great. My clients seem to like it too!

  4. FrankV on August 16th, 2010 10:09 pm

    I love the concept of Pilates bootcamp. I too have run these programs at my own studio. One thing that we all must never forget is that bootcamp doesn’t mean forget the core principles of Pilates. Although intense, the exercises must still be done with complete control, precision and with correct breathing, not as fast as you can to burn as many calories as possible. When done correctly these programs bring amazing results.

  5. Neil on August 17th, 2010 2:42 am

    I’ve been offering a few hybrid courses, one using a similarly designed programme to the above but with a different cardio component, incorporating a few props but no equipment; the other is a circuit class (pretty standard fair to whats already on offer in most studios). We’ve have good success with both.

    I do agree that a ‘bootcamp’ designed camp does not follow Pilates methodology and principles regarding overwork/exertion. However I too notice that many (not all) clients just want to work hard. If I can give them some of what they want as well as some of what I think they need (ie Pilates approach) then I reckon I’ve gotten through their thick skulls a bit. Better to do that than completely lose them. I believe in winning by small steps…

    So as long as the classes are ethically and properly advertised and taught (ie by properly trained Pilates practitioners, not by personal trainers that do a 2 day course in Pilates) then I say go for it!

  6. Mike Perry on August 17th, 2010 3:28 pm

    In response to the first post: If you’re bored with teaching the principles of Pilates then it’s probably time for you to stop teaching.

    In the UK there are several different companies offering similar things, and other variations (“Piloxing” anyone?). There will always be people trying to dress up what they offer as the new thing, or a new slant on pilates. I don’t believe that this is ever for anything other than commercial reasons. Ultimately, if it’s pilates, call it that, the intensity of the class is irrelevant, if you are teaching pilates. If the fundamentals are getting lost in the quest for cardio/calorie burning then it’s not pilates – and should be named accordingly.

  7. Ricard Salom on August 17th, 2010 6:58 pm

    I just think that not everything is right to make money! Pilates is a great method, with strong fundaments so… please don’t ruin it! If any of you want to be creative is great, but don’t confuse your potential costumers, since Pilates is a serious thing!
    As a dancer and actor, and also a person, Pilates changed my life. After learning Pilates I became a better actor, I dance with more grace and I am also a better person. I hope I coud express better what PILATES means for me.
    So please keep the technique like it was, and stop thinking only about making money. I understand that some things have changed since the time when Pilates was created: people’s needs, injuries and knowledge of the body… but if you want a boot camp, join the army and go to war (I don’t think this is funny).
    We have to love and care for our body. Why people go to the gym to treat their body badly? Why they only think about burning calories? Why loud music, and a trainer giving orders in a rough way?
    NO PAIN NO GAIN is over, isn’t true, with LOVE and CARE you can get everything, live is too hard to spend your leisure time suffering, believe me!
    Sorry for the language mistakes. And I never pretended to be rude to anyone.
    From Barcelona, Ricard.

  8. CP on August 25th, 2010 12:36 am

    There is definitely two camps in this argument: 1 for using the Pilates brand to make money, the other to preserve the quality being the Pilates brand. I believe both can happen, one just has to stay true to the fundamentals and principals of alignment that Joseph Pilates set forth. Over in England gyms and studios have abused the Pilates brand name with “boot camps” so bad it is disgusting. The boot camp classes would be fine if the instructors were actually certified and knew what to look for in the movements. Instead, most boot camp pilates “instructors” are merely certified personal trainers over here in England. The public is being doofed unfortunately.

  9. Ernie on August 27th, 2010 7:09 pm

    It is basically as Peter Fiascia perfectly put it, “a mutation Pilates”.
    This nonsense class is nothing more than an income producer for studio’s that have not yet mastered the methods of teaching true classical Pilates to their clients. These boot camp classes that I’ve seen here in New York are usually taught by poorly educated teachers that have little or no anatomical education. None of the critical core Pilates principles are used in the class that separates Pilates from most other forms of misalignment, non-breathing and injury-in-the- waiting forms of exercising.
    So these “Pilates” studio’s latched on to some gym like fitness class and have been promoting it like it’s something new form of Pilates.
    And it’s not that clients get bored with learning the classical Pilates methods of excecising, it’s teachers get who bored.

  10. Pilates Exercises - How to work hips & thighs for ***Pilates Brentwood ca*** on September 4th, 2010 1:36 am

    […] Bootcamp Pilates for your Pilates Studio | Pilates Digest […]

  11. j on September 26th, 2010 3:40 pm

    First, why Pilates was created ? The real concept? Real Pilates teacher ,would be able to answer that ,If you teached advanced classes properly and are actually really using your core , you wont have to create Bootcamp Pilates , teach Bootcamp exercise outdoor its wonderful ,that’s okay ,but please let’s not lose the essence of Pilates .
    Thank you.
    Short term profit long-term suffering.

  12. j on September 30th, 2010 3:02 pm

    Thank you Richard , for reminding me as well how Pilates change my life not just physical but emotionally and for those who understand spiritually, i hope there will be enough teachers to understand the profound meaning and try to keep the true essence of Pilates.

  13. Pilates Las Vegas on May 12th, 2011 3:57 am

    I have been looking into offering a boot camp class at my studio, I have been trying to gage the level of interest, I think it would be a good selling point for people who may otherwise feel Pilates is not for them. It may appeal more to male clients who sometime perceive Plates as too gentle.

    I understand why some instructors may be against the idea but we already offer a wide variety of traditional classes so one or two boot camp classes per week would be a good balance.

  14. Daniel le Roux on November 25th, 2011 3:52 pm

    Personally I believe after attending one of these so called Bootcamp Pilates classes it’s mostly dynamic gym exercises using Pilates equipment,. Sadly no mind body connection, flow or centering involved.

    I also found Personal trainers with no knowledge or understanding of Pilates principles are teaching mostly Bootcamp Pilates classes allowing a reputation as the cowboy of Pilates. I agree that classic Pilates do need a more dynamic/ aerobic element for mass market appeal but please keep the essence of Pilates as previously mentioned in comments above.

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