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One Class, Three Levels: How to Make Your Mat Class Work for Large Groups
by Linda Farrell
When teaching Pilates mat to large groups of people with different abilities, I make sure to break the exercise down into different levels. For instance, I start with level 1, which is the the exercise in its most basic form, and then progress with advanced variations for level 2 and 3. For example, during Single Straight Leg Stretch I start the traditional way—arms reaching for extended limbs, and cue for a modest range of motion. I then cue to increase the range of motion for level 2, and then to reach the arms over the ears for level 3. I get very good results this way, as the beginners are challenged enough for level 1, and my advanced practitioners are thrilled to have new challenges and variations thrown in to the mix.
Props are another way to address the different levels in the room. My advanced students can enhance the resistance level of an exercise like leg beats by using a Magic Circle or Triad Ball. Similarly, I can make an exercise like Leg Circles easier for a beginner by letting them support the leg with a hand-held resistance band or exercise strap while they circle.
For over 12 years, Linda Farrell has been presentin...