In this post, we’ll try to provide some guidance to help clients assess a regular question – whether or not a client can do Pilates classes when they have an injury. Deciding to take class after an injury or surgery is a personal decision and there is not a “one size fits all approach”. The thoughts below are based on our experience at the studio and we hope they are helpful.

Our studio teachers a very fitness-y version of Pilates. We are true to Pilates, but our pace is quick and we offer a workout. Our classes are supposed to be fun and fitness-y. They are not what the doctor or PT has in mind when they recommend Pilates.

If you’ve had surgery on any major body part (back, knee, neck, shoulder, etc) you probably should NOT do classes without doing privates first.  You will almost certainly need modifications, and you need to give yourself time to learn what they are. It will be extremely important for you to focus on correct form, and you’ll learn this quicker in a private. The big thing after any surgery or injury (even years later) is that it is very easy to re-injure. Taking privates to learn proper form and modifications will help to minimize the risk of re-injury.

Our regularly scheduled classes are just that – classes. The instructors do their best to be helpful, but they are there to guide students through a Pilates workout. During a group class, the instructor’s ability to offer modifications is limited. At Westcliff, we can offer very few modifications. At Fashion Island, we are better able to help with modifications.

There are a few things that students should be able to do in order to take a class – raise hands over head, kneel for a few minutes at a time, quickly go from laying to sitting, reach your arm over your head and keep your arms in a plank pose, to name a few. You will also need to be able to change your own springs, move the footbar and pick up your accessories (up to 13 pounds). If you cannot do these things, they you are a candidate for private Pilates training.

We’ve seen success stories! We have seen clients with back, shoulder & knee injuries successfully transition into class after privates. It is possible to take classes after serious injuries or surgeries, but it takes some preparation, hard work and at least a handful of privates.

If you’re not sure about your ability to do a class, schedule an evaluation. It’s $25 for 20 minutes. The instructor will help you figure out where you are at. If your modifications are simple, you’ll figure them out during the evaluation. If you need more support, the instructor will help you coordinate private lessons.