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Are Big Classes Unsafe? with Raphael Bender and Cloe Bunter

Episode 54:

Are big classes unsafe?

Large groups or small groups, what makes for a better Pilates class? Many people in the Pilates world believe that small group classes are more beneficial and safer than big groups. But is it true? After all, class safety and client experience deeply impact studios and instructors alike. We dive in to uncover the facts around injury risk and client experience. We also discuss the implications of micromanaging movement and the power of facilitating your client to find their own flow.

What You Will Learn:

  • What factors influence class safety
  • The implicit benefits of large group Pilates classes
  • The impact of class size on your studio’s revenue
  • How the instructor provides a high quality experience for clients in a large group Pilates class
  • What clients with persisting pain can gain from a group setting

Moving Fearlessly in Group Classes

Large group Pilates classes are an awesome way to empower clients to move thoughtlessly and painlessly. Group classes allow instructors to quietly observe their clients’ progress without being tempted to micromanage their movements or zone in on perceived discomfort.

Benefits for Studio Owners and Instructors

The smaller the class, the less revenue — the maths doesn’t lie. People shy away from discussing money but for studio owners and Pilates instructors, understanding the financials is critical to running a successful business. A measurable benefit of bigger group classes is better pay and conditions for Pilates instructors, which in turn creates a higher quality and more positive experience for the clients.

Empowering Clients

Those large group Pilates classes can have powerful positive effects for clients as well as instructors. Creating a nurturing environment where clients have the room to flourish allows them to explore their capacity for fearless movement and rediscover the joy of physical movement.

Class Safety


Research & Resources Mentioned in the Episode:

  • Physical therapy for post surgical knee rehabilitation is equally effective as unsupervised home exercise here.
  • Unsupervised home exercise is effective for people with neck pain here.
  • Unsupervised exercise for people with heart failure here.
  • Gymnasticbodies teaches adult non-gymnasts how to be AWESOME at gymnastics – 100% online unsupervised here.
  • Movement quality is not associated with injury risk here.
  • Unsupervised home exercise for people with rotator cuff tendinopathy equally effective as supervised physiotherapy here.
  • NEISS 2016 USA emergency room visits by activity here.
  • The more you exercise the less likely you are to die in the next 10 years here.

About Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

Cloe Bunter, Trainer, Breathe Education

With 8+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.

She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast, with Raphael Bender, has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths whilst creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.

Cloe is fascinated by movement in general, and its ability to enhance our lives, at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. She has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

Ways to Engage with Us for Free: 

Masterclasses and Online Courses

Our Pilates instructor training is 100 percent online, so you can study from anywhere in the world.

Earn recognition: Your Breathe Education Pilates qualifications are recognized by the Australian Government, Exercise & Sport Science Australia, and all major insurers.

Build your skills: with our pilates instructor training, you’ll learn the original Contrology exercises created by Joseph Pilates. Plus, you’ll learn the most current, science-based ways to cue and program those exercises, how to work with injured and pregnant clients, and nurture beginners.

Gain confidence: Learning is fun and easy when you engage with our state-of-the-art eLearning system, filled with straightforward, relevant content and structured to guide your training as you build skills and confidence.

Feel supported: You’ll learn world-class problem-solving skills, not just a list of answers. Our student success team and trainers will provide you with all the guidance, challenge, and support you’ll need to become what you want to become.

Take your first step to becoming a certified Pilates instructor by scheduling a 20-minute Discovery Call with us here.

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