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“Pilates participation has


increased almost 500 per cent in America over the past 10 years”


benefi ts of pilates, through both fusion and traditional classes, demand has increased by 60 per cent over the past fi ve years, according to Bastos. Club retention has also improved and there’s strong loyalty to the pilates reformer programme, which generates extra revenue since an additional fee is charged per session. At Fusion Pilates Studio in Asheville,


North Carolina, director Jennifer Gianni incorporates elements of yoga, dance, aerobics and weight training into her private pilates sessions and mat classes. This can involve, as an example, the inclusion of resistance bands, tubing, foam rollers, stability balls and the balance board in one class, thereby drawing on infl uences from physical therapy, traditional gym and functional fi tness environments. “I was trained in classical pilates,


but I felt my clients needed different ways of moving and staying engaged,” says Gianni. “For instance, some have Parkinson’s disease, so their programmes need changing each session to challenge their neuromuscular


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Shirley Archer of IDEA Health & Fitness Association says pilates offerings must evolve to maintain interest


connections. While I always come back to the foundation principles, I see no reason to confi ne myself or my clients to classical restraints.” Qualifi ed as a group cycling and


pilates instructor, Philadelphia-based David Curry believes that clubs could reap rewards by implementing a carefully devised fusion programme. He’s a particular advocate of merging group cycling and pilates, which he says share clear synergies when it comes to mind/body connection, core stability, breathing and alignment. “By bringing these disciplines together in one 45-minute session, participants enjoy a hardcore cardio workout, offset by strengthening and lengthening to counteract the adverse effects of cycling,” he explains. “While the pilates portion can be designed for mat or reformer depending on the club’s existing facilities, it’s essential that the right exercises are selected to


complement the ride.” Curry adds that fusion can help to differentiate a club, as well as enhancing retention and acting as a strong marketing tool.


coming to the uk It’s not only US-based facilities that have responded to the trend. At mbodies Studio in Witney, Oxfordshire, manager and STOTT PILATES instructor Kelly Vanderboom has launched fusion classes of late, including one that incorporates kettlebells for enhanced conditioning and another combining body weight exercises with pilates and fitness equipment, ranging from a Spring Wall to a GoFit Gravity Bar. She says the classes have a consistent attendance record, positive retention and referral, and generate a good profit. “Some clients appreciate the core


pilates benefi ts but also desire the ‘burn’ of a workout,” she explains. “This is a time-effective option for those who want to experience cardio, strengthening and toning in one class.” The studio has seen an increase in male participants, athletes and sports


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 43


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