There are many benefits to offering a classes as a series, including guaranteed payment and commitment from your clients, the opportunity to progress the class towards bigger goals than you could accomplish in a single class, and sharing the rewards consistency brings to your clients' Pilates practice. Today I share how I design a class series, and what my new Masterclass series is all about. Tune in!
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[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.
[00:00:56] Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. [00:01:00] Lots of exciting things going on in my world. Most notably the fact that my Masterclass series for Breathe Education started this week. There's still time to hang out. You can join live. You can also check the replay and play along at a time that fits more in your schedule. The link for that is in the show notes. So if you want to join in, it's been an absolute party and it's really what this episode is about.
[00:01:30] A lot of times on the podcast, I am answering questions or I'm sharing strategies or tips or tricks, things that I've learned through practice and trial and error, so that you can teach with confidence and really bring best practices to your teaching game and also to your being a Pilates teacher game beyond the teaching, just life stuff as well. And [00:02:00] this week- I hope that it's still beneficial, that is why I'm recording it- but this week is really gonna be a behind the scenes look at how I plan a class series. So really sharing my thought process, how I got to be where I am in this planning process. Hopefully that is enlightening to you if you ever end up teaching a class series, or if you're interested in teaching a class series, but you're not sure how you would structure it. I wasn't exactly sure how I was gonna structure it, but I thought about it for a few weeks. And now I have some things to talk about and share with you.
[00:02:37] First thing we should likely discuss is what is a class series. What is different about a class series versus a regular group class or a private class or a workshop or a webinar, or however we are gonna do the classification system. A class series in my mind implies that you are signing up for [00:03:00] multiple classes, usually at the same time with the same instructor potentially, but you have committed to all of the classes in the series. Versus signing up for a group class on Tuesday, one week on Thursday, the next week, Friday fits in your schedule better the, the following week. But when you sign up for a series, it's usually to set time.
[00:03:24] And if you're teaching a series, you have a certain number of classes and you are planning not only each class as an individual standalone class, but also how that class is gonna fit into this series, allowing you to really explore progressions and really build on foundational ideas or foundational movements and take it to new heights because you're getting to build on it a little bit each week.
[00:03:56] So the masterclass series that I'm leading is called Foam Roller Fun on the [00:04:00] Mat. It is a 12 week series. So I know when I'm planning this class that I need to fill 12 50 minute classes. On its face, that seems like a lot, but I think it, the only reason it seems like a lot is because you are planning kind of all 12 classes at the same time. Like you may have taught 12 classes in a week before, and hopefully that didn't feel super duper intimidating, but because you're looking at this as like an overarching, almost like a narrative arc that we have a beginning together, we have an end together. And how are we gonna get from point A to point B.
[00:04:38] What I love about teaching a class series and planning a class series is that you can have a really big goal because planning a series in a lot of ways is just like planning a single class, but that single class has this other, the single class is a puzzle piece that fits into a bigger puzzle because you know, when you're [00:05:00] teaching a single class, if you're thinking in your head, Ooh, I really wanna build to snake on the reformer. Okay, well, what movements exist in snake? Probably. I want to introduce that extension, that plank moment, that rotation. Whatever pieces you've identified as parts of that peak or really difficult exercise that you're building up to, and you're gonna introduce that throughout the class. You're gonna weave in some extension, you're gonna do some planks so that when you do an extension plank, they're like, ah, yes, this seems familiar. Right?
[00:05:36] So when you're planning a series, you're just doing that on a bigger scale. So I like to plan my series with the end in mind, where are we going? Sometimes I find that's easier than picking a place to start, because if you know where you're going, you can just break down in pieces from there. So where do I want us to go in this [00:06:00] masterclass series? I've got some dreams for myself and for the people who take this class. And there aren't right or wrong answers to this necessarily.
[00:06:12] So one thing that I'm thinking just in my head in general about this series is that I wanna be able to showcase both supportive and challenging ways of using a foam roller that makes the choreography that I'm teaching in Pilates land, more accessible. The foam roller acts as a support. And I also want to showcase ways that the foam roller can act as something that adds difficulty adds a coordination component, adds a balance component, but provides more challenge than the Pilates exercise that I'm teaching. Like we took Joe's exercise and then we took it a little bit further.
[00:06:54] So that's something that I have in my head that I just want to showcase, because this is a prop centered [00:07:00] series. So I wanna use the foam roller and this isn't the correct answer, but I wanna use the foam roller as load in a lot of inverted exercises. So how can I use the foam roller to make cork screw harder to make Jacknife harder to make the rollover harder to make teaser or open leg rocker harder. What can I do with the foam roller to use it like load? And I want to take advantage of the unique balance aspect of the foam roller.
[00:07:32] So two goals that I'm thinking of building towards is a four point lifted dead bug situation where you're lying flat on your back on the foam roller. Could you lift all four limbs? And if your first thought is like, no, same. Um, but we can definitely build up to that and see if we can introduce that, and then build to it in a way that becomes more accessible, unless there's no way [00:08:00] that's gonna happen. Right.
[00:08:01] I love standing on the foam roller. I think that it has a really fun balance component. So I would love to maybe do some standing balance work on the foam roller, maybe one foot on the foam roller. Could we do some stuff? Right.
[00:08:18] And also an overarching theme in the series is I don't wanna completely ignore, the component of flow. And this is something when you're working with any piece of equipment, whether it's the reformer, whether it's a foam roller, that you've gotta kind of keep track of the equipment you're working on. What setting is it in? Where is it located in space? So that when you're going from exercise to exercise, to exercise, It's not a completely different setup for every exercise. Like how can we put exercises together so that it makes sense we're in the same body position, we've got the same equipment setting. We can do a bunch of things here before we change it.
[00:08:57] Since I've got 12 weeks to [00:09:00] play with, I wasn't gonna, you know, win any awards for creative structuring here. But I'm thinking of doing four classes where the foam roller is a bit more supportive in the exercises, four classes where the foam roller is doing still some supportive things, but it's starting to make some things a bit harder perhaps., And then four classes where the foam roller is not our friend, but it is a bit of an obstacle that we are trying to navigate, whether it's through balance or load or however we're playing with it.
[00:09:38] Coming up after the break, I'm gonna talk more about how this series in particular is gonna be amazing. And some other ways that I look at breaking down those classes. That is coming up next.
[00:09:58] Hi there. I hope you're [00:10:00] enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, too. Be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There, you can make a one time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month.
[00:10:17] Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also visit links.OliviaBioni.com/affiliates to check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now, back to the show.
[00:10:55] I didn't mention this in the first bit, but I do want to throw it out here, if you [00:11:00] were considering offering a class series, the thing that I probably love about it the most from a student perspective, from a teacher perspective is that you're rewarded for your commitment. That if you say yes, I'm gonna do these 12 classes, I bet you a hundred million dollars that your final attempt of whatever crazy finale exercises we've come up with is gonna be pretty darn awesome because you've been practicing it for 12 weeks and we know that consistent practice is how we get better at any movement. There's a strength component. There's a flexibility component, but a lot of it comes down to practice. You get stronger when you practice, you get more flexible when you practice, you get more coordinated when you practice. The movement becomes more unconscious. Versus micromanaged and controlled and you know, that's the name of the game. So that's something that's [00:12:00] really neat about offering a series.
[00:12:02] At the same time, you recognize, I know for these master classes, you might have someone who is doing the series and they pop in just to one live class, or maybe they start in class number six and you're like, wow, we've done so much foundation laying prior to this. I still want you to get a good workout and to enjoy working with the foam roller and understand the themes that I'm weaving into the class. But, you know, I want you to get something out of it if, if you just take one and I want you to get a lot out of it, if you decide to go through the entire series with me.
[00:12:38] Whenever something feels big and intimidating, like 12 classes and we've gotta get from, I have this foam roller and I've only used it to give myself a neck massage to, I can stand on it on one leg. Like that's a big jump. So how can we break it down into pieces to get us there? I shared that I'm breaking it into [00:13:00] not that I would ever call these classes that, but more foundational beginner, a little bit more intermediate- we have some familiarity let's play, and then some advanced, how far can we take this kind of situation? So I've already taken it from 12 pieces into like more manageable chunks. And then we can look at each class individually.
[00:13:22] One way that I'm looking at building a cohesive program throughout all 12 classes is to do a very similar beginning bit and a very similar ending bit. They're actually centered on two of the goals that I have for this series. One is standing on the foam roller, and one is getting all your limbs lifted while you're lying down on your foam roller. So my warm up in the very first class is gonna introduce this idea of a standing warmup, where we play with just some general spinal range of movement. We- it's a bit of a warmup. We do our side bends. We [00:14:00] do our twists. We do some standing saw, we do some roll downs. You know, we kind of get in a space that we can move and groove together and I'll probably take it into some bird dog, some sort of four point kneel. We can do a little bit of plank prep work.
[00:14:18] And also some standing, maybe just starting with the foam roller, right against the wall. Can I lean against the wall and like step up on it? Or can I have a hand on the wall or a hand on a chair or something like that where I have one foot on the roller, one foot on the ground. And I know that we're gonna stand on the roller with one leg and do some cool warrior three balance thing that I posted on Instagram.
[00:14:39] But that's not the first thing that I tell you. I don't say, Hey, warrior three. I say, Hey, what does it feel like to stand on the roller? How does the roller move? What kind of information do we get from the foam roller when we have a foot on it? You know what I mean? So I have this warm up series that is gonna be the [00:15:00] same throughout, but we're gonna dial it up throughout. So what it looks like in week one and what it looks like in week eight are different, but the same.
[00:15:10] The same way you would layer up an exercise, starting with a layer that if your grandma came into your class, she could do 10 of them and building up to wherever we're going. And when you're doing it as a class series, maybe in that first class, you start at anyone who walks into this room can do it. And then as you progress through the series, you're like, well, instead of taking these itty bitty baby steps to get from A to B, what if we start at B and then build from there. So you are constantly working towards this peak adventure. So I'm doing that in a little bit of a standing warmup, and then we'll be doing a lot of [00:16:00] supine work on the roller because of that cool balance component.
[00:16:04] But. When we get to the supine work, kind of cool down adventure of the class, we'll start with, you know, can you use your weights and make a foam roller sandwich so that the roller doesn't move very much or at all? And just practice being on the roller. Can we lift one limit a time, one arm or one leg? Can we move that lifted limb in space and get people comfortable with that. And maybe for that beginning bit, we get up to two limbs lifted and that's kind of where we went from. We went from everything, touching the ground to, I can lift one thing and feel pretty comfortable about it. Maybe we get up to, I can lift two things and I feel really, really comfortable with that, so that when we get into that next four series block, which is gonna be the month of August, it becomes, okay. I feel comfortable with two limbs lifted. Can I lift a third limb and then do a bunch of random stuff and get really comfortable with three limbs lifted. And then we start to play with in that [00:17:00] last bit, can I get four limbs lifted, but when you're doing the class, it doesn't feel impossible. It doesn't feel so far fetched because we've been building on it.
[00:17:10] I'm like super psyched about this. I am beyond psyched about this series. So I've got this beginning is the same. The end is the same. Not to each other, but throughout the series, uh, they're very similar. So that there's a bit of familiarity that if you've come to the class before you're like, oh yeah, we definitely did something like this last week. Okay. I kind of know where we're going with this because the more familiar you are, the more unconscious the movement can be. And you can kind of get into your flow state because you're not constantly thinking about everything that's happening. It's kind of like when we say it gets into your body, like that's what I'm talking about.
[00:17:48] I wanna create something where we can get into our body and because we're working with a prop and flow is a bit of a concern. I mean, flow is always something we're thinking about. How am I gonna get from exercise cluster to [00:18:00] exercise cluster with minimal disturbance and maximum movement. I'm thinking a lot about focusing on in that four class group of the foundational, really talking about different places we can put the foam roller. So we're gonna focus on foam roller under our upper back, doing a bit of a supported chest lift situation for us and talking about the foam roller underneath our hips, helping us with a lot of inversions, giving us that extra boost to get our legs up and overhead for corkscrew, for rollover, for Jack knife, for bicycle, for shoulder bridge, all of the above. Those are.- I mean there, the foam roller will be other places. I think we'll do a little bit of foam roller under our knees as well, but I'm trying to keep three, four ish roller places and really talk about, okay, what can I do with the roller in this position? And then, because I've got this series, I don't have to get through every single [00:19:00] exercise in every single class.
[00:19:02] So. In my first class, I'm doing 20 of the 34 exercises and just like one or two ways to do them. Like we're not diving super deep because I know that next week we can take the hundred where we had the foam roller under our upper back. And now we can put the foam roller under our feet. And how does that feel?
[00:19:20] You know what I mean? And that's probably another great thing about a class series is you don't have to put everything in and like completely blow everyone out of the water in this first class, you can really focus on a few things, go really deep into those things. And because it's the masterclass series, I also get to talk with you as a teacher while I'm teaching the class and be like, Hey, the reason I have the foam roller here is because I'm setting you up for success with the foam roller in this position, it's going to get harder than this, but this is where we're starting from, you know?
[00:19:57] Last thing I want to [00:20:00] say is that I will be running a workshop in July. I'm calling it working confidently with pregnant clients. It's gonna be a party. It is a workshop that is similar to, but not exactly the same as the workshop that I ran in February. I haven't put together the page and everything just yet, but that will be coming soon. I will tell you that the workshop is only available to members on my Buy Me A Coffee page. So that's a $5 contribution to the podcast project. You can sign up there at Buy Me A Coffee, and that is where the first bit of information will be coming. I'll also be posting about it on Instagram. But the way to guarantee that you are in the know and have first dibs to sign up for this really awesome online workshop opportunity- that I will be recording this [00:21:00] time because I pay for Zoom now. It's gonna be great. Visit that Buy Me A Coffee page. There will be more information about it there. And I hope to see you there.
[00:21:09] Big thank you to my current supporters on Buy Me A Coffee. I appreciate you. And I'm looking forward to answering your questions and getting to chat with you more in this workshop. I hope you have a great couple of weeks and I'll chat with you again soon.
[00:21:26] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming. great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.
[00:21:55] The adventure continues. Until next time.