– Course Outline and Structure

Matwork and beyond

Our reputation and success are built on the effectiveness and accessibility of our method, the detail of our teaching, the unrivalled support that we offer, and the experience and commitment of our tutor team.

The entry point to, and foundation of, our education programme is the matwork teacher training course. The most comprehensive course of its kind available, this provides an excellent basis on which to build a successful teaching career. Yes, this is probably the most demanding course you can undertake but you can have absolute certainty that when you graduate from this course you are absolutely ready to teach!

By enabling students to train initially in matwork, we have segmented our overall training programme into realistic – and affordable – stages. Students who wish to eventually train in machine work or with ‘special populations’ may do so after gaining their Matwork Certificate and will then have the added benefit of being able to use actual teaching experience as a foundation in their further training.

During the matwork course you will:

  • cover more than 100 matwork exercises, enabling you to work with a broad range of clients
  • look in depth at the Pilates Fundamentals and ABCs (alignment, breathing, centring (core stability))
  • learn how to assess clients and adapt exercises so that the client can achieve their goals safely and effectively
  • familiarise yourself with a range of teaching techniques and cues that you can employ when teaching groups or 1:1s
  • gain valuable ‘real life’ teaching experience by working with our supervising teachers – an opportunity that is unique to Body Control Pilates students – and in our student workshops.
  • work with a large number of tutors and supervising teachers and build important contacts to help you when you begin to teach
  • study anatomy in the context of Pilates exercises

Our main base for Contact Days and face to face workshops is The Body Control Pilates Centre in London, but we may also hold some sessions in Edinburgh or Glasgow as needed and if numbers allow. No matter where you are based, you have access to direct support from our Student Support Team and from our national network of supervising teachers. That network ensures that most students can undertake much of their practical (supervised teaching) work closer to home.

Course Structure

A course will typically have a maximum of 12 students (this may vary for operational reasons). The period of time between a student starting the matwork course and gaining Certification is open-ended (maximum time period for completion is nominally two years, though exceptions can be granted). A student is ‘signed off’ and receives certification once they have successfully completed all elements of the course.

The key elements of the Body Control Pilates matwork course are:

Tuition – online

Our matwork course curriculum is broken down into 13 tuition modules covering topics on both a theoretical and practical basis, along with anatomy as relevant. These are:

  • Introductions and Course Structure. Review of Movement. The Eight Principles of Body Control Pilates.
  • Pelvis and Spine
  • Breathing and Relaxation
  • Stability (Centring)
  • Shoulder Girdle
  • Hip and Knee
  • Ankles, Feet, Wrists, Hands
  • Anatomy Review Day
  • Classical Pilates
  • Precision of Movement
  • Client Enrolment – discussion and roleplay. Movement Assessment practice.
  • Lesson Planning and Teaching Skills. Movement Assessment roleplay.
  • ‘Last Day Module’ – completing the course; the Body Control Pilates Association; setting up your business.

These will take place on Zoom with typically four hours of live tutorials each day.

Tuition – face to face

There will then be five face to face Contact Days at the Body Control Pilates Centre (or Edinburgh as appropriate) focusing mainly as follows:

Day 1: Teaching Cycle & Teaching Skills. Review of Pelvis and Spine exercises

Day 2: Review of exercises from the Breathing and Relaxation and Stability modules

Day 3: Upper and Lower Limb

Day 4: Group Teaching Work

Day 5: 1:1 Teaching Work (1:1s are sessions where you just teach one person, sometimes known as ‘privates’)

Practical Assessment

An informal one-hour assessment taken after completion of the online modules as and when each student feels ready. In this assessment a student demonstrates their working knowledge of the key exercises before being able to begin their supervised teaching period or join any workshops related to teaching skills and practice. This can be taken online or face to face.

Supervised Teaching

The opportunity for students to learn and refine their practical teaching skills. This period commences after the end of the formal tuition sessions, and involves students assisting in classes, workshops or studios – and eventually teaching clients whilst under supervision.

‘Supervised Teaching hours’ can be gained on a face to face basis by working with local teachers (Body Control Pilates has a network of supervising teachers around the UK) and by attending student workshops at our Centre in London. There is also an option to attend some online workshops. This period is open-ended (typically 50 hours) and students receive a ‘signoff’ when a senior supervising teacher considers that they are ready – at that point, students are ready to teach their final Assessment Class. Please note that we work on the basis that a student is “ready when they are ready” and that 50 hours is a guideline only. Some students are ready to take their final assessment much sooner, whilst others need longer. Our course structure fully accommodates this.

Whilst we are enabling students to gain some supervised teaching practice online, this period obviously includes an important face to face element requiring work with our supervising teachers and workshop attendance.

Group Lesson Plans and Assessment Class (‘Sign-Off Class’)

Students must plan a series of six progressive Lesson Plans for a group matwork class and deliver part of one of these under assessment in order to receive their final certification. You will be teaching a group of fellow students.

1:1 Lesson Plans and Assessment

Students are also assessed teaching a 1:1 session to a fellow student as part of the overall certification. This takes place during Contact Day 5. Ahead of this, you are asked to put together six 1:1 lesson plans – you teach five of these to a fellow student during the course (these are to be logged, but are not observed or assessed). Your sixth lesson plan is submitted for marking and you teach part of that on Contact Day 5 under assessment.

Anatomy Examination

All students must pass a multiple choice exam on anatomy and physiology. Questions are based on course materials provided and the exam can be taken online and booked whenever the student feels ready.

Course Work and Self-Study

Students are asked to submit two short essays answering questions designed to demonstrate an understanding of key Body Control Pilates principles. These can be submitted at any time.

Students are also given material to study on a ‘guided learning’ basis, including elements related to health and safety. Questions related to the content of this must be answered and submitted by the student before they can gain certification.

Self-Practice Hours

As you work through the course, you should continue to practise Pilates exercises in a face to face or online class and also in your own time. This is important in developing your understanding of the exercises covered in the course. You are asked to keep a log of 50 hours showing a mix of class attendance and self-practice. We ask you to submit this at the end of the course – this is a requirement of the matwork standard. We give you a template for this log.

Student commitment

By joining a course, each student is deemed to have accepted the guiding principle that, unless they hold a prior, recognised qualification to teach Pilates, they will not teach Pilates classes on a paid basis until they gain full certification. Under no circumstances, may a student offer Body Control Pilates classes until after they have gained certification. Body Control Pilates course management reserves the right to ask a student who breaches this principle to leave the course with immediate effect. Students are, however, encouraged to practise teaching exercises, without payment, to family and friends as long as they are aware that the student is not yet qualified. This really helps in building confidence and in the student becoming familiar with giving verbal cues and directions.

If, after starting a course, our teaching staff feel that a student is making unsatisfactory progress or is struggling to take on board the fundamentals of the method, we reserve the right to ask them, after due consultation, to discontinue their participation in the course. We hold this policy to be in the best interests of both parties. This is covered in our Terms and Conditions.

This page was updated on January 22nd 2024