– 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 also hold some sessions in Edinburgh  as needed. No matter where you are based, you have access to direct support from Ella and her 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 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:

  • Introductory Module, including joints and planes of movement
  • 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 and Assessment
  • Lesson Plans and Teaching Skills
  • Last Day Module – completing the course

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

Tuition – face to face

There will then be four 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

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 core 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. Body Control Pilates has a network of supervising teachers around the UK. 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 obviously includes an important face to face element requiring work with our supervising teachers and workshop attendance.

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.

Written Examination

All students must pass two written exams (multiple choice). One exam relates to anatomy and physiology, the other to Principles of Fitness. Questions are based on course materials provided and these exams can be taken online and booked whenever the student feels ready.

Students will additionally be required 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 ‘directed 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.

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.

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.