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How to Teach Pilates to Kids

How to Teach Pilates to Kids

Pilates benefits kids in many ways, from boosting physical fitness to increasing concentration in the classroom. But leading a Pilates class of kids can pose interesting challenges for the Instructor. Kids are less likely to stay still, or to follow detailed instructions, or to understand high-level fitness lingo. So what to do?

We asked Cathy Whitt, a certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to weigh in. Cathy runs Growing Healthy Kids, a program that sees her visit classrooms and parks to teach underprivileged kids Pilates. Here’s what she had to say.

Healthy and happy kids

Make it a Game

If you are teaching 5-10 year olds, turn Pilates into a game to keep up interest levels. Instead of Simon Says, try Pilates Says to get kids into poses.

Swimmer vigorously swimming

Identify Role Models

For older kids, 12-18, pique interest in Pilates by identifying some popular athletes or sports figures who do Pilates. This age group also has the ability to do real Pilates—they can concentrate and maintain focus in a way that younger kids simply can’t. You may be surprised to find that male students of this age really enjoy Pilates.

Kid on a trampoline

Harness the Energy

If you are teaching in a school, you may have large groups of kids—up to 30 or more—and there will be lots of energy. Help direct some of that energy by incorporating cardiovascular exercises into the program, such as running in place, jumping jacks or pretend jump rope. Move the group from standing to sitting poses frequently.


In a classroom setting, you may not have access to mats or props. Develop a routine that can be done standing and focus on balance and back extension. Kids need it from all the sitting and screen time they put in during school hours.

Take it Easy

Remember that kids do not use perfect form, and they like to fall. Don’t be too rigid with them. Let yourself go and let them have fun.

Make kids fitness fun

Save the Breath for Last

Working on breathing and educating kids on how to do it properly will help them calm down from the all the exercise and is a nice way to end the class.

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  1. Laura Fitch | Oct 25, 2017

    Hi Rose, 

    We asked Master Instructor Stefania Michas about how to modify the Jumpboard, and this is what she had to say: 

    "To modify Jumpboard exercises, I would recommend changing the gear bar and carriage settings to increase the overall range of motion of the carriage. Also, adjust the position of the feet on the Jumpboard to accommodate the client's programming needs."

    Hope this helps!

  2. Rose | Oct 21, 2017

    I would love to start teaching my Grandchildren

    How do you modify jumpboard for short people 

  3. Michelle | Jun 30, 2017
    I love this! I am a STOTT certified instructor and have been teaching Pilates to elementary and preschool kids for the past two years in the Pacific Northwest. I really enjoy it. We make everything a game and the kids love every second. We integrate a meditation and mindfulness as well. Glad to hear other children are having similar Pilates opportunities.
  4. Anna | Mar 05, 2017
    I love reading such sort of posts.
  5. Cecilia | Sep 15, 2016
    Thank you! This is really helpful :)
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