REPs Registrar Jean-Ann Marnoch has responded to an article published in the Daily Mail claiming Pilates could have hidden dangers and make bad backs worse.
The article tells the story of a woman who has scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) who took Pilates classes shortly after giving birth. She told the Daily Mail the exercises aggravated her weakened spine causing one of her discs to rupture.
Registrar Jean-Ann Marnoch commented: “The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) was set up to deal with this very issue of inappropriately qualified instructors.
“Using National Occupational Standards written by SkillsActive, the sector skills council for the industry, we’ve established various levels of membership which band fitness professionals according to their qualifications.
“Currently only fitness professionals with an approved level 3 certificate in Pilates can register with us as Pilates teachers. Pilates is graded as a level 3 qualification which reflects the level of expertise needed to teach it properly.
“Pilates is a very well-established and structured discipline and should only ever be taught by an appropriately qualified instructor. Taught well, and in small groups, it is a highly effective exercise discipline.
“However, as demonstrated in the article above, taught carelessly it can (as can any exercise) exacerbate a pre-existing condition.
“Any instructor worth their salt will check a clients’ health before embarking on an exercise regime with them and work with their personal health and physical limits.
“All 29,000 plus REPs’ members (including 1,700 Pilates instructors) have their qualifications listed on the REPs’ register which members of the public can access for free via http://www.exerciseregister.org
“REPs would urge any person wanting to use the services of a fitness professional (no matter what they teach) to ask if their instructor is REPs’ registered and verify their qualifications. In the same way you wouldn’t use a non-Gas Safe registered engineer to service your boiler you should check your instructor is REPs’ registered.”