Physio-led Pilates sessions versus regular Pilates sessions

Written by Deniz Birey.  Physiotherapist and APPI mat and reformer teacher.

At APPI clinics, we’re quite unique in that we offer both physio-led Pilates as well as your more typical Pilates which has grown enormously popular over recent decades.  In fact, many people are referred specifically to us at APPI because of our specialist physio-led Pilates approach.  This approach is in fact a journey which often begins with a physio-led Pilates programme and then progresses to a Pilates programme over time.   While, physio-led Pilates and Pilates sessions may sound similar, there are some clear differences in application and practice at APPI.  Here, we’ll explain these differences to help you choose the type of Pilates session which is best for you.  

Firstly, how is this possible? 

This is only possible because we have a diverse team of experts!  We comprise of Physiotherapists, who are also fully trained in Pilates, as well as Pilates instructors who are hand picked according to the highest training standards and experience. 

Secondly, are there any similarities?

Yes!  And before we outline the differences, it’s important to understand that there are overlapping key principles and elements that form the foundations of Pilates – regardless of whether it’s taught by a physio or Pilates instructor.  Additionally, all Pilates one to one sessions are tailored to individuals assessment findings and personal goals.  These are ranging and may include; improving posture, strength, learning to control our breath, improving control of the deep core muscles as well as improving flexibility and balance. 

So, here are the differences:

At APPI clinics, our physio-led Pilates service is unique in the following ways:

  • You will start with an assessment with one of our our physios to discuss current or past conditions and your personal aims.  Our physio will use this information to carry out a customised and functional assessment on your posture and movement control as well as your strength, endurance, mobility and flexibility where indicated.
  • Our physio will then create a customised and progressive Pilates programme to ensure you reach your personal goals and full potential.
  • The physio may use Pilates alongside other core physio skills such as manual or soft tissue therapy, acupuncture or dry needling, strength or balance training as a part of a wider rehabilitation program.
  • Our physios follow a highly integrative approach which is ideal for anyone recovering from an injury or illness or has a specific medical condition affecting their physical health and general well being as well as those preparing for or recovering from surgery.

At APPI clinics, our Pilates instructor-led service has the following key features:

  • You will start with an assessment with one of our Pilates instructors to talk about your aims as well as basic information on current or past injuries and how this may affect your day to day life.  Our Pilates instructor will then guide you through a movement based Pilates assessment.  Here they will be looking at your movement control and ability as you practice some Pilates key elements and movements.
  • Our Pilates instructor will then similarly create a customised and progressive Pilates programme to ensure you reach your personal goals and full potential.
  • Our Pilates one to one sessions are ideal for anyone following successful rehabilitation from an injury or surgery or once a medical condition has stabilised.  Pilates, with one of our highly trained Pilates instructors is the ideal and necessary progression on from a physio-led Pilates programme.  A Pilates instructor is best trained to continue progressing your programme to ensure that your developing control, strength, mobility and flexibility are maximised. 
  • Pilates one to one sessions are based on optimising movement, fitness and wellness in line with your own aims.
  • Our Pilates instructors utilise the vast repertoire that Joseph Pilates designed across the mat, reformer, cadillac, chair and barrels so that all programmes evolve significantly over time to ensure progression, variation and enjoyment. 
  • Pilates one to one sessions are the ideal starting place for anyone who does not have any injuries. 
Teamwork is dreamwork.

At APPI Clinics, our physios and Pilates instructors work very closely together to ensure a seamless transition from physio-led Pilates to Pilates.  A thorough handover from one team member to another is designed to make sure you have a smooth recovery or reach your Pilates goals the best way possible.  We also hold regular house mentoring sessions between our physios and Pilates instructors as well as more structured in-house development training.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss our physio-led and Pilates services further, please do get in touch at