POP Pilates – What is it?
POP Pilates is a total body workout that uses Pilates and Pilates-inspired movements and choreographs them to POP music. That’s what POP is in a nutshell, but it’s also more than that. While it works your whole body, it’s also melting your tension away, improving your posture, and increasing your flexibility and coordination.
Each track of music focuses on a different group of muscles. For example, there’s an Ab Challenge track that focuses on your abs, a Butt Challenge that uses moves designed to work your booty. Between each track is a period of silence that allows you to let your class know which track is up next and to explain how to do the most complicated move or the move that’s the most different etc.
While you work your entire body, it’s your core that gets the most focus. The full 55-minute class has 13 songs, 5 of them deal directly with the core while another 3 get pretty heavy with core muscles such as the Crazy Cardio track in POP 6. So while POP Pilates does work your whole body, your abs will get the brunt of the attack.
Two Kinds of Classes
There are two kinds of POP classes:
- Express – 30 minutes long
- Full – 55 minutes long
They’ll both give a good workout depending on how hard you push yourself, but the full 55-minute class gives the real burn. Which one people will like most depends on their fitness level and how long they generally like to exercise.
My Experience Teaching POP Pilates
I currently teach 2 Express classes at my local YMCA. Not many people have heard of POP Pilates in Nebraska and none at all knew about it in my town (small town at that) so it was a bit of a struggle to get people to come to my classes. Granted, I’m a super shy person so a “struggle” for me might not be a blip in an outgoing person’s hardship radar. I’ve heard of other instructors and their difficulties so, honestly, I think I lucked out with my Y.
The people at the Y loved the demo. The difficulty was in letting people know the class existed and convincing them to try it. Most of the time we used the word-of-mouth method and that’s worked out pretty well. When the weather cooled down, more people came inside so that was helpful. Summer was cruel though and we worried it might not work because I averaged 1 person per class. Literally. Some days I had 2, other days 0. It was touch and go for a bit until the weather cooled. Now I average about 6. My numbers still aren’t what other classes bring in but it’s still early days.
My POP classes are the highlight of my Tu/Th and I really enjoy making my students smile and sometimes even laugh. I take pride in watching them progress and in seeing their smiles. During the times when they really need no instruction at all (my ladies learn so quickly!), I’ll talk to them. I don’t try to be witty because I’m not a witty person, but I am silly so I let my silliness shine through and my reward is that everyone has a good time.
The reward I don’t look for and don’t expect happens when one of my students comes up to me after class and tells me what a good and fun teacher I am. I was always worried I wasn’t going to be good enough to do this so to hear that, not just from one student but several, makes me so happy. It touches me deeply and makes me even more thankful I have the job I do.
One woman told me what really made her feel motivated and good during class is that I didn’t make it look like it was easy for me. I understood her struggle because I struggled myself. I didn’t tell them to push themselves while keeping it easy for me. I pushed myself as well and when I couldn’t any longer, I admitted it and moved to a modification. I show there’s no shame in using modifications and that flexibility is a day-to-day issue. And what you can’t do in one round, maybe you’ll be able to do the next round.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy at a job before or ever felt so fulfilled. But while I enjoy teaching POP Pilates, I know that my enjoyment is due to my students. I have awesome students. Nobody complains, nobody is snarky. They have smiles, they’re willing to be led and to push themselves. They don’t leave in the middle of class. They’re a great group of ladies (no, I have no men yet though my husband does it at home with me sometimes and wholeheartedly agrees it’s a great workout) and I’m lucky to have them.
How To Get Certified?
Getting certified is super easy, though if you live in the States you might tack on some mileage to your car. There are 2 ways to get certified – live trainings for people living in the USA and online workshops for people who live outside the US.
The live training lasts about 8 hours including breaks. After that you’re given about 2 months to record yourself teaching a “real” POP Pilates class with at least 3 or 4 people for students and then you send the video in for evaluation. You get your results pretty quickly. I got mine in less than a week. For a list of training workshops in the US, click on the picture below…
If you live outside the US and are curious about the online workshop, I’ve heard from those who have gone this route that they are given all the materials provided in a live training – both printed (snail mail) and electronic (downloaded). You have a certain amount of time (12 weeks I think) to read through the materials, practice, and make/send an evaluation video. If you haven’t completed it by the end of your allotted time, I believe you have to start over (and pay more money) or you could e-mail the person in charge explaining your situation and ask for an extension. They’re pretty forgiving.
But, really, you’re given plenty of time to finish everything so there’s nothing to worry about. Seriously.
How Much Does It Cost?
The initial cost when you sign up for either the live training or the online workshop is $299. However, if you sign up at least 2 weeks in advance, you can use the code EARLYBIRD to get 15% off. After your practice video has been evaluated and you’ve passed, there’s an additional charge of $12.99/month for POP membership. That gives you unlimited access to the Instructor Portal, permission to use the POP Pilates copyrighted logo, and all new stuff that comes out.
If you want access to past POP choreography, that costs an additional $25 for each class you want. You don’t have to get the old choreography but they could prove helpful/useful if you want more tracks to choose from for your classes.
I know this sounds like a lot of money, but it’s still cheaper than other certifications out there. And you’re not required to get the past choreography so potentially you’d only have to pay that $12.99 monthly cost after you’re certified. Also, the certification doesn’t expire unless you stop paying your monthly dues so you won’t have to renew your certification.