You hear from a friend, your doctor, or family member that you should try Pilates.  You do what everyone does;  jump on the google to look for a local studio.    You wade through all the different types of Pilates.  Finally settle on a Classical studio.  You learn that Classical Pilates teachers are well trained.    You start to book a private then.. BAMM!  You are floored by the price. ”Who could afford this! Not me”.    

Looking at other Pilates programs you ask why is Classical Pilates so expensive compared to other Pilates studios?  What am I paying the extra money for?  Let’s examine why Classical Pilates is historically so expensive.  And what the Pilates School does to make it more affordable. 

What am I Paying More Money For?

First, a certified authentic Classical Pilates instructor is a rare gem. They are trained to “teach the body in front of them” while sticking to the original progression Joseph Pilates designed.  This knowledge is only passed down in a highly selective master teacher/ apprentice program.   Certified Classical Pilates instructors can use personalized exercise selection, modifications, hands-on, and verbal cues from workout to workout to create permanent change in their client’s body.   Most authentic  Classical Pilates instructors are apprentices for at least two years then teach postgraduate for five years because they are considered to represent authentic Classical Pilates.  This is why a Classical Pilates instructor is able to create such dramatic lifelong permanent body change in most of the clients.  

Secondly, you are also paying for access to expensive specialized equipment used to both challenge and support your body in the Classical progression.  The most common manufacturer is Gratz.  Each piece of equipment ranges from $1500 to $10K!  Yup you read that right, $10,000 dollars.  Moreover only a Classical instructor knows some of the special or would argue “secret exercises”on Classical equipment. In most cases it is only passed down from master teacher trainer to apprentice.  

Lastly,  Pilates is one of the few movement methods that have a very low risk of injury.   In fact Pilates is best known for how well it helps people recover from injury.   The training and the equipment with other overhead costs in a Classical Pilates studio mean their base cost per session will be high compared to other “regular” Pilates studios.  

These two reasons aside, one can make an argument Classical Pilates is an investment.  How much does a pin free hip or reaching your fitness goals worth?  How much a decade or more of quality of life worth?  So for most Classical Pilates instructors they feel they are giving you a priceless gift.  We agree Classical Pilates is a gift. 

Average cost by studio type

Pilates Studio Type Estimate Cost Per class Estimate Cost per Duet or Trio Estimate Cost per Private
15+ Class Only Studios $12.00-$18.00 No data – tend not to offer No data – tend not to offer
Private Focused Pilates Studios $20-$25 $45-$75 $85-$125
Classical Pilates Studios $20-$30 $45-$75 $90-$125+
The Pilates School SF $14.50-$30 $18-$55 $85-$125

What the Pilates School Does To Make Classical Pilates Affordable?

Classical Pilates can add years  to your life, but only if you can afford it.  Which most American cannot afford more than a fleeting session once or twice a month.   According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, “4 in 10 American could not cover a $400 unexpected expense.”  Those living paycheck to paycheck are focused on  Keeping food on the table and a roof over their families head. One can extrapolate that if 4 in 10 have little to no extra money after their essential bills, that another 3-4 of these 10 American must be relatively frugal with their discretionary spending.  Classical Pilates could cost  $500-$2000 per month for regular Pilates sessions that will yield permanent results. Meaning that for up to 8 of 10 Americans effective Classical Pilates training is unaffordable.  This is why we started The Pilates School SF.  

At The Pilates School SF we ask our members to be heavily involved in their learning process.  We “take you to school”.   You will have homework, tests, accountability and an expectation to be prepared for your class or session.   Our overall goal is for our members to gain complete ownership over their own personalized Pilates practice.  After our members “graduate” from our program most invest in an in-home piece of Pilates equipment thus eliminating additional cost for gyms memberships or expense private sessions.   

If I can pay less why are other studios more expensive?

We are not here to knock other Classical studios. In fact we need more Classical studios. Everyone should experience Classical Pilates.  Yet, you are right Classical Pilates is historically expensive when compared to other forms of Pilates out there.  

Hands down the best most effective way to learn and progress through the Classical Pilates progression is from 1-on-1 private session at least 2x a week.  Some studios offer duet and trio sessions to help with the costs, but you are still looking at a minimum of $35-$65 per session for a highly qualified instructor.  This is the business model that has been handed down from master to apprentice.

The Pilates School has the benefit of one of its owners is an area of study called Pedagogy. Meaning Ray knows how to take a huge vast area of movement study like Classical Pilates and add a structure to it that can be taught in personalized “chucks” to anybody with any fitness or life goals.  That mean A LOT of work for less money.   So most Classical studios  may shy away from working hard to make less money per client. But we are passionate about our mission and we believe that there is a larger appeal and more clients to be found from a more affordable method of teaching Classical Pilates.  

We believe that our members understand the precious gift that a guided path to lifelong health is worth 60-90 minute a week of homework to come to the studio better prepared and to gain a deeper understanding of the why behind your training is worth it in the end.  It is worth the trade of more time for the client for less money.  So far our theory has been proven right with members that have become Pilates experts for their own bodies.