“When I started teaching Pilates (not BASI Pilates at that time) I taught exercises randomly. It was like grabbing exercises from the air as they floated around without purpose. My appreciation for the BASI Block System began when I understood that, in a class of 12 clients, say, I could tailor the routine to the needs of each individual without teaching the same exercises to 12 people—while challenging all of them within their range of movement and ability.”

—BASI senior faculty, Theo van der Riet

The BASI Pilates Block System®

Devised by BASI Pilates founder Rael Isacowitz, the BASI Block System is a specialized ‘filing’ system for the hundreds of exercises in the Pilates repertoire. It categorizes them in a logical sequence that ensures the progressive structuring of classes within a flexible framework. This system is the foundation of the BASI methodology.

The Block System encourages progressive thinking within a structure. It enables the instructor to construct a class that is balanced and addresses all planes of movement and multiple muscle groups.

The Block System categorizes each exercise in the Pilates repertoire into one or more of 12 Blocks: Foot Work Spinal Articulation and Lateral Flexion are examples; and there are multiple exercises to choose from in each Block. The criteria which come into play when choosing an exercise include things like the experience, the level and goals of the client, the needs of the class such at the time, and the structure and flow.

The beauty of the Block System is that an instructor can construct a class that suits the ability of each client without compromising on their specific needs or restrictions. And, as BASI instructors gain experience they become ever more skilled at working with the many opportunities and intricacies of the Block System.

Put Your Career in Motion! Become a BASI Pilates Instructor

As is clear from the name, the Block System categorizes each exercise in the Pilates repertoire into one or more of 12 Blocks:

There are multiple exercises to choose from in each Block. The challenge for the instructor is often in deciding which exercise or exercises to choose. It takes years of experience and a very skilled instructor to fully understand and comprehend the many complexities and intricacies of the Block System.

The criteria which come into play when choosing an exercise include:

  • Experience of the client, e.g. 6 months, 2 years
  • Level of the client, e.g. beginner, intermediate
  • Goals of the client, e.g. posture, weight loss
  • Restrictions, e.g. injuries
  • Specific population, e.g. athlete, dancer, mature client, pregnant client
  • Time available, e.g. 30 min to 60 min
  • Progressive class structuring, e.g. from session 1 to 20
  • Maintaining flow throughout the session
  1. Warm Up
  2. Foot Work
  3. Abdominal Work
  4. Arm Work
  5. Leg Work
  6. Full Body Integration
  7. Hip Work
  8. Spinal Articulation
  9. Stretches
  10. Lateral Flexion
  11. Lateral Rotation
  12. Back Extension
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