Pilates has traditionally been a staple for dancers to improve posture and prevent injury.
Originally developed by Joseph Pilates (a gymnast and bodybuilder) during the Second World War, the idea for improving posture and strength was born in in what he termed “contrology”.
When most people think of Pilates, they think fit energetic women wearing Lululemon. There are a lot of studios that cater to that group.
For many it has helped them achieve health and fitness goals, improve posture and manage body aches and pains.
For some however, it is not that easy.
At some point 80% of people experience a significant episode of lower back pain in their life; 75% of those have a recurrent episode within one year, while a small percentage develop chronic lower back pain.
For those individuals, going to a class in a gym with 20-30 other people can be intimidating and frightening.
There are no assessments of their posture, muscle activation or movement patterns
There is little individual attention or correction when performing the exercises.
There is no accounting for any dysfunction that hasn’t been diagnosed.
Pilates has evolved over the years and in the physiotherapy field modified to account for injury and pathology.
Physiotherapists have a sound understanding of movement dysfunction and pathology of the spine and other areas such as the shoulder, hip and knee.
Those with injuries often benefit from being assessed prior to starting an exercise program. Once thoroughly assessed exercises can be designed around an individual’s injury and their physical limitations. In a small group setting, everyone can be closely monitored, corrected and given necessary modifications.
At the end of the day, whether in a gym, studio or physiotherapy clinic, the aim remains the same – to build a stable foundation through the trunk and pelvis (the core) to restore and refine functional movement patterns.