What is Clinical Pilates?

by PhysioAdvisor Staff

Exercises > Pilates > What is Clinical Pilates?

Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing. The Pilates Method was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century in Germany. These days, Clinical Pilates is often used in conjunction with physiotherapy as a means of treating a variety of injuries, particularly those of the neck and back. This is based on literature that demonstrates strong evidence to support the use of therapeutic exercise in the management of patients with injuries, particularly low back pain. Recent research advocates the retraining of the deep stabilizing muscles for patients with low back pain. Clinical Pilates focuses on the retraining and recruitment of these stabilizing muscles (core stability) as well as improving posture, strength and flexibility.

Pilates

Although Pilates can be extremely beneficial for patients with certain injuries it needs to be specific to the individual and not used as a generic tool for everyone. Clinical Pilates (as distinct to generic Pilates classes) identifies this key issue by applying carefully selected exercises to patients with specific injuries. This ensures optimal gains whilst minimizing the likelihood of injury aggravation. If you are interested in commencing Pilates for your injury, it is essential to have a review with a physiotherapist to assess the suitability of a core stability program for you.


Pilates Principles

There are 6 basic Pilates principles that need to be applied to all Pilates exercises to ensure maximal benefit. These include:

1. Concentration

Focus on correct performance of each Pilates exercise and the specific muscles involved.

2. Centering

Focus on achieving neutral spine and activating the core stabilising muscles (pelvic floor and transversus abdominus) to support the lower back and pelvis. (To learn how to activate these stabilising muscles see Pilates – Before You Start).

3. Control

Maintain optimal posture and control with all movements.

4. Flowing Movement

Work smoothly and efficiently with all movements.

5. Precision

Perform each Pilates exercise with attention to detail to ensure correct technique.

6. Breathing

Maintain relaxed, normal breathing throughout all Pilates exercises. Do not hold your breath.


Benefits of Clinical Pilates

There are numerous benefits to be gained from performing Clinical Pilates exercises. Some of these include:

  • Improved posture and core stability
  • Increased muscular strength and flexibility
  • Prevention of injuries
  • Aiding rehabilitation
  • Restoration of normal movement patterns
  • Enhanced breathing control
  • Increased co-ordination and muscular control
  • Firmer and flatter stomach muscles
  • Improved overall body tone and fitness
  • Improved balance

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