Although Pilates can be extremely beneficial for patients with certain injuries it needs to be specific to the individual and not used as a general tool for everyone.
Clinical Pilates (as distinct to generic Pilates classes) identifies this key issue by applying carefully selected exercises on a one-to-one basis to patients with specific injuries. This ensures optimal gains whilst minimising the likelihood of injury aggravation.
It also provides an excellent platform to move forward into a classes based environment. Once the fundamentals for your problem are understood you can then have the confidence to move forward.
Principles of pilates
There are 6 basic Pilates principles that need to be applied to all Pilates exercises to ensure maximum benefit. These include:
Focus on correct performance of each Pilates exercise and the specific muscles involved.
Focus on achieving neutral spine and activating the core stabilising muscles (pelvic floor and transversus abdominus) to support the lower back and pelvis.
Maintain optimal posture and control with all movements.
Work smoothly and efficiently with all movements.
Perform each Pilates exercise with attention to detail to ensure correct technique.
Maintain relaxed, normal breathing throughout all Pilates exercises. Do not hold your breath.
Benefits of Clinical Pilates
A full assessment usually takes about 1 hour to identify any problems or potential problems. This is also time well spent if you are considering joining any class based activity.
There are numerous benefits to be gained from performing Clinical Pilates exercises. Some of these include:
- Increased muscular strength and flexibility
- Aiding rehabilitation
- Restoration of normal movement patterns
- Increased co-ordination and muscular control
- Enhanced breathing control
- Prevention of injuries
- Pre session training
- Improved overall body tone and fitness
- Improved balance
- Improved posture and core stability
Pilates where did it all start?
Joseph Pilates born 1883-1967 in Monchengladbach, Germany.
He suffered as a child with illness such as rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. Doctors at the time wouldn’t have predicted a long and fruitful life for Joseph. However as a boy he was determined to try and improve his health.
He studied exercise and experimented with various forms of exercise including yoga, martial arts, gymnastics, circuit training, weight training and dance. He later developed and designed a unique series of vigorous physical exercises that help to correct muscular imbalances and improve posture, coordination, balance, strength, and flexibility, as well as to increase breathing capacity and organ function.
He also invented a variety of machines, based on spring-resistance that could be used to perform these exercises.
There is a famous story about Pilates’ inspiration for his unique apparatus. Before World War One he was touring England as a circus performer and professional boxer, and even teaching self-defence to the Scotland Yard police force. But when war broke out, he found himself interned in England as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man.
The health conditions in the internment camps were not great, but Pilates insisted that everyone in his cell block participate in daily exercise routines to help maintain both their physical and mental well-being. However, some of the injured German soldiers were too weak to get out of bed.
Not content to leave his comrades lying idle, Pilates took springs from the beds and attached them to the headboards and footboards of the iron bed frames, turning them into equipment that provided a type of resistance exercise for his bedridden “patients”.
These mechanised beds were the forerunners of the spring-based exercise machines, such as the Cadillac and the Universal reformer for which the Pilates method is known today.
Pilates returned to Germany after the war, and his achievements with the German soldiers in the prison camp did not go unnoticed. In 1926, the Kaiser invited him to begin training the German secret police.
At this point Pilates decided to emigrate to the United States. He met his future wife and dedicated teaching partner, Clara, on the boat to New York City. Together they opened the first Body Contrology Studio on Eighth Avenue at 56th Street in Manhattan, in the same building as a number of dance studios.