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What is Clinical Pilates

February 2, 2017

 

You may have tried “Pilates” at your local gym in the past, and maybe even wondered how it differed from Clinical Pilates.

 

Clinical Pilates is a highly individualised form of traditional Pilates, performed under the instruction of Physiotherapists who have completed formal Pilates training.

 

Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing. It involves specific exercises designed to improve the way in which you move in all aspects of life (work, posture, sport/exercise).

 

Clinical Pilates works the 'real' core

The core muscles are made up of the deep abdominal transverse abdominis that wraps around the front of your trunk, the multifidus muscles at the back along the spine, the diaphragm as the roof and the pelvic floor and hip girdle muscles as the bottom.

As a unit these muscles work like a corset that supports and braces the body and the spine. Research has shown that in normal healthy subjects, the transverse abdominis muscle activate just before limb movements to protect and support the spine.

 

Clients often say they have a good "core" from working out in the gym doing exercises such as crunches, ab wheel, leg raises, Russian twists or mountain climbers. While these exercises are working the abdominals; they are using big prime mover abdominal muscles such as the "6-pack" or rectus abdominis which is responsible for a sit up or crunch and obliques which twist your trunk.

If your ‘real’ core isn't functioning properly, this may hinder your movement, performance and even lead to injury.

 

Clinical Pilates focuses on triggering the ‘real' core, which isn't as simple as having a good posture and "sucking your belly button in" when performing exercises. The initial assessment is important. We (Physiotherapist) want to know your previous history of injury, current general health status and level of core activation. This provides us a baseline from which to work. The initial assessment also involves learning simple core activation exercises using cues to make sure you're working the right muscles and that those muscles are working in synergy with the rest of your body. 


Breathing is also an important component of Pilates. As the diaphragm makes up the roof of the core cylinder, it is important it’s functioning properly as your move. Holding your breath and bracing is not encouraged.

 

Clinical Pilates is both specific and versatile

Clinical Pilates, like Physiotherapy, is goal focused. We want to know what you want to get out of it. This can be as simple as wanting an enjoyable form of somewhat challenging exercise to wanting to improve the body's movement efficiency to pursue a marathon PB. No matter what the goal, Clinical Pilates always works from your baseline core level and progresses as able with a focus and direction toward your overall goal.

 

For example, we will initially focus specifically on activating your 'real' core.  This is usually done on a floor mat, lying down using cues and triggers to get that deep core cylinder firing. Those real core muscles are there (they haven't gone anywhere), but the message from the brain to the core may not be clear and so we need to focus on getting the message through.

 

This requires a lot of concentration which is why it's usually done lying down, so all other muscles can relax. Once we're confident you have good activation and control at the basic level, you will be progressed to exercises that are more challenging, involving lifting of limbs, use of weights and reformer (Pilates equipment) exercises.

 

You don't have to be in pain to benefit from Clinical Pilates

Clinical Pilates is not just for people in pain or recovering from an injury. The benefits of Clinical Pilates include improved muscle strength and control, core stability, flexibility, agility, and several other key performance factors.

 

Clinical Pilates can give you that competitive edge

The benefits of Clinical Pilates translate to improved global function and enhanced athletic performance, giving both amateur and professional athletes an edge over their competitors. Your personalised Clinical Pilates program will be tailored according to the specific

demands of your sport.

 

To enquire or book Clinical Pilates call Elite Physiotherapy on 89418555.

 

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