Does pilates help with the core? YES! YES! YES!!!

Pilates is sometimes seen as either a group of people sitting around in a circle and humming to drums, an off shoot of yoga or some secret women’s thing! It’s also got some bas press at times for giving people bad backs or poor pelvic floors – but done correctly it’s a wonderful tool!

Pilates in a nutshell is about getting a decent core – it’s all about getting ISOLATED control of your spine and torso – so when you move your arms and legs the whole body doesn’t move with you! this differs to yoga as yoga moves tend to concentrate more on an all over stretch – where Pilates will make you isolate it – even if that means your range of movement is less.

You also need to have a decent amount of control first statically – IE not moving – so a lot of early stuff is done lying on your back and moving small amounts.

This is generally when people say – “but I’ve tried it from a DVD or did a class at the local centre with 30 others – i didn’t find it hard or didn’t feel anything”  answer -then you were doing it wrong!

You NEED someone to at least eye ball your technique who KNOWS what they are talking about. Those first few basic ex’s will set you up for everything else – is you can recognise that this is the RIGHT way to get your muscles working and that the wrong way feels like this which is BRACING and FIXING – then you can progress and learn and follow well as you have that basic background knowledge.

I have seen a lot of clients that have “been doing Pilate’s off a DVD or large class for years” and wonder why their posture hasn’t improved or why they still get pain – and the simple answer is they weren’t doing PILATES – they were doing an exercise but not  the correct technique.

An advanced Pilate’s practitioner will still be able to work and get a work out in a basic Pilate’s class as there is always something to improve on – wither technique/ breathing/ isolation/ etc etc etc.

Once you have got over that initial (sometimes frustrating)hurdle that is WHAT AND WHERE ARE MY CORE MUSCLES AND HOW THE HELL DO I KNOW WHETHER I’M DOING THIS RIGHT?! then the Pilate’s world is your oyster!

QUICK CHECK for isolated movement:

Stand side on to a mirror. Have a look at your spinal curve and keep an eye on your lower back and pelvis. Lift one leg up to hip height with a bent knee. Does your back and pelvis move? Most will flatten out the lower back and tuck the pelvis underneath – this means you have no isolated movement at the hip – so when you move your hips you move your back –

Think about it ! – it may explain why your back hurts when you go from sitting to standing or when you climb stairs – each time you move your leg you’re actually pulling and moving your lower back too! FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!!

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About Saree Hewlett (134 Articles)
Saree has 20 + years as a physio, training in the UK and completing her Masters in Manual Therapy in Perth, UWA. She has integrated Pilates into her practise having trained in the Polestar method and currently owns and runs two Studios in Perth's Northern Suburbs. A previous international Artistic Skater she understands the needs of sports people and also those suffering from chronic pain and reduced function - we all want the same thing - to be the best we can be! She is married with two active young boys!

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