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Clinical Pilates is set up as a low impact form of exercise focused on the recruitment, integration and co-ordination of deep spinal and pelvic stabilising muscles. Whether you are trying to recover from injury or using it is a preventative tool or performance enhancer, it can be difficult to know how to maximise the benefits you can get out of it.
How do I get the best results with Pilates?
Sometimes small errors in technique, posture or execution can compromise the benefits you want to achieve in Clinical Pilates. The first one to remember (and often the first one that is forgotten as exercises get harder) is finding a ‘Neutral Spine’. This refers to the position of your ribs and lower back relative to your pelvis. Completely flattening your spine, (very common trick!), or letting your back arch too much, can lead to cumulative and unnecessary stress on your spine. Ideally you would have the base of the ribs and the hip bones in alignment as you work in any posture. This reduces the loading to the joints, discs and muscles around the lower back, and allows a stable base for your core muscles to work from. This should be applied in the set-up of all exercises and ideally through the day as well.
To find your ‘Neutral Spine’, practice rolling the hips forward and back to either extreme, then settle somewhere in the middle. Try to apply this to all postures through the day. Before you know it – you will be setting it automatically!
As you improve with your core control and muscle activation, harder exercises will be needed to continue to advance your strength and control. These should be targeted at you specifically and increased at a rate that your body is able to cope with. The exercises should be challenging yet achievable without aggravating any injuries you may have. A little general muscle achiness over the next few days is expected.
How often should I do Pilates?
They say repetition is the mother of learning and this is especially true of Clinical Pilates. In order to maximise your benefits over a short period of time, do more classes! Optimally 2-3 sessions a week will give you a much quicker improvement than 1 session per week. One session will still give you some good benefits however the improvements are likely to be a little slower.
Remember if you are just starting out 2-3 classes should be a maximum. Your muscles will still need some time to recover. As you get more advanced, you may even do more than 2-3 sessions weekly.
How do I know if I’m doing Pilates correctly?
If you are not sure about anything, be sure to ask your physio. The more feedback you get, the more confident you will be in performing the exercise correctly, and therefore the more benefit you will get.
Ideally smaller classes are better for this (usually 4-7 people) or if you require more precise feedback you may even consider doing a duet *it is always more fun with a friend).
For these reasons at Sydney Physio Solutions, we deliberately keep our classes small and personalised in order to maximise the benefits and recovery you can achieve through Clinical Pilates. If you would like to know more then call 9252 5770 and one of our friendly team would be happy to speak to you about it. Remember the sooner you get started, the sooner the benefits begin!