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Everybody talks about Pilates. I use it in my practice. But what actually is it?

Pilates is an exercise system, which aims to work the body as a whole. By stretching and strengthening the muscles, working on core stability, improving posture and focusing on your breathing, pilates can give you a full work out.

I tend to use pilates exercises when treating my clients. Particularly for people with weak core muscles, when I ask them to exercise they tend to hold their breath. And I completely understand why they do it, however I see this as a form of cheating. We as “normal” healthy individuals tend to hold our breath when having to carry or lift heavy items to stabilise our core. By doing this however, we’re not letting the oxygen reach our muscles and our muscles subsequently fatigue quicker. This is why taking regular breaths is so important when exercising and why pilates focuses on correct breathing techniques.

Let me give you some examples of pilates exercises that I use to help target different conditions:

If for example you have weak hip muscles, or in medical terminology weak gluteus medius, maybe due to being after some sort of hip surgery, you can target the specific muscle by doing a pilates exercise called the clam.

pilates-exercises

If you are suffering with a neck condition and your posture is poor, you can do the following pilates exercise which aims to work your shoulder blades and neck muscles, as you can see below.

pilates-neck-exercises

Pilates exercises have different levels for different abilities, and there are a range of exercises to target all the areas of the body.

Written by Hily Perpinyal, Chartered Physiotherapist

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