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 Pilates Science on Muscle

The chronic shortening or engagement of muscles visible in repetitive movements


Pilates cross-training is in its own nature of sequential movements while engaging the pelvic floor. Our body flexes, extends and rotates thus we are forever searching for balance in the front, back and sides of the body to execute movements effectively as well as safely. A common place of imbalance is the hip flexors. The hip flexors are the three muscular options for bringing the legs closer to the trunk and with good posture and movement they all work together. The Sartorius is the longest muscle in the body. It begins on the upper rim of the pelvis crossing the thigh, attaches on the outside of the knee and gets a functional assist from the femur bone with which it articulates. In addition, to its role as a hip flexor, the sartorius abducts or pulls away and laterally rotates the hip, and helps with knee flexion. Picking up your foot to look at the bottom of your shoe displays the sartorius in action.


The Psoas muscle, of the three hip flexors, is the strongest and the only one that connects to the spine. Can you say serious strength! The Iliopsoas, regarded as a single muscle, aslo the meeting of the psoas major muscle and the iliacus. The iliacus lines the wall of the pelvis before the common tendon with the psoas major to connect at the lesser trochanter a small bump of bone on the back half of the inner thigh. The psoas major connects along the lower spine.


Practicing Pilates assists to identify and stregthen specific muscles. Strengthening comes with the knowldge and application in a sequence of movements inititaing from the center of the pelvis and up the spine. Pilates is the stabilizer system and at an advanced level the breath and the breathing. Note that the stabilizer muscles build slowly and over time. Pilates requires discipline, focus, persistence and patience.

Pilates Science on the Pelvic Floor

Pilates to strengthen the pelvic floor


The pelvic floor muscles are the bedrock for the center of the body. The pelvic floor stabilizes the pelvis which supports the vital organs of the low abdominal region. The pelvic floor muscles, and the deep muscles of the back and abdomen are the group of muscles developed in Pilates.


The pelvic floor muscles are like a web of connected muscles, tendons and ligaments that form a bowl at the base of the pelvic floor. A major muscle is the pubococcygeus, or the PC muscle, which goes around the openings for the urethra, vagina, and the anus. When the pelvic floor muscles are weak or damaged, these areas become compromised.


Childbirth, chronic couging, aging and inactivity are among the causes of weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles. The weak pelvic floor leads to abdominal and back pain, incontinence, diminished sexual enjoyment, and a dropping of the internal vital organs into the pelvic muscles which results in prolapsed uterus or bladder. A qualified practitioner will assist the client with learning how to properly find and engage the pelvic floor muscles. Such, firm sustained engagement of the muscles are an essential part of the Pilates program. In addition, there is a certain degree of engagement that is necessary for different exercises. The practitioner will assist the client in knowing which exercises require which level of intensity. Here, intensity is measured with exertion.


Pilates Science on Stress

Pilates exercises reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress


According to a research team, at Princeton University, physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress and anxiety are greatly reduced and less likely to interfere with the functioning of the brain. Exercise not only reduces anxiety but also promotes growth of new neurons in the ventral hippocampus. It is these young neurons which are more exciteable than the more mature counterparts. According to science, there is a higher likelihood of anxious behaviour in less physically fit humans. With that, anxiety often manifests itself in avoidant behavior, according to Neuroscience Institute at Princeton. The original paper, "Physical Exercise Prevents Stress-induced Activation of Granule Neurons and Enhances Local Inhibitory Mechanisms in the Dentate Gyrus," published May 1 in the Journal of Nuroscience. This research also supported by the National Institute of Mental health grant.



Pilates Science on Your Sport

Developed abdominal muscles close to spine prevent injury and greatly enhance sport performance.


Athletes looking for a competitive edge are using Pilates to get it! Whether a weekend warrior, young athlete or an elite athlete Pilates will elevate the athletes sports performance and reduce risk of injuries too. Pilates builds strong stabilizer muscles, increases strength, flexibility while improving posture, stability and alignment. Pilates greatly enhances the athletes spatial relations in movement enhancing control and force. Many sport injuries are caused by muscle imbalances and shortening of the muscles usually from overuse syndrome (tight hamstrings). Most athletes do not focus on the postural or pelvic floor muscles which lead to muscle imbalances and weakness. Any combination of muscle imbalance leads to injuries. Knee injuries are the most common associated injury resulting from muscle imbalances and overuse. Degrading the tissue, misalignement, repetitive movements lead to wear and tear. The degradation of joint tissues leads to intra articlular deformities which lead to clicking, grinding, and joint ticking, to name a few.


Important to note, a qualified Pilates practitioner will teach the athlete how to move differently learning to lengthen the muscles, reduce load bearing at the feet avoiding injury issues. The knee joints primary plane of movement is in the sagittal plane, which means that the joint is most comfortable with flexion and extension. Talk of turning the knee in and out, medial and lateral roation, usually means rotation at the hip joint. A fundamental principle in the Pilates method of movement is training the body to move from a rotation at the hip to reduce impact upon the joints, ligaments and the knees. Proper alignment and movement reduces impact on the extremeties. Very important to note that where awareness and control are not cultivated at the hip and the knee coupled with a fixed foot in weight bearing activity, opens great potential for knee issue regardless of how strong the muscles around the knee are. The Pilates practitioner will guide the athlete via verbal cueing and feedback to maitian control and alignment at the hip joint which ensures proper positioning of the knee and hip. This prevents unwanted rotation at the knee joint during loaded knee flexion.


Pilates is the fastest growing exercise method in the world. The benefits of added strength, length, agility and injury prevention puts Pilates at the top of the list for athletes. Physical therapists all over the world are using Pilates as a form of rehabilitation. The success with Pilates is credited to the principles of the method. Pilates exercises can be modified for any person. The client moves from the basic movements to very advanced moves depending upon individual needs.

Pilates Science on Fascia

What you need to know about the Fascia






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