Clinical Pilates

Clinical Pilates

*(Please excuse my nasal voice!)*

Have you heard of Clinical Pilates, but not sure how it differs to ‘regular’ Pilates? Well let me explain…

What is it?:  Clinical Pilates is a specific form of pilates that is personalised with a specific program and goal. The program usually focuses on rehabilitation from injury or pain, injury prevention (prehabilitation) or elements of both!

What’s the difference?: Pilates, in general, is a form of exercise that focuses on strength, control, and mobility of the body through specific movements. Group fitness pilates is designed for a more generalised full body approach, which can still be a good option for those without an injury or a specific goal. Clinical Pilates is quite simply a more tailored approach typically under the guidance of a physiotherapist.

Why do it?: The clinical pilates approach has shown to be effective in improving overall strength, mobility, coordination and balance which can help you return to activity after an injury or surgery or improve conditions such as back pain. It is often used in conjunction with hands-on treatment in the early stages, but then often becomes the core component of an ongoing rehab or prehab program.

The equipment: The key pieces of equipment used in clinical pilates include the reformer, trapeze table and the wunda chair. They use springs with varying tension and your body weight to create resistance which makes it harder or easier to move the equipment, depending on the exercise.

Which exercises are best?: There are a huge number of different exercises and variations that you can do and this is determined by the physio creating your program, depending on your goal and your level of experience. Sometimes we actually make the exercise more difficult by making the tension lighter, so your body has to work harder to control the equipment as often heavier springs will actually help you more!

How often?: 2-3 times a week for up to an hour is ideal, but often there are other factors that may hinder this such as your financial position. This is why many clinical pilates studios offer small group options (often 3-4 people), where you are still working on your individual program and are supervised by an appropriate professional, but the costs are then significantly reduced.

If you have pain or injury: Don’t be afraid to start if you have an injury, because as I mentioned it can actually be a useful tool in recovering from injury. But it is important to differentiate between clinical pilates and fitness pilates to ensure the exercises are appropriate for you.

Where to start: So no matter what your level of fitness is or your goal for starting, the first point of call is to book an appointment with a clinical pilates trained physiotherapist to discuss your options and work out what scenario will best suit you.

To find a physio in your area of Australia or New Zealand click here.

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