What is Clinical Pilates?
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on core stability, balance, control, strength, posture, breathing and flexibility. Joseph Pilates developed the Pilates Method in the early 20th century in Germany. After suffering from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever he looked for a solution to his health problems through an exercise regime. He collected exercises from Yoga, Zen meditation and the rigorous exercise regimes of the ancient Greeks and Romans. He improved and trained his body with great success, becoming an exceptional athlete and teacher of movement. With Pilates, you may be able to do the same.

Clinical Pilates is often used in conjunction with physiotherapy as a means of treating a variety of injuries, particularly those with chronic neck or back pain. This view is based on the literature that demonstrates strong evidence to support the use of therapeutic exercise in the management of patients with injuries, particularly lower back pain. Recent research advocates the retraining of the deep stabilizing muscles for patients with lower back pain. Clinical Pilates focuses on the retraining and recruitment of these stabilizing muscles (core stability) as well as improving posture, strength and flexibility to enable you to move easily with less effort, so it will definitely help you to pursue a normal life with less pain due to routine work and stress.

Why do Clinical Pilates?
Pilates is extremely beneficial for patients with certain injuries but it needs to be specific to the individual and not used as a generic tool for everyone. Clinical Pilates (as distinct to generic Pilates classes) identifies this key issue by applying carefully selected exercises to patients with specific injuries. This is done by the physiotherapist who has specific knowledge in this area. This ensures optimal gains whilst minimizing the likelihood of injury aggravation. If you are interested in trying Pilates for your injury, it is essential to have a review with a physiotherapist to assess the suitability of a core stability program for you.

However, it is not necessary to have any injury to start Pilates classes. Whether you are looking for a new activity to keep you in shape, are keen to try something new or want to get back in shape, Pilates is a great option. A fantastic, non- strenuous or non-sweaty way to build strength and improve flexibility and posture, Pilates is recognized by more and more people as a way of staying in good shape or getting back on track after a break.

During these on-floor training sessions, challenges do not only come from the progression of mat work exercises, but also from using a set of Pilates props (balls, foam rollers, magic circles, weights, elastic bands and other accessories)

Sandra Serrano

Physiotherapist/Nutrition Coach  

Elena Naranjo

Benefits of Clinical Pilates

There are numerous benefits to be gained from Clinical Pilates exercises. Some of these include:

  • Improved posture and core stability
  • Increased muscular strength and flexibility
  • Prevention of injuries
  • Aiding rehabilitation
  • Restoration of normal movement patterns
  • Enhanced breathing control
  • Increased co-ordination and muscular control
  • Firmer and flatter stomach muscles
  • Improved overall body tone and fitness
  • Improved balance
Pilates Pregnancy

Beginning Pilates, first trimester.
It is important to ascertain the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, caution is required, as you are at risk of overstressing joints and ligaments, which already are loosened during pregnancy by the release of a hormone called relaxin.

Continuing Pilates
If you have regularly taken part in Pilates exercises prior to pregnancy and you wish to continue practicing them during your first trimester, please inform your instructor as soon as you know that you are pregnant. We can help you find alternative exercises if you experience discomfort while doing regular exercises.

Why is it important to do Pilates during pregnancy?

1. BETTER LABOUR: because it activates key muscles and strengthens them, and it helps you to breathe properly – a key part of Pilates –; it also encourages relaxation which contributes to diminishing the discomfort of contractions.

2. BOOST YOUR ENERGY LEVELS: Pilates will also help you boosting your immune system and circulation, and it will provide you the energy levels needed to enjoy your pregnancy with more pleasure. With Pilates, you will feel that you are better prepared for labor.

Pilates Principles

There are 6 basic Pilates principles that need to be applied to all Pilates exercises to ensure maximum benefit. These include:

1. Concentration
Focus on correct performance of each Pilates exercise and the specific muscles involved.

2. Centering
Focus on achieving a neutral spine and activating the core stabilizing muscles (pelvic floor and transversus abdominal) to support the lower back and pelvis. (To learn how to activate these stabilizing muscles see “Pilates – Before You Start”).

3. Control
Maintain optimal posture and control with all movements.

4. Flowing Movement
Work smoothly and efficiently with all movements.

5. Precision
Perform each Pilates exercise with attention to detail to ensure correct technique.

6. Breathing
Maintain relaxed, normal breathing throughout all Pilates exercises. Do not hold your breath.

Pilates After Pregnancy

It’s safe

The current guidelines advise waiting for 6 weeks if you went through a vaginal birth and within a range of 8-12 weeks for a C-section. Once you’ve passed these timescales, you’ll be ready to start building up your inner core strength in a safe way.

It improves Diastasis Rectus (DR)
Around 60% of women will experience DR during pregnancy. Through Pilates, women can strengthen abdominal muscles and avoid further issues down the line such as back pain or sciatica. Pilates emphasizes on the deep abdominal muscles, in particular the transverse abdominal muscle which helps stabilizing the lumbar spine and dealing with back issues.

It improves the pelvic floor muscle
Pilates teaches women to reconnect and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles to improve posture, core strength and stability.

It restores confidence and control
Pilates will teach you to listen, understand and re-connect with your body as you exercise. It offers you the opportunity to learn how to gain mindful control of core muscles which, in turn, is an excellent way to speed up post-natal recovery.

It’s sociable
Post-natal Pilates is sociable. Classes will be full of other mums who are often looking for the chance to socialize; consequently, you can meet and chat with like-minded women who are experiencing similar situations to your own.