Optimizing Movement Using Pilates at ProBalance

Optimizing Movement Using Pilates at ProBalance


Hi, Welcome to ProBalance, My name is Ada
Wells. I am a physical therapist and Pilates educator and I am owner of ProBalance. And
what I’d like to do is to give you a little bit of information, as an introduction, if
you’ve never done Pilates before or you’ve never done Pilates at ProBalance and what
makes us different. One of the biggest differentiating factors here at ProBalance is that all of
our physical therapists are comprehensively trained in Pilates and all of our fitness
Pilates instructors are also comprehensively trained as well as being used to working in
conjunction with our physical therapists with people who are of all levels…whether you’re
somebody who has come fairly fresh off of surgery or you’re still in rehab or coming
off of your rehab…all the way up the spectrum to people who are Olympic and professional
athletes, we’ve actually treated several Hall of Fame Athletes so this is something that
we really pride ourselves on, and it’s all about the quality. So when we’re talking about
the types of the things we’re looking for when we’re working with movement….and that
essentially is what Pilates is…Pilates is basically re-educating movement, training
movement so that when you go out and you add more repetitions, when you add more speed,
when you add more resistance to create power in your movement, you’re doing it from the
right place, and you’re creating an efficient pattern that doesn’t end up creating wear
and tear later on in the body. So with that, what I wanted to do is to quickly go over
6 principles of movement…these are from the Polestar Pilates principles and Polestar
is who I am an educator through, they’re an internationally very well known Pilates Teacher
Training Program. Here, we’re one of the few West Coast Teacher Training Centers in the
area so if you’re interested in that, we do that. But the first principle is Breath and
Breathing. Now that may seem like ,…hey, we all breathe, but what we try to do with
breath is to use breath to facilitate the motion that we’re looking for. If a person’s
having difficulty creating stability within the lumbar spine area, we can use exhalation
to help facilitate that. If we want to create more extension in the upper back, we can use
inhalation to facilitate that, and we do that with some very specific cueing that really gets
the person to create that movement we’re looking for. The second principle that we’re looking
for is what we call axial elongation and core control. What that means in English is that
we are looking to always create a sense of length, a sense of width so we have this elongation.
And when you create that…if you think about…even sitting there at home… if you think about
sitting as tall as you can, what you may…if you take a moment and think…ok…I just
did that…and feel within your body where that came from, that movement or that energy
where you just created that length, comes from your deep stabilizing muscles kicking in.
And those deep muscles are anticipatory muscles and you’re not going to be strengthening those
anticipatory muscles, it’s working on being able to get them to kick in when you need
it. So what we often times do is to cue a sense of length and that helps with that core
control, then you have enough control that you can still create movement. If we were
to give a cue like “squeeze” or “tuck”, those are kind of the “no-no” words around here…what
you’re going to find is that you’re going to overly-recruit and it’s going to be very
hard to create a flow or smooth motion and that’s not going to translate well when you’re
doing a functional activity…something like a sport…it’s not going to work. You need
to have stability with that mobility. So that’s the second principle…axial elongation and
core control. The third principle we’re looking at is called spine articulation and that’s
basically being able to move within each little vertebrae of the spine. The way the spine
works is that it’s composed of several vertebrae and if you’re having stiffness in a whole
region, like often times people will experience stiffness in the mid-parts of their back,
the thoracic spine, then what happens is that we end up creating excessive shearing forces
in other areas of the spine, and this isn’t ideal because then, when you’re creating excessive
shear, that’s where all of the wear and tear occurs. That may be where you have your symptoms,
you may have pain there, however, that may not necessarily be where your actual dysfunction
is. We would want to look a little bit above and below that segment that is getting…maybe
you’ve gotten the degeneration…the doctor says, “oh, I have arthritis there”. Well,
let’s see if we can create movement above and below that segment so now, instead of
all of your movement, whatever you do…a side bend, or a motion forward or back, you’re
not totally shearing at that one area…you’re distributing the forces and that actually
should take the pressure and take the symptoms away. So spine articulation is appropriate for most people, and if it
isn’t, we will typically…there may be some people who we might have to limit that early
on or with certain parts of their spine, depending on what they have for a certain time period.
Generally, that’s something that we want to be able to encourage because that’s what you
need for movement. So the third principle…sorry, we’ve got the fourth principle…so far we’ve
talked about breath, we’ve talked about core control and axial elongation, we’ve talked
about spinal articulation, and the next one is weight bearing and alignment through the
extremities. Now, what I mean by this if we were to look at the lower body and say you’re
doing something like a partial squat…if a person is having some mobility issues at
the ankle, the problem is that we’re going to start seeing the knees coming in, and when
the knees start coming in, they’re now out of alignment and that’s going to create all
the way up the kinetic chain problems. So, when we’re looking at how you’re weight bearing
and how you’re moving, part of what we’re doing is looking to see if there’s a structural
problem…hey, do I actually have some joint stiffness at the ankle you need to address
or is it simply you’ve never had anybody really tell you where you need to be placing your
body when you’re doing a squat. And we see this a lot, particularly with younger, female
athletes, where they may have the mobility, but they don’t know where they are in space
and so they may end up actually creating an injury with landing after they’re jumping,
say with basketball players, simply because don’t have that self awareness of alignment.
WE can be on the other end of that spectrum where you’re someone who…you’re middle aged…you’re
a senior, you’ve had some old ankle injuries from the past or you’ve had some other injury
further down the chain and there may be a structural limitation. So what we want to
do is create as ideal of an alignment as we can within your structural constraints. If
there’s something that a physical therapist can help you with, the physical therapist
can do that. If it’s something that…you know what…it’s there…it’s stuck…it’s fused…we work
around what you’re able to do. But the ideal thing is to have as good of alignment we can
through the extremities. It’s not only the lower body, but also the upper body. If you’re
on your hands and knees and you see a lot of forward head…for example, coming down
into quadruped, and I see a lot of this happen or I see pushups and people are way down here,
that’s going to not necessarily create the best position for your entire upper body…which
leads me to the next principle which is organization of the head, neck, and shoulders. That organization
of the head, neck, and shoulders is very important whether you are doing something where you
are lifting your shoulders over your head or you’re doing something where you’re on
your hands and knees or you’re pushing…what we called a closed chain movement. If you
do not have good alignment of those areas then problem is that…I always say that the
shoulder affects the neck…the neck affects the shoulder…you’re not going to be as efficient
in that pattern, you’re going to potentially set yourself up for injury either at your
neck or at your shoulder like I said…if you’re going on to exercises or activities
or sports that require you to move more rapidly and you don’t have this good organization,
that could be a problem later on. Finally, the last principle we’re looking at within
our Pilates movement classes and sessions is really movement integration. What that
means is we’re putting it all together. You’ll find that early on we’re cuing…it feels
like you’re getting all these messages to do all this stuff and I can’t keep it straight…but
actually, what starts happening is that your body starts to be able to put it all together
and to be able to organize multiple body parts so that when you do move your entire body,
it moves, once again, it’s flowing…it’s efficient. And this movement integration is
really…this is function…this is what you need to be doing when you’re out and about…when
you’re getting out of a car…when you’re shooting a basket…when you’re swinging a
golf club. It’s about being able to organize the body, moving efficiently. You have that
distribution of forces throughout, you’re breathing, and this is the essence of what we’re trying to do
with Pilates and why it’s such a great adjunct to your other workouts that you’re doing for
your own personal goals. So that gives you a little sense of what we do here at ProBalance…how
we integrate those principles, and I’ll have some other video podcasts on here that actually
show examples of this within specific exercises that you might end up encountering in a class
or if you’re working with a Pilates teacher or with a physical therapist one on one, you’re
going to be hearing these types of terms and you’re going to be…and they’re going to
be working with you specifically and some people have more difficulty with some of those
principles than others so depending on what your issue is, we will make sure that we address
it. So with that, welcome to ProBalance. Thank you for taking the time to watch this. It
will enhance your session, and we hope to see you soon.

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