Core Stability and Pilates

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To put pilates in the right context, this explanation by Dr. Arron G. Miller is perhaps more concise:

Pilates Core Concepts’ Core Stability Training
Top pilates instructors recommend that when choosing the right instructor to check if the instructor is able to practice rehabilitative work and is trained accordingly. This is particularly important, as the instructors have to monitor clients that have existing medical conditions. All Core Concepts’s trainers are qualified physiotherapists with in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology.They also each have over 4 years of clinical rehabilitative experience at leading medical hospitals and private physiotherapy practices treating clients with acute and sub-acute conditions.  Their experience allows us to accept clients with medical conditions such as slipped disc and osteoarthritis.
Pilates teachers are movement therapists. Pilates exercises work all areas of the body while avoiding muscle imbalances in the body. Core stability training focuses specifically on strengthening and improving control of the deep core muscles in the abdominal areas, shoulders and neck.These core muscles are stabiliser muscles that support your spinal area. The objective therefore is to achieve stability of the spinal area while moving as opposed to moving to work all areas of your body.
Pilates does not always maintain a neutral spine position with some movements adopting a “flat” back posture (i.e. is pressing the small of your back flat onto the mat or floor). Core Concepts advocates the concept of maintaining “neutral spine” throughout the exercises as this is the natural position of your spine during your day-to-day activities.
Given the influence of dance movements in pilates, there is greater emphasis on improving flexibility, often with “end-of-range” movements. This is important for dancers who have to use their bodies in very balanced and extreme position. In addition, mat work in pilates is not encouraged unless the client is ready. Some of the mat work positions adopted are very challenging and clients risk injury if not done correctly. Improving flexibility through stretching is important to us and we incorporate them into our exercises. However, we do not take our clients to the “extreme end-of-range”for their movements, as they are generally not crucial for activities of daily living.In fact, clients already tend to spend more time in end of range positions e.g. slouching in front the computer or over the steering wheel, because the muscles are unable to hold the spine in its neutral position.
A pilates class size can be relatively large, some up to 15 clients per session or larger. Besides having a “strong and stable” form, movement flow, rhythm and pattern of breathing is emphasised. We keep our classes small, no larger than 6 clients per trainer.There are two aspects to training. The first is to demonstrate to the client the exercise. This is often something relatively easy to do for a large group of clients, which can even be done with a video tape.  However, the second important aspect is to observe the clients closely. This naturally limits the size of the class and is particularly important to us as some of our clients are recovering from existing medical conditions. While our trainers are more than able to observe a larger group of say 10 clients, we feel better to be on the conservative side in this area for the benefit of our clients. Core Concepts aligns exercises practices with research evidence with respect to spine mechanisms, known muscles imbalances and changes due to pathology.