Pilates: How it works
HOW PILATES CAN AID REHABILITATION
WHAT IS IT
Rehabilitation is the process in which we aim to improve movement function following an injury. It involves restoring strength, flexibility, endurance, and power of the muscle, with an aim of reaching pre-injury levels in mobility, strength, and endurance.
Introducing a new or challenging exercise too quickly inhibits a muscle’s ability to adapt to the increased demands placed on it, limiting recovery and extending the rehabilitation period. Going too hard too quickly causes overuse injuries prolonging the primary injury through the use of incorrect form of the injured muscle(s). It also leads to compensatory muscles being used more than what was intended, leading to muscle imbalances and postural misalignment. Deconditioned muscles require a gradual and structured programme to rebuild strength and mobility, carefully timing the reintroduction of relevant exercises.
Key Injury Risk Factors:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscular imbalance
- Increase tension
- Limited range of movement
- Increase pain levels
- Poor posture
Using the principles of Pilates in rehabilitation programmes aids the restoration of muscle strength, endurance, and power, improving flexibility, proprioception and muscle activation.
Rehabilitation contains a range of techniques such as activation exercises, mobility movements and functional movement patterns. The adaptability of Pilates allows for exercises to be altered as improvement is made and ensure continued progress.
BENEFITS OF USING PILATES BASED EXERCISES
- Greater Functional Ability
- Improved Posture
- Prevention of Further Injury
- Improved Range of Motion
- Improved Athletic Performance
- Reduction in Pain
- Reduces Muscle Imbalances
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT AFTER REHABILITATION
As you come to the end of your rehabilitation programme set by your physio, the consequences of injury of muscle imbalances, muscle strength, muscle activation inhibition, and postural misalignment will need to be addressed in order to get back to pre-injury fitness levels.
RESTORING MUSCLE STRENGTH
First phase of rehabilitation is progressively load the damaged tissue to restore its strength (tensile strength). If load is too great it will fail and healing will go back to square one. If pain felt during or next day then means load was too high and needs to be reduced.
RESTORING MUSCLE ENDURANCE & POWER
Endurance is the muscle’s ability to work repeatedly without fatiguing. Muscles endurance is especially important in endurance sports (long distance running or cycling) but also important in sports such as rugby or football which involve repeated bursts of exercise (interval exercise).
Muscle endurance is also important for body’s core muscles which support the pelvis and spine and provides core strength whilst performing various exercises.
Muscle power is the ability to produce force more quickly. Vital in explosive sports such as sprinting and long jumping. In order to improve muscle power, it is essential to have a good base of muscle strength.
Flexibility is the ability to extend or stretch without breaking. Flexibility improvement should work alongside strengthening improvement. If the muscle gets longer but not stronger then it will be weak in the additional flexible range and be prone to injury
PROPRIOCEPTION & BALANCE
Proprioception is the human body’s ability to detect movement and soft tissue stress and trigger a reaction to prevent injury (i.e. stretch or contract according to perceived movement).
Proprioception is often dampened or slowed down following an injury and needs to be retrained, and secondly some people have poor proprioception generally and therefore prone to injuries. To improve proprioception is to preform exercises which improve balance and reaction times of the muscles surrounding the joints.
If you need help to get back to pre-injury fitness levels, or wish to add postural and core training to compliment your current training routine and prevent injury, then get in touch to find out more about one-on-one session availability.
Meet Sophie Barrett MSc, BA (Hons), Dip, CertHE
I am a qualified Counselling Psychotherapist, accredited member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). As an accredited member I am recognise as having achieved a high standard of knowledge, experience and development in counselling and psychotherapy through my accredited MSc qualification as well as a through a separate rigorous application and assessment process within the BACP. As a BACP accredited member I receive supervision when in practice and am bound by the BACP Ethical Framework.
I am a qualified Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) registered Pilates andPre and Postnatal Pilates instructor and a Level 4 Sports Massage Therapist with membership of the Association of Soft Tissue Therapists. REPS is an independent public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of health-enhancing exercise instructors in the UK which provides a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the National Occupational Standards. All professionals on the Register are appropriately qualified and have the knowledge, competence and skills to perform their role effectively.