New Column! “Continuing Ed” is our regular look at workshops, programs and other methods of bodywork that can enhance your skills as a Pilates teacher. Judging from the popularity of anatomy articles on our site, Pilates instructors are anatomy junkies. That’s why we’re kicking off this new series with a look at the Functional Anatomy for Movement & Injuries (FAMI) Workshop.
If you’ve been through a Pilates teacher-training program, chances are you have a general understanding of anatomy—or maybe not. Some programs require students to take an anatomy entrance exam and others barely touch the topic. But one thing is clear: the more you know about the body and how it’s put together, the better you’ll be at helping clients work with theirs.
That’s the idea behind the FAMI Workshop, a 4-day immersion course in anatomy and injuries designed for movement professionals. Held at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the course includes lectures by Mount Sinai faculty and other medical professionals, a hands-on look at pre-dissected cadaver sections in the gross anatomy lab and practical integration sessions.
The course is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Matt and Carrie McCulloch. When Carrie entered medical school, after teaching Pilates for a year, she noticed how her instruction immediately changed after taking her gross anatomy course. “As I watched my clients move, I now knew what they looked like on the inside—I could see how their hip joint was articulating,” she says.
Carrie knew that Pilates instructors—especially Matt, who at the time ran the education programs for Pilates on Fifth and Pilates Academy International in New York [ed note: He’s now the co-director of Kinected with Carrie]—would love to have access to what she was learning. So she and Matt told school’s director of anatomy, Jeffrey Laitman, PhD, about the Pilates industry. “I explained how there was this whole population of fitness professionals out there who are really hungry for this information,” says Carrie. “So out of that desire and the resources he had at his fingertips the three of us came together to come up with a course that we could hold for fitness professionals.”
Now in its third year, FAMI is held annually in June in New York. It’s suitable for anatomy novices as well as advanced students, according to Carrie, and some students have come back each year, even though the material is the same.
Each of the four days focuses on a different area of the body: the vertebral column, lower extremity, upper extremity and the pelvic floor and abdominal wall. On the vertebral column day, for example, the morning starts with an in-depth anatomy lecture then moves into the gross anatomy lab, where students get to see what a real vertebral disc looks like and all the different regions of the spine. In the afternoon, a neurologist lectures on back pain and injuries, then the day ends with a practical integration session where students can take what they’ve learned and apply it to client scenarios.
The professors who teach the program have been astounded by the level enthusiasm from Pilates teachers who go through program, says Carrie. They’re used to teaching glassy-eyed med students who are bored stiff, “and here you have people literally salivating over the information,” she says. “They really go crazy over the pelvic floor!”
THE DETAILS: FAMI Workshop
LOCATION: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
DATES: June 19-22, 2008
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS
Anatomy and Pilates: The Dish on Disc Problems
By Carrie McCulloch