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Entries in Anatomy (32)

Pilates for Feet 

By Madeline Black
Pilates has developed a reputation for building core strength, especially once the fitness and physical therapy worlds came to Pilates in the 1990s. But my history with early Pilates, studying in New York in the late ’80s, was always about the feet. Along the way, the core became the mantra of Pilates. I strongly feel the time has come to a focus on the feet again.

In Pilates, the feet are very important to the way we engage the body, and they deserve more attention. Feet bring to mind metaphors for moving us forward in life and finding our sense of place and existence in the world. Yet in our bodies, we pay little attention to them. We squish them into shoes, stand for long periods of time, walk on cement sidewalks. I live in the country, and we still do not pay attention to our feet here. If we did, we may lessen back issues, hip and knee pain, and release our necks.

Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back

By Debbi Goodman, MSPT

The postpartum time period is very exciting for most women, but it can be very stressful as well. Women are going through the process of healing their bodies after the birth, dealing with drastic hormonal changes, and adjusting to life with a newborn. Most women are physically exhausted and may have extreme emotional swings. Regaining their prepregnancy body is often a main concern.

In order to work with postpartum clients, Pilates instructors should have knowledge about the physical transformations of pregnancy and how they impact the musculoskeletal system.* It is common knowledge that the abdominal muscles stretch a great deal over the course of the pregnancy, and it is our challenge to help women restore the proper length, strength and tone of these extremely important muscles.

Posted on Friday, January 16, 2009 at 01:48PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , , , , | Comments3 Comments | References5 References

DVD Review: Kane School Core Principles Series

Review by Nicole Rogers

Kelly Kane, founder of the Kane School of Core Integration, is well known for her knowledge of anatomy as it relates to the Pilates method. In The Kane School Core Principles Series—her first DVD series—she delivers a lecture in three parts covering “Respiration and Pelvic Stability,” “Core Stability and Hip Differentiation” and “Cervical Nod and Curl and Scapular Stability.” The lecture is complete with anatomical illustrations, demonstrations using models, sample exercises and a glossary. Kane clearly explains these topics, from basic concepts like neutral pelvis, to the most detailed anatomical descriptions of complex systems like respiration.

Kane maintains a sense of humor throughout an almost three-hour lecture in total and uses a variety of visuals to keep it dynamic. Her demonstrations using model students are invaluable. For example, once you understand how transversus abdominis relates to the pelvic floor in the lecture, you can watch closely as Kane cues a student to engage her transversus abdominis through a series of exercises.

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 at 04:09PM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro in , , , , | Comments2 Comments

Pilates for Breast Cancer Survivors

By Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT

Pilates training can be an excellent way to achieve the postural re-education and muscle-balancing necessary to recover from the side effects of breast cancer treatment. Pilates can help alleviate pain from breast cancer operative procedures, restore joint mobility and tissue integrity, and help regain lost strength. Most importantly, Pilates can be a gateway for a true “Return to Life” for many women, as the title of Joseph Pilates’ popular book states. However, Pilates instructors should be on the lookout for some often coincident injuries that will require additional special knowledge about the shoulder complex in order to work safely and effectively with the growing population of breast cancer survivors.

Posted on Monday, September 22, 2008 at 05:39PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , , | Comments8 Comments | References4 References

Pilates and Pregnancy: Safe Ab Exercises

By Debbi Goodman, MSPT

Pilates is a wonderful form of exercise for pregnant women. Through Pilates, women can stay strong and fit throughout their pregnancies. Pilates can help women stay connected to their changing body, improve posture and reduce pregnancy aches and pains. However, Pilates instructors working with this population need to be knowledgeable about the anatomical and physiological changes that occur during pregnancy, as well as about the birth process. In addition, it is extremely important that Pilates instructors have a clear understanding of how pregnancy affects the abdominal muscles.

Read on to learn what happens to the abdominal muscles during pregnancy and for a sample mat workout that will keep prenatal clients safe and strong.

Posted on Monday, August 18, 2008 at 08:19AM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , , , | Comments1 Comment

Continuing Ed: FAMI Workshop

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.

Posted on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 02:16PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , | Comments2 Comments

Freeing the Shoulders to Connect to the Core

ShoulderJoint.jpgBy Lesley Powell

“Push your shoulders down.”

We hear that phrase frequently in Pilates studios, but I say it’s time to throw that cue out. Why? For most people, pressing the shoulders down freezes the shoulder girdle’s function and interrupts its natural rhythm.

The arms connect to the torso through the shoulder girdle, shoulder blades, clavicles and humerus bones. Each bone moves in different degrees of rotation and timing. The timing and the control of these motions are essential to a healthy shoulder. This “scapular-humeral rhythm” is like a symphony—each bone is an instrument playing a different variation of a melody.

A great scapular-humeral rhythm will invite the correct phrasing of the arm and core muscles. When you get a client to better use her shoulder girdle, her arm strength, posture and connection to the core will improve. Read on to learn how this rhythm works and how to help your clients improve theirs.

Posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 06:39PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , | Comments6 Comments

Anatomy and Pilates: The Dish on Disc Problems

Updated on Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 06:48PM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro

Disc%20Herniation.jpegBy Carrie McCulloch

Carrie McCulloch is a 4th-year medical student at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a Certifying Instructor for Pilates Academy International, and Course Co-Director for the Functional Anatomy for Movement & Injuries (FAMI) Workshop.

Degenerated discs, prolapsed discs, bulging discs, herniated discs—these terms float around Pilates studios quite freely. Indeed, these conditions are some of the most common reasons why clients with back pain seek help from Pilates instructors in the first place. Despite their familiarity, however, these terms—and the medical jargon surrounding them—can get quite confusing. Here, I’ll explain the particulars of three common disc problems and suggest programming tips for affected clients.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 06:02AM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , , | Comments11 Comments | References2 References

Preventing Pilates Neck Strain

Do your students complain of neck pain (or can you see it in those strained looks on their faces)?  If so, point them to this helpful video tip from Anita Seiz via MyYogaOnline.com.

Posted on Friday, December 7, 2007 at 02:11PM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , | CommentsPost a Comment

Facts on Feet

anatomyoffoot.jpgBy Margot McKinnon, founder of Body Harmonics Pilates in Toronto

When you ask clients about their feet they usually respond with a quizzical look. Unless there is pain or the possibility of purchasing a snappy new pair of shoes, feet are rarely on anyone’s mind.

Why should anyone care about feet? They connect us to the ground. Their architecture is the foundation for all of the body parts above. Feet propel us forward, backward and sideways. Each foot spreads the body’s weight over an area large enough to support and distribute the pressure as we stand, walk or run. This is quite miraculous when you compare the size of our feet to rest of the body’s height, size and weight.

Read on to find out the truth behind five common myths about feet, and for ways to integrate foot-friendly exercises into your Pilates classes.

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 06:00AM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , | Comments1 Comment | References1 Reference