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Entries in Special Populations (40)

Pilates for Runners: The Basics

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By Pat Guyton

Sooner or later someone is going to run into your studio, looking for information that will improve speed, endurance and efficient breathing. They may or may not understand how Pilates can complement running. Whether the student is a competitive athlete or an individual who runs for health and fitness, distance and speed become much easier and less stressful on the body if a runner is free from pain and injury. A requirement for any sport or exercise program involves the development of a comprehensive exercise program that works all of the muscles in every range of motion. As a teacher, you are instrumental not only in introducing the exercise technique, but in the development of the individual program. If the runner can gain some immediate results, they will have the optimum motivation to continue Pilates work.

It is a good idea to understand the psychology of runners when they come to Pilates. Most of them simply tied on shoes and started to run, but did not consider learning how.

Pilates On Call: Working With Pregnant and Postpartum Clients

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Amanda Martin

Debra GoodmanFor the fourth installment of our Pilates On Call series, we’re focusing on the topic of pregnancy. We’re sure it will be a busy and popular post, if site traffic for this topic is any indicator.

Pilates On Call is a month-long, open Q&A session with an expert, so this is your opportunity to ask about the finer points of Pilates exercise with this population. Perhaps you’d like advice for working with a newly pregnant client, or information about a particular pregnancy-related condition.

We’re thrilled to welcome Debra Goodman, MSPT, back to the site. She’s written several popular articles on Pilates and pregnancy for us, and has an extensive background treating pregnant and postpartum patients. She is one of few physical therapists trained in internal evaluation and treatment of the pelvic floor muscles. And we’re equally thrilled to introduce Amanda Martin, owner of balance in Athens, Georgia, a Pilates and wellness studio that specializes in working with pregnant and post-natal clientele, among other populations. She has been doing this kind of Pilates work since 2004.

Post your questions in the comments section below or email them to us editor@pilates-pro.com. Debra and Amanda will get to them as quickly as possible, but might need a day or two to respond.

Pilates Poll: Information You Need

We thought we’d ask what you would like to see on Pilates-Pro.com this year. This is a great opportunity to speak up and let us know what kind of coverage you’re looking for. Vote for the category that most represents your needs.


If there’s something you’d like to see that we didn’t mention, please share specific requests in the comments section below. Do you have a burning Pilates question you think we can help answer? Or perhaps there’s a topic you’d like to suggest we look into? This is your chance to let us know!

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2010 at 02:10PM by Registered CommenterLauren Charlip in , , , , | Comments1 Comment

Most Popular Articles From 2009

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As 2009 draws to a close and we refocus our energies on the year to come, it’s nice to reflect on the year past. Thus it’s time for our very own Pilates-Pro.com “Year in Review,” a countdown of the site’s 10 most popular articles in 2009. (This is a great place to start if you’re just discovering us!) We’d like to extend huge thanks to all of the innovative, thoughtful, dedicated and generally amazing Pilates experts who contributed to Pilates-Pro.com this year. Kudos as well to the growing number of community members who use the articles and forums as a place for lively, insightful discussion. Pilates-Pro.com continues to grow because of you. And of course, if you have topics you’d like us tackle in 2010, please drop a line and let us know!

1. Pilates for Scoliosis by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
2. Pilates for Feet by Madeline Black
3. Five Ways to Combine Cardio and Pilates by Nicole Rogers
4. Pilates on Call with Siri Dharma Galliano
5. Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back by Debbi Goodman, MSPT
6. 16 Fitness Wear Discounts for Pilates Instructors by Christine Binnendyk
7. Pilates DVD Review: The Jump Board Workout by Nicole Rogers
8. Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs
9. Five Ways to Hook Men on Pilates by Julian Littleford
10. Five Ways to Build Successful Client-Instructor Relationships by Devra Swiger

The Pilates Bookshelf: Curves, Twists and Bends: A Practical Guide to Pilates for Scoliosis

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By Alexa Thorson

Curves, Twists and Bends: A Practical Guide to Pilates for Scoliosis is a useful introduction to the topic from Annette Wellings, a Pilates instructor with major scoliosis, and U.K. master Pilates teacher Alan Herdman. The book is a useful tool for addressing scoliosis through exercise, both for those who have the condition and for Pilates instructors with scoliotic clients. Wellings makes it clear in her introduction that the exercises in this book “are not designed to restructure the curve,” but to enable the spine to be “as healthy and supple as possible.”

Wellings and Herdman have assembled a set of 34 exercises primarily focused on stretching and lengthening, that are appropriate for people with symptoms ranging from mild to severe scoliosis, and even for the general population. I often incorporate similar exercises in my mat classes to warm people up before harder Pilates choreography. This book does not address Pilates equipment or even the classic Pilates mat choreography.

Curves, Twists and Bends is structured in three parts. The first, called  ‘Understanding and Awareness’ is a straightforward, uncomplicated overview of the condition of scoliosis, and a discussion of curve patterns, with an explanation of how to identify different types of scoliotic curves, complete with drawings. It even includes a section on “the psychology of scoliosis.”

The second, called ‘Exercises for Flexibility and Posture’ establishes a set of exercise principles that Pilates instructors will find familiar, such as pelvic stability, balancing dominant and weak sides of the body, and de-rotation of the pelvis, ribs and spine.

Working With Multiple Sclerosis on the Pilates Reformer

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by Mary Kay Hausladen Foley, PT, GCFP

Foley (r.) with a patientPilates instructors know well that the Reformer is an excellent tool to work on strength, flexibility, motor control and balance. For these reasons, the Reformer is also an extremely useful tool for working with people with multiple sclerosis. I have worked with a wide variety of MS patients over the last 23 years, as a physical therapist and as a Pilates Reformer instructor, in association with The Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis (the mission of which is to empower MS patients; its motto is “Can Do”). Some patients have such mild symptoms that an outsider would never guess that they have the disease, while others can be quite debilitated it. For the MS population, the Reformer can be invaluable for work on functional changes in areas where motor control or muscle function is compromised.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It is a chronic and usually progressive disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin—the layer of insulation around nerve fibers—in the brain and spinal cord. This leads to a decrease in nerve function, which causes symptoms that vary from patient to patient and in severity, such as weakness, fatigue, spasticity (a condition we’ll discuss later on in this article), bladder dysfunction, pain, vertigo, decreased balance, cognitive deficits and speech and swallowing difficulties. Because multiple sclerosis affects motor control, the majority of people diagnosed with the disease experience walking difficulty at some point. Research indicates that number is somewhere between 64 and 85 percent. In fact, 70 percent of MS patients report that walking is the most challenging aspect of their disease. Within 15 years of diagnosis, 50 percent of multiple sclerosis patients require assistance walking and, in later stages, up to a third of patients are completely unable to walk. More than 400,000 Americans have multliple sclerosis: most are between the ages of 20 and 50, and women are twice to three times as likely to be affected than men. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals.

Though Pilates exercise will not change the disease process, it can help people maintain strength and function longer than would otherwise be possible. There are, however, special considerations that a Pilates instructor should be aware of when working with someone with MS.

Pilates & Breast Cancer Recovery: Q&A with Pink Ribbon Program Founder Doreen Puglisi

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We caught up with Doreen Puglisi, founder of the Pink Ribbon Program, a Pilates-based rehabilitation program for post-operative breast cancer survivors, who explained why Pilates is such an effective form of exercise for this group. Doreen, a survivor herself, holds a master’s in exercise science, and is a Pilates instructor, certified personal trainer and chairperson of the health and exercise science department at Morris County College. Read on for a closer look at what Pink Ribbon provides—for the Pilates community and for breast cancer patients—and a taste of what’s ahead for the program.

Doreen PuglisiHow did you create the Pink Ribbon Program?
I started working with breast cancer patients around 2002. At the time I owned a small wellness studio, and when clients filled out a health history form, I would check the contraindications for programming. That’s when I found out there was no true rehabilitation program for breast cancer patients. Because I’m a physiologist, I looked at the research and at the time, there was nothing. Really, it was astonishing.

Then, in 2004 I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself, and I used my program for my own rehabilitation after a mastectomy. I did have a Pilates background before I was diagnosed. (I was actually trained through Stott.) I truly do feel lucky–I was diagnosed early and had this knowledge base before. It was so scary. None of my surgeons asked me if I needed physical therapy. I thought ‘How am I going to get my range of motion back?’ I had a dorky revelation moment [about creating the Pink Ribbon Program]. I realized that I needed to do something to reach more survivors. I realized I needed to get this out there, and help women who don’t have a rehab or movement background. If it’s hard for me, what are they doing?

Pilates was a great fit for this population: it worked in terms of full range of motion, integrated movement, proper breathing. A lot of what we work with is scapular stability and shoulder range of motion. And in the Pilates world, this was very welcome.

How does Pink Ribbon work?
Well, there are two programs really, for survivors/patients and for instructors. The first is designed as a six-week rehabilitative movement program. The goal is to get them to move beyond Pink Ribbon to a mainstream form of exercise and move forward.

Pilates for Equestrians

photo by Bob GoberBy Elizabeth Hanson 

As Pilates instructors we know that restoring balance, strength and flexibility in the body will help anyone improve in their favorite sport. For equestrians of all disciplines and levels this is particularly true, as riding can be hard on the body. Until recently, riders have not given much credence to cross-training as a way to improve their performance. Fortunately, this is changing and more equestrians are realizing that if they want to get the most out of their ride, they need to spend some time off the horse improving their physical condition.

Having worked with riders for many years, I have found that the best way to get their attention is to learn how to “speak equestrian” in Pilates sessions. They want to know how each exercise will help them with their particular riding issues. If you understand what the imbalances in their bodies cause them to do incorrectly on horseback, you can make their Pilates workouts more effective, and most importantly, give them big incentive to come back. Knowing how to assess pelvic imbalances and spinal conditions and apply correctives, as I do for my equestrian clients, is a great tool for any Pilates instructor.

Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs

Dawn-Marie Ickes

Allyson CabotGabrielle Shrier






In the third installment of Pilates on Call—our month-long open Q&A with Pilates experts—we’re thrilled to welcome the owners of Core Conditioning in Los Angeles: Dawn-Marie Ickes, MPT (l); Allyson Cabot, PT (m); and Gabrielle Shrier, MPT (r). The three physical therapists/Pilates instructors founded Core Conditioning, a pair of integrated wellness centers, in 2003, where they combine physical therapy with Pilates and Gyrotonic for rehabilitation, as well as offer group classes.

This month, they will be taking your questions on joint injuries and issues—hips, knees, shoulders, feet, spine, neck, etc. Chances are you have encountered clients with problems with all of the above and more. Or perhaps you have a new client with an injury you’ve never dealt with before. Here’s you chance to get the PT-Pilates perspective on how to help them. Post your questions in the comments section below or email editor@pilates-pro.com. Dawn-Marie, Allyson and Gabrielle will get to them as quickly as possible, but might need a day or two to respond.

The Pilates Push

How to help pregnant clients have a smooth delivery

By Debbi Goodman, MSPT
Pilates and pregnancyPilates can be a wonderful tool to help women feel great during and after pregnancy. A modified Pilates program with emphasis on diaphragm and transversus abdominus strengthening will help to support the growing uterus, prevent low back pain and improve posture. Many people don’t realize it, but core strengthening also helps pregnant women during the pushing phase of delivery.

Prenatal Pilates instructors are in a great position to help pregnant women obtain the strength for pushing as well as to educate women on how to push properly. I’ll explain how after the jump.

Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 10:58AM by Registered CommenterAmy Leibrock in , , | Comments5 Comments