By Indianna Franke – The Living Well Studio
We at The Living Well Studio argue that you need to be conditioned to participate well in your chosen sport, the sport itself won’t make you conditioned. Physio based pilates is an invaluable tool for this conditioning. It is a service we provide where we marry the art and science of physiotherapy and exercise science with the principles, repertoire and equipment of Pilates. This combination can give the winning edge to any athlete no matter what sport and level.
Physio based pilates programs are based around a comprehensive individual assessment that searches for strengths and weaknesses in the body in terms of balance, control, coordination, flexibility and strength. We work to improve any issues found in the assessment and prevent any potential injuries from occurring with the aim of contributing to the longevity of the athlete in their sport. This individual approach means that the program can be outcome driven, goal oriented and really support the athlete to achieve what they are working towards.
We have many world class athletes attending our sessions and we see them develop gains in the areas outlined below:
Neuromuscular control is a term used by physios to describe how well our nervous system can connect to the muscles to make well-coordinated movement happen. Sometimes when we continually perform the same movements over and over we develop strong neuromuscular patterns for those movement but unless we are challenged with other tasks and skills we can become vulnerable as we lose the ability to perform varied and diverse movement in a coordinated manner. Physio based Pilates provides neuromuscular activation exercises that help to gain better control over your muscles, improve muscle strength, gain overall improvement of your balance and allow the muscles to work in conjunction with each other which not only helps you get more from your workouts, but it can help you move more fluently and functionally through life in general!
Mobility is your ability to move your joints through a full range of motion with good control. Repetitive activity associated with sport and work can leave parts of the body less mobile than others. This can result in impaired function and freedom in the body. It’s taken a long time for science to back mobility exercise as being important. It’s been part of pilates and yoga for centuries. The research now shows that improving mobility through exercises can improve athletic performance. All good physio based pilates programs incorporate mobility exercises.
Balance has been shown to be an integral part of an exercise program. Using the pilates equipment such as the reformer we can challenge your balance in both a static and dynamic way. The research is not 100% on how much balance is needed in your workout each week but it’s suggesting at least two sessions per week. Balance is related to neuromuscular control. Certain sports can make you unbalanced in the body meaning you are more confident and stronger on one side more than the other, and this can lead to injury. Our physio based pilates sessions work to correct this by directly addressing these imbalances.
STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE
For a long time people viewed pilates as low impact, low resistance mobility based exercise with a bit of core thrown in. We firmly want to break this stereotype. Our physio based pilates sessions harness the resistance found in pulleys, springs and free weights to create all types of strength and endurance gains in areas that are needed by the athlete. Often in our assessments we find there are deficits in strength and endurance and we address this in each session with strong strength and endurance based exercises. One point that must be made is that we stress technique in all of these exercises and will not substitute repetitions for technique, which ensures injury prevention and greater body awareness.
Physio based pilates asks the athlete to feel what their body is doing, there is an almost forced mindfulness that happens as many of the exercises cannot be performed without 100% concentration on what many parts of the body are doing. This helps build awareness of where the limbs and trunk are in space and in connection with each other. This also helps to build confidence in the athlete to make subtle changes to specific areas of their body to prevent injury and perform the movement more correctly.
A key part of physio based pilates is making sure every client understands the wisdom of the breath. Breath can be harnessed for all types of action. One of these important actions is restoration. Athletes work hard and fill their lives with action-based training and often overlook the importance of restoration for performance. Our physio based pilates method works to help the patient tap into the parasympathetic nervous state, that is the rest and digest state where your body restores. We do this by prescribing specific breath techniques and mobility exercises.