In the sports world
Today, Pilates is no longer reserved only for elite dancers, though it is still used commonly by many top dance studios. The general sports world is now acknowledging the value of Pilates for all kinds of athletes. The Pilates method provides many advantages such as building strength without excess muscle bulk, increasing body awareness and improving flexibility, agility and smooth and coordinated movement patterns. As well as rehabilitating sporting injuries, the Pilates method is integrated into the normal training program in many sports, as a form of injury prevention.
In the remedial world
Pilates is becoming more popular amongst many health practitioners, such as Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and Myotherapists.
Studies demonstrate that 85% of the population in the US, UK and Australia suffer some form of neck/back pain. Pilates has been beneficial in addressing the resulting dysfunction as it corrects muscle imbalances and incorporates exercise and lifestyle education changes.
This form of exercise has proven to decrease spinal pain, rehabilitate joint/muscle injuries, improve mobility and flexibility and prevent recurrence of these problems.
Pilates classes are frequently seen as part of many Physiotherapy practices, often called “Clinical Pilates”, referring more to a rehabilitation/injury prevention format, rather than a basic fitness type regime.
Physiotherapists need to undertake specific and extensive training in the Pilates method in order to apply it effectively.
In the gym world
Pilates has also gained increased popularity in mainstream gymnasiums. Although these classes are great for providing diversity to the usual gym-based routines that require purely aerobic endurance, impact and resistance in the form of weights, the problem however is that such regimes are not usually appropriate for anyone with an existing injury. These sessions are typically mat-based classes with a large number of participants so do not have the capacity to screen participants adequately, nor provide the necessary detailed explanation of the Pilates method. This then means there exercise cannot be tailored to meet an individual’s specific objectives and any benefits gained have minimal transfer to everyday life.
Generally, the large class sizes with participants of mixed ability level mean that minimal supervision and attention can be given to individual members.