Pilates is an increasingly popular form of exercise class that focuses on achieving improved core strength, balance and co-ordination. Clinical Pilates, run at Circle Rehabilitation, is a variant of Pilates that has been adapted by physiotherapists, focusing on effective ways to prevent and recover from injuries. It can help to improve your flexibility, posture in everyday life and also help with general mental wellbeing.
You can expect to have up to ten people in a Clinical Pilates class at Circle Rehabilitation, yet the sessions are specifically designed so everyone can participate equally. Whether you’re new to Pilates, or have been for many years, there are always variants on particular exercises to make them easier or more difficult.
A physiotherapist will be on hand to review your technique and offer advice based on any treatment you may be having following an injury or recent surgery.
Anyone can get involved with Clinical Pilates at Circle Rehabilitation. However most attendees will attend as they’re recovering from an injury or recent treatment, such as back surgery or a hip replacement. The exercises are important to do, but patients are often concerned about hurting themselves if they push it too far.
Before you start a class, a physiotherapist will assess you to make sure you’re suitable to participate in the context of your recent treatment. They’ll be on hand throughout the class so you can ask them any questions if you’re unsure about the technique or if you have any concerns.
Clinical Pilates exercises are largely mat based, with most done lying down. There are different grades of difficulty for each exercise, ranging from level one (the easiest) up to the most difficult level five exercises. Level one is a great place to start as you can quickly progress to higher levels if you’re able to safely and easily complete them. All participants will do a warm-up of around 10-15 minutes before the main exercises begin.
Here are some examples of typical exercises in Clinical Pilates:
- This is a great exercise for lower back pain, helping with core and glute (hip) strength.
- Lying down on your back with your knees bent, you will then lift your pelvis up so you’re rolling through the spine and lifting up slowly. A typical bridge exercise involves moving up, holding and then moving back down.
- To make it more advanced, you could try extending one leg and then bringing it back without dropping your pelvis. There are also options to use a resistance band or a Pilates ring to make it even more challenging.
- Side leg lift
- This exercise is done while lying on your side, with your legs extended.
- You then lift your leg up and lower it again. You can keep repeating this until it starts to get more challenging, before switching over to the other side.
- This exercise is fantastic at improving gluteal muscle strength.
- Lying on your front with your hands splayed and legs shoulder width apart. Lift up your head and create an extension through your back before relaxing again. This is a really useful exercise for stretching out the spine.
- One leg circle
- Lying on your back, with one leg up in the air, try to make small circles in the air with your foot without twisting at the pelvis. Ensure you are engaging your core muscles throughout the exercise. This is an effective exercise for improving control in your trunk muscles as well as your hip.
While Clinical Pilates can involve the use of resistance bands and other accessories, it is not common to use weights in these classes. Once you’ve attended the classes and have practiced the technique, you’ll then be able to practice the majority of the exercises at home too.