What is Pilates?
In the 1920’s, Joseph Pilates (pronounced pi-lah-tees) developed a unique system of exercises designed to attain and maintain optimal physical fitness.
Pilates believed that conscious control and understanding of movement was paramount, and with focussed repetition, good habits were formed which eventually became subconscious. He also felt that adopting ideal posture reduced unnecessary utilisation of energy (leaving a "reserve” for unexpected demands), and decreased wear and tear on the body.
Pilates was at the forefront of proposing that a stronger midsection or "core” would protect the spine and form a stable platform for the limbs to move more efficiently. Research in the last 15 years (particularly by physiotherapists at the University of Queensland) supports this premise, but has refined the manner in which these contractions need to be performed in order to isolate and retrain the correct layers of core muscles.
The deepest layer of abdominals, the Transversus Abdominus, is ideally placed to form a muscular corset to stabilise the spine. This muscle works together with Multifidis, a deep intersegmental muscle at the back. Correctly setting the shoulders also feeds down into this stabilising mechanism. Finally, activating the diaphragm and the pelvic floor (the roof and floor of the abdomen) contributes to regulation of intra-abdominal pressure and spinal stability. These postural muscles generally work at constant low levels in the background of all movements.
In chronic or severe back pain, the automatic stabilising function of the deep muscles is disrupted by pain. Reasons for this "design fault” are still being researched. The body then relies on the more superficial muscles such as Rectus Abdominis and Obliques, which are "moving” muscles and not designed to function in a sustained protective manner. Importantly, even when the pain settles, the deep stabilising muscles do not automatically switch back on unless specifically retrained.
Current research demonstrates that specific exercise programmes targeting these muscles (such as Pilates) can restore normal function and reduce the likelihood of recurrence of back pain. This explains the current surge in utilising Pilates exercises for the rehabilitation of these patients.
Pilates exercise can vary from the extremely challenging original mat routines designed for dancers and other elite athletes, to lower load programmes modified to suit particular pathologies (such as back pain & osteoporosis) or targeting specific groups of clients (such as the pregnant and postnatal population).
At move we currently run over 40 studio classes per week on traditional Pilates machines. Class times range from 7.15 am to 6.30 pm weekdays, as well as Saturday mornings. These equipment based classes form our primary programmes at the studio, and provide a safe and supervised environment to exercise, whether for rehabilitation or fitness.
The Studio Programme is carefully structured, beginning with an initial biomechanical assessment with a physiotherapist to identify your strengths, weaknesses and personal goals. The physiotherapist then prepares a specific programme tailored to your needs, and spends 2 individual exercise sessions teaching you how to use the Pilates equipment to do all of your exercises safely and comfortably, before you progress to small class sessions (maximum of 5 participants with a physiotherapist).
Pilates exercise programmes can be specifically designed to cater for many conditions including
Our instructors are all qualified physiotherapists, with extensive additional training in the Pilates Method through Polestar Education (Florida), Dance Medicine Australia (Melbourne), Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute (London), and the Pilates Institute of Australasia (Sydney). All of our physiotherapists undergo extensive in-house training, which continues to advanced levels (incorporating the latest research as it comes to hand) for the working life of the physiotherapist!
Beware the physiotherapy practice teaching "pilates” with only one or two weekends of training!
Can I claim my Pilates sessions at Move from my private health fund?
Yes, rebates apply for both individual sessions and classes from most health funds if you have extras cover. It is suggested that you check with your own fund and level of cover to confirm the rebate you will receive. Quote the codes listed on the fee schedule, and stipulate to the fund that a physiotherapist supervises all group exercise sessions in our studio.