Pilates is an invigorating form of exercise for your mind and body that can improve your strength, flexibility and overall mobility. It helps restore your body to balance. As a result, your posture will change and you will move more efficiently. You’ll achieve a strong core (core stability), develop longer, leaner muscles and improve your overall sense of well-being. And, if you are a sports enthusiast, Pilates can help improve your game.
The aim of core stability training is to effectively recruit the trunk musculature and then learn to control the position of the lumbar spine during dynamic movements.
Core stability training teaches you how to engage your trunk muscles in such a way that they stabilise the spine in its natural position. But if your pelvis is rotated and you have a leg length discrepancy and you have a slightly curved (scoliotic) spine to compensate for this, do we really want to stabilise ourselves in this biomechanically incorrect position? Probably not. What would be the likely outcome of stabilising someone in the ‘wrong’ position? Would the risk of pain increase over time? Probably. What we need to do is to provide our bodies with the building blocks for ‘normal’ movement, in other words reduce any sub clinical muscle spasm (Tardieu & Tarbary, Janda 1993), mobilise any immobile nerves, make sure your pelvis is working properly, with no leg length discrepancies and once we are in good biomechanical shape, then core stability training provides us with a high degree of stability in a good biomechanical position.
So, core stability training is probably here to stay and rightly so. But let’s just think about how we use it and when. Stuart McGill PhD, says that core stability training helps some people and hurts others (2006). We know anecdotally that is correct. With some thought and understanding of biomechanics, not only can we understand why this is, but also we can help ourselves to reduce the risk of injury and help prepare ourselves more thoroughly than ever before.
Prior to beginning a course of Pilates lessons, a Biomechanical Screening will be done to assess how your body is currently functioning. In the first phase called Normalisation, any muscle imbalances are eradicated, nerve mobility issues sorted out and any muscle spasms reduced. This phase is referred to as ‘Before the Core’, because typically people will start their early exercise programmes with core stability-type exercises and they are simply not ready!
That is why Pilates helps some people and hurts others.