Pilates to Improve Posture - BASI Pilates - Teacher ...· Pilates to Improve Posture Daurie Maher
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Transcript of Pilates to Improve Posture - BASI Pilates - Teacher ...· Pilates to Improve Posture Daurie Maher
Pilates to Improve Posture
BASI Comprehensive Training
22 February 2015
Table of Contents
Abstract Page 2
Anatomical Posture Muscles Descriptions Page 3
Case Study Page 6
Exercise Program Page 8
Conclusion Page 11
Bibliography Page 12
Many adults who spend their days sitting at a computer and making long commutes to
and from work can develop curvature in regions of their spines because of the constant sitting
position. The issues that arise from sitting for such long periods of time include Kyphosis and
Cervical Lordosis both of which cause discomfort and can worsen over time. The consistent
practice of Pilates greatly increases flexibility and strength in the upper back and neck helping to
reduce muscle pain in those regions and improve overall posture. This case study examines
Sandy throughout a twelve-week program of practicing Pilates regularly in order to improve her
posture and decrease pain in her neck and shoulders.
Anatomical Posture Muscles Description
Kyphosis is the increased curvature of the thoracic spine that can lead to pain, discomfort
and other postural problems. Rounding of the shoulders and misalignment of the head and spine
generally accompany this condition.
The exaggerated curve in the upper back and shoulders causes tightening of the pectoralis
major and anterior deltoid. Tightening of these muscles result in little scapular stabilization and
weakening of the thoracic back extensors. To accommodate the deviation the head tends to trust
forward causing strained muscles of the posterior neck.
The thoracic extensors can be divided into three groups: the erector spinae, semispinalis,
and deep posterior spinal group. The erector spinae, the most powerful of the spinal extensors, is
made up of three columns: the spinalis, longissimus, and iliocostalis. Increasing the strength of
the thoracic extensors and stretching the anterior shoulder muscles can greatly improve the
tendency for slumped, upper back posture.
Cervical Lordosis is an exaggeration of the cervical curve of the cervical spine. The
spinal region of the neck is made up of 7 cervical vertebra that face the back of the neck in a
curved shape. A normal healthy cervical spine has a slight lordotic curve that is anatomically
important to bear the weight of the head. Because of the heads relatively heavy weight,
improper posture strains the muscles of the neck and causes them to pull on the cervical vertebra
to which they are attached. Prolonged pulling on the cervical spine disturbs the normal alignment
and can results in decreased range of motion and discomfort.
Deviation in the normal alignment of the spine can cause a myriad of conditions. Based
on the BASI Block System, the program set for Sandy is designed with the full body in mind
and will address her specific alignment deviations.
Sandy is a fifty-one-year-old woman who commutes twenty-five minutes each way to
work. While at work she sits at a desk for extended periods throughout the day. Sandy talks on
the phone and types on a computer causing her shoulders to hunch and her neck to be strained.
Sandy had been taking Zumba classes consistently over the past four years. She had lost weight
and really enjoyed the classes until the pounding and jumping began to cause her additional back
pain. Sandys current activity routine consists of walking her large dog daily and playing with
her active two-year-old granddaughter.
Sandy has no Pilates experience, but was searching for something that could alleviate her
neck and upper back discomfort likely from sitting, driving and tilting her neck to hold the
telephone. Sandy has committed to attending private Pilates sessions two to three times per week
for twelve weeks. The exercises that were focused on sought to re-train her body to reduce the
strain on her joints and muscles. The main objective was correcting her overall posture and
improving the curvature in the upper thoracic back. To work on correcting her Kyphosis, the
biggest focus was strengthening her back extensors and adjusting her forward head posture to
create more desirable alignment. Other important objectives throughout the twelve weeks
included improved flexibility in Sandys hip flexors, the strengthening of her abdominals and
increasing her endurance. In addition, recent health concerns gave Sandy the need to feel a
stronger connection between her body and mind to aid with stress management and to achieve an
overall sense of well-being.
Sandys conditioning program for the first six weeks focuses on movement, stretching
and strength. Each lesson starts with a Roll Down to focus her mind and body and to make her
more aware of her bodys imbalances. Sitting Upper Back Press with arms overhead is used to
stretch her chest muscles also adding a stretch through the shoulders and thoracic back. A
Fundamental Mat work follows, including Pelvic Curls and Supine Spine Twist to warm up her
spine, hamstrings and hip flexors. Next, Chest Lifts, making connection with the rectus
abdominus and transverse abdominus while noting scapular stabilization. Leg Lifts and Leg
Changes awaken her abdominals to aid in stabilization of her pelvis and low back.
Basic Footwork on the Reformer is continued throughout her twelve week conditioning
program, increasing resistance as she gains the ability for proper foot position, engage the inner
thigh, and maintain pelvic lumbar stabilization. The Reformer is also used to strengthen her
abdominals starting with Hundred Prep with legs in tabletop and progressing to Hundreds. After
abdominals she continues on the Reformer with Hip Work, her feet in the straps, focusing on
gaining full range of motion in the hip flexors while strengthening her adductors and hamstrings,
encouraging pelvic stability.
In Sandys first lessons her Spinal Articulation movement includes Roll Like a Ball. As
she progresses, she moves to Spinal Articulation on the Reformer with Bottom Lift to strengthen
the abdominals and hamstrings. Adding Extensions to Bottom Lift causes her to focus and work
on deeper spine mobility. Stretching with Standing Lunge gives Sandy both a hip flexor and
hamstring stretch with added back extensor engagement.
Full Body Integration begins with Elephant to open up the spine and increase back
extensor length and abdominal strength while encouraging scapular stabilization. Moving to Up
Stretch 1, Scooter and Reverse Knee Stretch in later weeks for increase challenge. Arm Work on
the Reformer alternates between Sitting and Supine Series and continues until graduating to
Arms Kneeling and Arms Standing on the Cadillac.
It is important for Sandy to strengthen her inner thighs with the Magic Circle Sitting
Series on the Box then progress to Single Leg Skate on the Reformer. For Lateral Flexion and
Rotation, Mermaid further develops mobility of the spine. Swimming on the Mat helps Sandy
with coordination and cross patterning of her upper and lower body to strengthen over all.
During her program she also trained in Backstroke Prep, Pulling Straps Series and Swan Basic
on the Wunda Chair.
BLOCK EXERCISES Weeks 1 - 3 Weeks 4 - 6 Weeks 7 - 9 Weeks 10 - 12 Roll Down Roll Down Roll Down Roll Down
Warm Up Mat: Mat: Mat: Mat: Pelvic Curl Pelvic Curl Pelvic Curl Pelvic Curl Spine Twist Supine Spine Twist Supine Sitting Spine Twist Sitting Spine Twist Chest Lift Chest Lift Chest Lift
Chest Lift with
Rotation Chest Lift with
Rotation Chest Lift with
Single Leg Lift/Leg
Changes Single Leg Lift/Leg
Footwork Reformer: Reformer: Reformer: Reformer: Heels Heels Heels Heels Toes Toes Toes Toes V V V V Wide Heels Wide Heels Wide Heels Wide Heels Wide Toes Wide Toes Wide Toes Wide Toes Calf Raises Calf Raises Calf Raises Calf Raises Prances Prances Prances Prances
Single Leg Heel/Toes
Single Leg Heel/Toes
Single Leg Heel/Toes
Single Leg Heel/Toes
BLOCK EXERCISES Hip Work Reformer: Reformer: Reformer: Reformer:
Frog Frog Frog Frog Circles Down Circles Down Circles Down Circles Down Circles Up Circles Up Circles Up Circles Up Openings Extended Frog Extended Frog Extended Frog
Spinal Mat: Mat: Reformer: Reformer: Articulation Rolling like a ball Spine Stretch Bottom Lift Bottom Lift
Spine Stretch Bottom Lift Extensions
Bottom Lift Exensions
Reformer: or or Bottom Lift Wunda Chair: Wuda Chair Pelvic Curl Pelvic Curl
Stretches Reformer: Reformer: Reformer: Reformer:
w/Pole Shoulder Stretch
w/Pole Standing Lunge Standing Lunge Standing Lunge Standing Lunge Side Split Side Split Side Split