Magical thinking and factually incorrect beliefs abound in many industries and Pilates is no exception. Most Pilates education is decades out of date at best, and at worst just plain pseudoscientific.
Many of these false beliefs have become accepted wisdom in the Pilates industry but are massively at odds with accepted science and best practice in exercise, health and movement teaching. This inconvenient disconnect means there are lots of topics in Pilates that are Elephants in the Room - things we don't question because it's a bit heretical to do so.
Well, we're here to change that.
We'll talk about all the Elephants from posture, to core strengthening for low back pain, to scapular stabilisation ... oh boy the list is a very, very long one!
Warning - we swear. But we have cute accents.
PS: Yes stabilisation is spelled with an "s" if you're in Australia
5. Good and Bad Muscles
A client telling you "my abs are on fire" is considered high praise by most instructors.
But what if your client said "my hip flexors are on fire"?
If you're like most instructors, your response to "my hip flexors are on fire" would probably range from mild frustration that they're not feeling it in the right place, to concern that they may be somehow "dysfunctional".
Or, consider these two statements:
"My glutes are on fire"
"My neck is gripping"
Both statements describe very similar physical sensations. Why is one desirable and the other not?
The fact that you know which one we're implying is "good" and which is "bad", kinda highlights the point.
Why do we have the paradoxical notion that some muscles should be worked and strengthened, whereas others should not be?
Read the research
Stanton et al. (2017) Feeling stiffness in the back: a protective perceptual inference in chronic back pain https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09429-1?mc_cid=a5e677f5b6&mc_eid=2aa759e33a (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09429-1?mc_cid=a5e677f5b6&mc_eid=2aa759e33a)
Chen et al. (2017) Workplace-Based Interventions for Neck Pain in Office Workers: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis https://academic.oup.com/ptj/article/98/1/40/4562646 (https://academic.oup.com/ptj/article/98/1/40/4562646)
Herida-Rizo et al. (2019) Clinical Outcomes and Central Pain Mechanisms are Improved After Upper Trapezius Eccentric Training in Female Computer Users With Chronic Neck/Shoulder Pain https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/wk/cjpn/2019/00000035/00000001/art00010 (https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/wk/cjpn/2019/00000035/00000001/art00010)
4. Your Brain Is A Liar
A client comes to see you with pain. You give them some special exercises and send them on their way feeling awesome. Obviously the exercises worked, right?
Not so fast.
Our intuitive notion of cause and effect is evolved to deal with simple situations found in the ancestral environment, not the complexities of modern living.
It turns out that the evidence of our own experience is an incredibly unreliable way of distinguishing cause and effect.
Most of the time we delude ourselves. You're probably doing it right now, and you almost certainly do it with every one of your clients, and your favourite treatments, whatever they are.
There is a way to get some insight into cause and effect - it's called science.
For a freaking awesome listen on everything related to cognitive biases, blind spots and faulty reasoning check out:
You Are Not So Smart podcast: https://youarenotsosmart.com/podcast/ (https://youarenotsosmart.com/podcast/)
Your Deceptive Mind book: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Deceptive-Mind-scientific-guidebook/dp/B008YEC82M (https://www.amazon.com/Your-Deceptive-Mind-scientific-guidebook/dp/B008YEC82M)
3. Educator, Educate Thyself
The outcome of all education should be to open the mind to new possibilities, new ways of thinking and new ways of viewing the world.
However in the Pilates world, almost all our continuing education is of the "101 things to do with a Magic Circle" variety.
Not exactly mind-opening stuff.
Why is this? And what can be done about it?
2. imPosture Syndrome
Posture is often thought to be at the heart of Pilates, but is it still relevant? Can "faulty" posture really cause pain or dysfunction? What is dysfunction anyway? We take a look at all these topics and a few more in relation to posture.
1. Body Shaming and Proprioceptive Fat
This episode we talk through our response to some horrible and quite silly things said on social media this week. Plus we clarify what proprioception is, and where it happens (hint, not in your bony landmarks).