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  • Writer's pictureShane Lawless

The 7 Benefits of Pilates

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

Physiotherapy led Pilates
Physio led Pilates

In the 1920s, physical trainer Joseph Pilates introduced Pilates into America as a way to help injured athletes and dancers safely return to exercise and maintain their fitness.

Pilates lengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups in the body in a balanced fashion. It improves flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness.

Pilates caters for everyone, from beginner to advanced.

When done correctly, there are many benefits of Pilates:

1. Muscle Tone

Pilates differs from regular weight training in that it focuses on muscle toning as opposed to building muscle mass. Pilates will focus on your deeper muscles that attach directly to your spine and pelvis, your “CORE” muscles resulting in flatter (more toned) abdominals, lower back, hips and buttocks.

2. Recovering from Chronic Back Pain

Pilates is a great adjunct to Physiotherapy as you recover from back pain. The beauty of Pilates is that it is low impact. Therefore, you are benefitting from strengthening the muscles around your spine without the heavy impact of weights. After completing a course of Pilates your back will be more durable and better equipped for the everyday tasks of lifting, pushing and pulling. You will experience reduced occurrences of back pain and recover quicker.

3. Flexibility & Balance

Pilates lengthens and stretches all the major muscle groups in the body in a balanced fashion. As your balance and breathing improves throughout the course you will be able to stretch further and deeper than you would have thought possible. You will breathe and relax into these stretches removing previous tension held in the muscles.

4. Increased Energy and De-stress

One of the key aspects of Pilates is breathing. At the start of each class and throughout each movement we focus on deep breathing allowing re-oxygenation of tired and stressed muscles. As your breathing improves throughout the course you will be able to expand your lungs more and exhale for longer, resulting in stronger lungs and greater oxygenation of our brains and bodies. You will leave the class feeling re-energised, lighter and de-stressed.

5. Injury Prevention

Whether you are recovering from an existing injury or want to prevent injury for the coming season. The fact that it is low impact, means players can start Pilates early in the recovery from back, hip and knee pain. Pilates focuses on balancing muscular strength on both sides of the body, improving alignment. Another big factor in injuries is poor coordination. Disassociation between our upper and lower bodies or what we want our bodies to do and what actually occurs during a movement. Pilates focuses on improving the connection between our upper and lower bodies through strengthening of our “CORE” muscles around our pelvis thus improving balance and coordination between our arms and legs. Here at Reflex Physiotherapy we have designed Pilates programmes specific for Runners (“Pilates for Runners”) and GAA players (Pilates for GAA”)

6. Prenatal and Postnatal

As your pregnancy progresses, your body starts to lean more forward and arching of the lower back happens naturally to compensate for your baby bump, putting more pressure on the back. And that’s where Pilates comes in. To avoid the onset of back pain we have developed prenatal Pilates. We prepare your body with strength and mobility to keep you fit and healthy and with stamina to see you through labour. As our classes are small and physio led, they are completely safe.

During and after pregnancy, the core and pelvic floor muscles become stretched and weakened. It is important to gently build these back up following birth to prevent urinary incontinence and the onset of back pain. Post natal Pilates will teach you how to gently activate the core and pelvic floor muscles and strengthen them following pregnancy

7. Incontinence

Pilates has been shown to be effective in the prevention and treatment of incontinence. Whether it be postnatal or age related, Pilates focuses on strengthening and tightening the pelvic floor muscles that can become weaker after childbirth or as we age.

To gain the maximum benefit, you should do Pilates at least two or three times per week and attend a class led by a Chartered Physiotherapist.

Advantages of REFLEX Physiotherapy Pilates:

  • All classes are led by a Chartered Physiotherapist

  • Class sizes are kept to a minimum to ensure the unique individual attention required to perfect each movement

  • Safety, we use our physiotherapy experience to ensure the safety of all clients, whether you are pre/postnatal, suffering from back pain or elderly.

  • We have developed options for each movement and use our expertise to prescribe the appropriate option for each patient. This ensures that our classes cater for everyone, from beginner to advanced.

Some common mistakes we see in Pilates:

For more details and/or to book Pilates, speak to our physiotherapist at or call (087)-6156270.

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