Many people come to Pilates to rehabilitate themselves after injury and therefore you want to be able to target all populations as a Pilates teacher. Whether it’s an elderly woman recovering from a fall or a top-level athlete, you can learn to teach variations and modifications of these exercises for whatever injury they may be recovering from.
However, we have found five Pilates exercises to be the best for anyone going through physical therapy at any time. Learn to teach them in private or group sessions through our Level 3 Diploma Program to step up your career and continue helping people heal.
Toe Taps are one of the best ways to strengthen the core and align the lower back at the same time. Many people have a tendency to over-arch the lower spine or may be recovering from lower back injury. This exercise is a gentle way to strengthen this area without pushing it too far, which makes it great for those in physical therapy.
To perform Toe Taps, lie on the back with the knees in a tabletop position. Imprint the lumbar spine by hollowing the belly muscles and lengthening through the lumbar curve. Slowly lower the right leg on an inhale, and return to the starting position using the abdominals on the exhale. Ensure the spine remains in imprint.
This one is great for the hips! This exercise will connect the hips to the core and lower back. For this one, lie on your back with the shoulders and hips planted into the floor firmly. Extend the right leg up to the sky and begin to circle across the body, down, around and pull it back up to the center, using the exhale at the end. Do this 5 times and then repeat the circle in the opposite direction before doing the other side.
Now let’s wring out the spine, giving it some mobility while stabilizing the hips. To perform the Spine Twist, come to a seated position with the arms out to a T. Root the sitting bones into the floor and keep the hips square to the front. On an inhale twist to the right side, keeping length through the spine. Exhale and return to the center. Repeat to the left. Do 5 sets. Resist the temptation to twist the hips, so that the twist is in the waist rather than the lower back.
The spine is so important to our vital human functions and this exercise helps strengthen the muscles around it. To perform, lie on your belly with the hands underneath the shoulders and top of the feet flat on the floor. Lift the belly muscles inward and draw the navel into the spine for protection (otherwise, this will be of no use!).
Begin to lift the head and chest off the floor, keeping the elbows hugged into the ribcage. There’s no need to lift very high- you should just be lifting with your back muscles and not the hands. To check this, you can lift the hands off the mat. If you fall down, then you were lifting from your hands. It’s like a baby cobra- keep it small and the strength will grow over time.
This one is like a massage for the spine and great for anyone, at any time! It’s just like the yoga cat-cow, except using Pilates breath. On the inhale, curve the spine like a cat into a C-shape and on the exhale, arch the back. The reason for this is that it protects the lower back on the arch.
Learn how to tailor your classes and individual exercises to people from all levels and backgrounds with our Level 3 Pilates Diploma. Incorporate the therapeutic benefits of Pilates to help those recovering from injury and maintain good health to prevent injury.