It’s Time For A Pilates Intervention

By Sally Anderson • Edited by Amanda Altman | Article Featured on Pilates Style

I’m a posture nerd. There, I’ve said it! Figuring out and fixing postural dysfunctions and movement patterns is exciting for me. And yes, it’s a constant work in progress for me (and everyone else), but that’s part of the fun—putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and watching for progress.

For many years, I’ve been trying to solve postural puzzles and help others understand how to work with postural deviations. Over time, I’ve realized how common pelvic rotational patterns have become. When chronic, these patterns can be debilitating, and for that reason, I had to find a strategic way to intervene, and help repattern and rebalance the pelvis, to bring about better movement potential and less pain for my clients.

Pelvic rotation can be a very challenging postural distortion to understand and unravel, but by integrating some simple tools and strategies drawn from allied health modalities into the Pilates environment, I found I was able to address chronic pelvic rotation patterns in an effective and user-friendly way.

My key to breaking the rotational pattern and introducing better balance and optimal function is by utilizing wedges as Pilates props. The wedges help to break the pattern, allowing the body to release and activate in a more balanced position, which ultimately helps to relieve symptoms while retraining the body’s more ideal recruitment patterns.

I prefer to integrate these strategies into a regular Pilates programming structure so that I can improve a client’s posture while still taking them through a holistic Pilates practice. This allows the client to understand their whole body in movement and how it relates to better alignment and function, and gives them tools to help themselves. Using wedges, I teach clients to understand their own setup so they can take home an easy-to-do regimen for relieving their own discomfort and retraining their body to reboot its postural patterning.

I call this overall process a “Pilates intervention.” Bearing in mind, people with minor pelvic rotations benefit simply through our standard Pilates repertoire. However, when there are clients whose symptoms, or obvious signs, dictate a more specific need to intervene, then I have found success using wedges and programming strategies. This intervention process is specific to retraining the mind and body while restoring function, and should be individually targeted to the client’s needs.

The exercises here are based around three considerations:

1. Unload the sacrum and bring the pelvis as close to neutral as possible.
2. Add stabilization and activation to the neutralized position, progressively increasing load and challenge.
3. Select exercises that derotate the pattern and restore proper alignment.

Bear in mind that the pelvic rotation may not go away altogether—often the structural influences and lifestyle activities of the person may not allow for complete redress—but this intervention should provide relief from symptoms, a more functional control of the rotation, a conscious understanding of how the client can manage their own needs, and the ability to progress Pilates work with better form and function.

The exercise selections in the Pilates method are endlessly useful in application to this type of rotation. Think of selecting repertoire that applies to the muscular imbalances and structural deviances at hand. If you’re a teacher, I think you’ll find it fun and rewarding to cherry-pick the exercises that best suit each client and allow them to lead the best life possible. If you’re a client, well, you’ll find it positively life-changing.


WEDGING TO NEUTRAL

Props: 2 wedges

Purpose:
helps bring a rotated pelvis to as neutral a position as possible, unload the torsion from the rotation and “imprint” the rebalanced position to memory

SUPINE
Setup: Lie on your back with your legs extended and together. For a right-back rotation, insert one wedge under the top of your right-side pelvis, slightly angling it down toward your sacrum. Place the second wedge under your left upper thigh as shown; for a left-back rotation, reverse sides with the wedges.

wedging-to-neutral-supine

1. Allow your pelvis and entire body to release into this wedged position.

2. Take 6–10 full breaths, relax your body and find the adapted position.

3. Take 6–10 more breaths; as you exhale, engage your muscles around the wedges to “imprint” this activation in the new position into your mind.

PRONE
Setup: Lie facedown with your legs extended and together. Insert one wedge under your left hip bone (or right, depending on your rotation), slightly angling it down toward your pubic bone. Place the second wedge under your right (or left) upper thigh.

wedging-to-neutral-prone

1. Repeat steps 1–3 of the supine version.

Tips: If you don’t have wedges, use your sneakers instead! Note that, if you flip straight over from supine to prone on the wedges, you’ll have the wedges in place for the prone setup, making for a pretty seamless transition. In supine, for a right-back rotation, you’ll be encouraging the right side of your pelvis forward and the left back; it’s the opposite in the prone version.


SUPINE ARM SERIES WITH WEDGES

Props: 2 wedges; set of 2-pound weights

Purpose:
adds load to the rebalanced position to promote stabilization and activation of the torso and pelvic musculature, to rebalance the entire body

Setup: Same as Wedging to Neutral Supine, but reach your arms toward the ceiling, holding the weights in your hands, palms in. Allow your shoulders to drop, engaging the back of your shoulder joints.

1. Inhale, opening your arms to your sides as far as you can while maintaining torso stability; exhale, returning to the starting position. Do 6–10 reps.

arm-series-setup-step-1

2. Inhale, scissoring your arms forward and back; exhale, returning to the starting position. Do 6–10 reps.

arm-series-step-2

Tips: Allow the weight of your pelvis to rest heavily on the wedges. Maintain your rib-to-pelvis connection.

Variation: Do this on the Cadillac, using the Arm Springs instead of the weights.


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Balance Massage and Core Fitness Studio

Address
233 SE Washington Street, Suite 103
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123

Phone: 503.352.9685
Email: info@balance-mf.com