Q: Will Pilates help my posture?
The powerhouse (abdominal muscles) helps stabilize your torso. Building a strong powerhouse is central to the Pilates workout. Strong abdominal muscles coupled with strong back muscles are necessary for the torso to stay upright. After strengthening the powerhouse, the Pilates workout helps the student achieve better posture, by addressing the placement of the head, shoulders and hips.
In Pilates, there is a belief that the body will function best when the head is positioned correctly over the shoulders and the shoulders are even and stacked directly on top of the hips. When joints are stacked in this manner, they should be under the least amount of stress, allowing them to function best.
A good Pilates instructor studies her student’s body alignment from all angles. It is common to hear a Pilates instructor give cues such as, “lower your right shoulder” or “pull your left hip back.” The instructor is doing this in effort to correct the student’s posture and allow the torso to move in a supported manner. The Pilates instructor may often given special exercises to address a specific postural issue.
Q: Should I go to my Pilates class if I am in acute back pain?
No. You should see your doctor.
Q: Does Pilates only address the abdominal muscles, or does it also work the back muscles?
A Pilates workout focuses on strengthening the abdominal muscles, but a large component of the workout is working on flexibility in the back and strengthening the back muscles.