What is the difference between fitness Pilates and clinical Pilates

 In Exercise and Health

clinical pilates

Many people have heard of Pilates, but with so many different Pilates options it can be hard to know which one to choose. This blog will talk through some different types of classes which are available in the community, to help you know which one is right for you and aligns with your goals.

Mat Pilates

This Pilates is done on the floor on a yoga mat. You may use extra bits of equipment such as balls, bands and circles. This is the type of Pilates that many gyms offer. It is generally a whole body work out focused on gluteal, core and postural strengthening. If you are confident, this can be great. If the class is large, there is a chance if you are performing some exercises incorrectly, it will not be picked up. It is important to listen to the cues by the instructor.

Booty Barre

Booty Barre Pilates is a newer type of Pilates. It is a mixture of mat Pilates, arm weights, and ballet type exercise performed on a mat or on a barre. It is really good to get a glute burn happening as well as a whole body work out. You will definitely get a sweat up in this type of class.

Fitness Reformer Pilates

These are Pilates classes run on reformers. A reformer is a spring based machine with a carriage that moves and straps which you may use with your hands or feet. There are many things you can do on a reformer and it can be used for beginners to very advanced moves. In a fitness class, everyone may be doing the same thing or you may do a circuit type work out. You may work different areas of your legs, abdominals, glutes, postural muscles, arms etc. Fitness Pilates is great because you get the great burn of Pilates, and some exercise may get your heart rate up as well. Fitness classes are not specifically for injuries so if you have any injuries or feel any pain it is very important to speak up so the instructor can modify the exercise for you.

Clinical Pilates

Clinical Pilates is also performed on reformers. In a clinical Pilates class, the class should be tailored specifically to you. Typically you will do a one on one set up first, so you can experience the reformer and your instructor can work out exactly which exercises are or aren’t for you. Exercises feel different depending on springs and your body positon and depending on your goals and/or injury, these things will be tweaked to suit you perfectly. In clinical Pilates you will be doing exercises chosen exactly for your goals whether that is to do a PB at park run on the weekend or rehabilitate your lower back pain. You may do similar exercises to the person next to you, but your goals with the exercise may be completely different. Depending on those goals and your strength, will depict your springs and your sets and reps etc

In a clinical Pilates class, the class should be tailored specifically to you. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet

How do we run Pilates at POGO?

At POGO our Pilates classes are only run by physiotherapists. There is a maximum of 4 people in each class. We use Pilates reformers and also have a trapeze table. Depending on your injury we may also incorporate weights, bosu ball, swiss ball and matt exercises into your class. Before you can do classes you need to do a one on one set up. Clients generally come into Pilates one of two ways, they are recommended to begin as apart of their rehabilitation by their physiotherapist or they come specifically for Pilates. Either way you need a one on one set up first. The one on one set up gives time to do the exercise prescribed on the reformer, find the correct spring, make sure nothing niggles while you do it, make sure you feel ok after completing the exercise, adjust position to ensure you get the most out of the exercise. You are one on one with your physiotherapist so their undivided attention is on you and you can ask as many questions as you like. Some people may be able to go into classes after completing a single one on one sessions, others may need a couple to completely get the hang of it. In the one on one session we write your program so we can track how you progress through your sessions. It is great to see how you improve in spring weights, reps, sets and progression of exercises hence why we write it all down. We also have classes run by all our physiotherapists, so if you are in a class with someone who didn’t do your set up, its fine, all your information and history and program is written down to be followed. There is always a full hand over between physiotherapists. If you have been seeing your physiotherapist and then you start Pilates, the physiotherapist already knows your physical limitations and your goals. If your first session is a Pilates set up, there will be some time at the start of the session where a thorough history is taken and a physical assessment is performed so we know EXACTLY what is going on with you (diagnosis) and are very clear on your goals (your WHY) before we commence the part of the session where you go out to the reformers and start exercising.

A few other notes

  • Pilates can be as easy or as hard as you want. We have people ranging from 12 years old to 90 years old in our Pilates classes, each with individual goals. Exercises can be very basic and gentle on joints, or very difficult and tricky to balance, hence why your program needs to be individualised to you
  • You can go into any class, because every client has an individualised program there is no such thing as “beginner” o “advanced” etc
  • Because there is a maximum of 4 people in each class, there is a lot of attention on you from your physiotherapist. You can always grab their attention to ask questions and believe me they will be watching your form to make sure it is perfect
  • We recommend wearing grip socks in Pilates because it helps grip onto the leather on the reformer and you will not feel like you are slipping. It is also good for hygiene purposes
  • Having a towel and some water to drink is good because despite seeming easy, it is likely you will sweat during your exercise session
  • It is always important to let your physiotherapist know if you are feeling any discomfort or niggles during your class. Something that niggles at the time can sometimes flare up after, so it is important to communicate clearly with your physio. Often it is a slight tweak of position or spring strength and that discomfort is gone.

Emily Georgopolous (APAM)

 Emily Georgopuolos Physiotherapist

Featured in the Top 50 Physical Therapy Blog

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