Every day, we’re surrounded by photos of six-pack abs and flat stomachs, and magazines seem to have an endless parade of articles on “beat belly flab” and “bikini-ready abs.” But while it might be nice to have an aesthetically pleasing midsection, your core is about much more than looks.
Core strength helps you in significant ways, every day and in nearly every movement. It’s at the center of how you reach, stretch, lift, and bend. Without adequate core strength, timing and coordination, you may be putting your body at risk for pain and chronic problems.
Also important to note is that your “core” isn’t just your abs. Although they’re in the mix, your core also includes your pelvis, lower back, and even your diaphragm, which is a sheet of internal muscle that’s important for respiration.
When you build appropriate strength throughout your core, it creates significant benefits:
Injury prevention: When you can move efficiently, it doesn’t load up one part of your body or cause certain muscles to take all the weight. Your back, shoulders, and knees aren’t being overtaxed just because your core lacks stability and strength.
Stronger back: There is so much back pain these days that it’s been called an epidemic. Apart from headaches, back pain is the leading cause of missed work days. Plus, there’s a ripple effect as the pain lowers your energy levels, disrupts sleep, affects mood and causes other problems. With a stronger, smarter core, you have a much lower risk of chronic back pain.
Better balance: As we age, there are many factors that affect balance, including eye and ear issues, medication side effects, joint health, and perceptual challenges. When balance is decreased, it can cause fall risk and other serious problems. But training the core can help to address these challenges and keep you on track as you age.
One of the best ways to increase core strength is through Pilates, which focuses on core stabilization and control in order to prevent injury and optimize function. To achieve these outcomes, Viverant has developed eVolution℠, a distinctive system that combines Pilates and physical therapy to harness the best of each.
For more information on eVolution, contact us to set up an assessment and consultation.
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Please consult your health care provider, or contact Viverant for an appointment before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Viverant shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.
Pilates is one of the most powerful and effective ways to speed injury recovery, reduce the risk of chronic issues, and optimize performance—but only if you’re doing Pilates correctly.
The technique focuses on controlled movements that build strength and balance through better alignment and proper core integration, which is one of the reasons it’s become so popular. There are plenty of Pilates DVDs, YouTube videos, group classes, and hybrid approaches (like PiYo, which combines Pilates and yoga) and it’s likely to remain in demand for years to come.
But Pilates is not like Zumba, where you can just follow along and do fairly well by mimicking a series of movements. The practice has a significant amount of nuance that requires extensive training for teachers and other practitioners. Here are three ways that people tend to do Pilates incorrectly:
Improper stabilization: In Pilates, core stability is key, and bringing stabilization to your center allows for movements that are effective and connected. If you’re not sure how to stabilize properly, you risk putting strain on your back, neck, and other joints.
Lack of control: One of the biggest aspects of Pilates is slow, controlled movements that allow you to feel what’s happening in your body. Often times people rush through the movements using momentum instead of precise, consciously-controlled movement, causing them to miss the benefit of Pilates. When that happens, you don’t get the control you need for proper form.
Selective implementation: Pilates is a system that’s designed to bring your whole body into alignment, allowing your natural strength and flexibility to be fully accessed. When you choose just one or two “exercises” from the Pilates system, you’re reducing the impact that a whole series can bring. Even worse, you may be improperly focusing on just one part of your body at the expense of another area, missing an opportunity to correct what's wrong.
When these problems begin, it can have the opposite effect of what you’re seeking—instead of getting stronger and more efficient, you risk injury and could be setting yourself up for long-term negative outcomes.
Making sure that you’re following the detailed instructions of someone trained in both Pilates and the body’s movement patterns is hugely useful, and can have considerable benefits for your health, now and into the future.
To offer clients more meaningful outcomes in injury recovery, performance optimization, and injury prevention, Viverant has developed eVolution℠, a distinctive system that combines Pilates and physical therapy to harness the best of each.
Although each client will have specific goals and a tailored treatment plan, every eVolution track begins the same way: with a CoreScore℠ assessment.
The CoreScore gives us an idea of how you use your body during everyday tasks and exercises, including how you integrate your glutes, core, and trunk muscles into movements.
This isn’t a fitness test—don’t fear a return of those old middle-school gym days of crunches and pull-ups. Instead, the CoreScore consists of 10 whole-body exercises where the physical therapist will assess your performance of these exercises. Your outcome on each exercise is used as a powerful teaching tool to start to correct and restore healthy movement patterns.
The CoreScore will be retaken after every 6th visit in order to show you your progress and to continue to tailor your eVolution treatment for maximum benefit. Many clients gain significant insight from just their first CoreScore assessment, and they’re able to better grasp how weakness in one part of the body—particularly in their core muscles—may be leading to difficulties in other areas.
Although the CoreScore is considered a starting point, it’s a powerful kickoff to a results-oriented system. By knowing where you are now, you can understand where you have to go, and what it will take to get there.
Want a free CoreScore assessment? Download our eVolution whitepaper and you'll find a free CoreScore voucher inside!
Our newest system, eVolution, is changing the focus of treatment by infusing the best of Pilates and physical therapy together. This powerful combination's goal is to address, eliminate and prevent deficiencies limiting your body from reaching its maximum physical potential.
For a simple guide to how eVolution works and the benefits eVolution offers, download our infographic below.
Both Pilates and physical therapy can be powerful ways to build strength, speed recovery, and prevent future injuries. That’s why Viverant has developed eVolution℠, a distinctive system that combines the best of both to harness outcomes not often achieved independently.
In order to meet your needs, eVolution consists of two distinct phases: Foundation and Lifestyle. Some of the same techniques are utilized in both, but each offers specific goals that are worth noting:
Once you reach a certain assessment score—based on pain level, mobility, and function—you are ready to transition to the next phase, Lifestyle.
In addition to graduating from Foundation, you can also opt for Lifestyle from the start, as long as you achieve a passing grade on the CoreScore assessment.
eVolution is an innovative system that combines Pilates and distinctive Physical Therapy skills. Created by Viverant, it helps harness the best of both worlds. Download the guide to learn more about this revolutionary new system that boosts performance, speeds up recovery and more.
Pilates has become known for creating more strength, improving coordination, and speeding recovery.
But like any specialized system of exercise, not every teacher brings the same depth of knowledge and knack for technique to the task. When evaluating different instructors and studios, here's what you should consider:
Training in body mechanics: Ideally, you would do well to find a Pilates teacher who has extensive experience in understanding physiology, anatomy, movement, and exercise science. For example, seeking out a physical therapist who can guide you through Pilates sessions would give you a more personalized plan, geared toward your goals, level of fitness, and injury history.
Listening skills: There are some classes, like dance sessions or kickboxing, where you can jump in, have fun, and work up a sweat. But Pilates is all about precision, not a calorie scorch. In order to get the best results, you need a teacher who will listen to your aims — injury prevention vs. performance boost — and tailor your movements accordingly.
Certification and experience: Anyone can take a quickie course (sometimes even online) and then claim to be a Pilates teacher. That's why it's particularly important to talk to teachers about their training and background, especially if you'll be working with equipment. Like any type of exercise, it's possible to become injured if training isn't done properly, so making the effort to check into a teacher's background is essential.
Personality and rapport: Someone could be the most talented Pilates teacher in the world, but if you dread having to go to sessions, you're more likely to skip them altogether. Much like other types of teachers, forging a personal connection can help you work together and focus on your goals.
In general, it helps to find a teacher that makes you feel not only results-driven, but also safe. Try out a session or two before committing to a long-term practice with that teacher, and eventually you'll find a Pilates relationship that clicks.
First developed to build strength among prisoners of WWI internment camps, Pilates has evolved over the past 75 years as a way to strengthen core muscles, improve coordination, and shorten injury recovery time.
But couldn't that be said about other types of practices? For example, yoga claims to have all those results as well, and so do martial arts like Capoeira and judo. But Pilates is unique among other fitness-related practices for several reasons:
Small movements, big results: Particularly in martial arts, big movements tend to be the norm, such as kicking and striking. Even in yoga, a flow practice can have a student sweeping from standing to plank pose in just a few seconds. But Pilates is highly focused on deliberate, controlled movements that are seemingly easy — but just wait until you've done a few sessions. Those small tweaks can add up to major improvements in flexibility and body awareness. The emphasis here is on precision, breathing, and mental presence. That benefits the entire body and mind, not just the muscles that were worked in a particular session.
Specialized equipment: Pilates does have an option of doing mat classes, done on a mat that's similar to yoga. But more advanced studios will have apparatus like the Reformer, the Cadillac, Wunda Chair, and other pieces of equipment that can look odd to the uninitiated. Comprised of straps, springs, and padded areas, these devices help you to adjust your level of movement, so you can progress from absolute beginner on up to higher levels. What all equipment has in common is a continued focus on core muscles and expending effort from there.
Although Pilates has much in common with other types of exercises that emphasize a mind-body connection for maximum results, the system is distinctive when it comes to building proper form and alignment.
As part of Pilates, there are many pieces of equipment designed to help people get in and out of movements more easily, and adjust according to their experience, injury, and fitness levels.
But even with all that said, it's easy to mistake the Reformer — considered the top choice for many Pilates teachers and students — as some type of Medieval relic.
Vaguely resembling a rack from a bad movie that's set in the Middle Ages, the Reformer comes in several variations, with different types of attachments, but all resemble a strange twin bed that's only partially padded.
Evolution of the form
Since the founder of the practice, Joseph Pilates, developed the system for those in World War II internment camps, it's been said that the Reformer gets its look from the small beds prisoners had. With many growing weaker by the day, Pilates modified the beds with springs and straps to allow them to do strength-building exercises without additional effort.
Since then, the equipment has been refined and scaled down, so that it's now more like a funky sled than a weird bed. Straps allow you to slide from one end to the other, all while concentrating on specific muscles and consistent breathing.
Ultimate in versatility
There's good reason that the Reformer is so popular for Pilates. Exercises can be done sitting, standing, lying down, or kneeling. By being able to use components like the footbar and shoulder blocks, you can train several parts of the body in a short timeframe.
Also helpful, the Reformer is geared toward letting you work at multiple levels. So, you can still do exercises effectively even if you're injured or a beginner. No matter what level you work at, the equipment will allow you to build strength, focus, and coordination.
The best way to use the Reformer is under the expert guidance of a qualified instructor who can assess which exercises are right for your goals.
Pilates is a beneficial method for recovering from injury, optimizing performance, and preventing physical ills. But there’s a way to maximize results even more: combining the technique with physical therapy.
Contact us today to get started.
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