Pilates and Posture 101

Pilates and Posture 101

Pilates is great for posture, but it’s goo to know your postural type in order to benefit your practice.

Do You Know Your Postural Type?

 

The spine…it’s a beautiful structure, designed to support our bodies throughout life is segmented into 3 sections –

  1. Cervical with 7 smaller, finer vertebra with a slight concave shape
  2. Thoracic with 12 vertebrae with a slight convex shape
  3. Lumbar with 5 larger, more robust vertebra with a slight concave shape

spine-4-views

Attached to the lumbar spine is the pelvic girdle, consisting of the sacrum, coccyx (tailbone) and the pelvic bones. Your posture type is based on a group of muscle imbalances which change the shape of the spine and pelvis.

A normal or ‘ideal’ posture is desirable however our curves are all a little different based on our movement patterns, lifestyle, hereditary factors, stress levels and personality. Pilates is amazing at addressing postural imbalance in the body which in turn can release pain and improve quality of life. Knowing what postural type you are can help you to work more effectively in your Pilates sessions to help improve your posture.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-56-17-am

SWAYBACK POSTURE

Sway Backs generally need to strengthen

  • lower external obliques
  • hip flexors
  • mid and low trapezius

Sway Backs generally need to lengthen

  • pectorals (especially pec minor)
  • glutes
  • upper abdominals
  • hamstrings
  • SCM (sternocleidomastoid)

Pilates exercises perfect for you are – 

Roll Over, Breast Stroke Prep, Swan dive, salute, open elbows, toe taps, front splits

 

FLAT BACK POSTURE

Flat Backs generally need to strengthen

  • upper abdominals
  • hip flexors
  • lower back extensors

Flat Backs generally need to lengthen

  • lower abdominals
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • upper back

Pilates exercises perfect for you are –

front splits, ab prep, short spine, cat stretch, supine psoas pull

 

MILITARY POSTURE

Militaries generally need to strengthen

  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • upper and lower abs

Militaries generally need to lengthen

  • upper back
  • lower back
  • hip flexors

Pilates exercises perfect for you are –

front splits, side leg work, supine psoas pull, ab prep

 

KYPHOSIS LORDOSIS POSTURE

K/L’s generally need to strengthen

  • lower abs
  • upper back
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • mid and low trapezius

K/L’s generally need to lengthen

  • lower back
  • upper back
  • hip flexors

Pilates exercises perfect for you are –

side leg work, toe taps, back rowing, front splits

It can be tricky to assess yourself! If you’d like to get a little more in-depth on your posture type and how to improve it, book a one on one appointment for an individual assessment.

 

Sources:
Bender, R. (2013) Breathe Pilates Mat and Reformer Applications Vol 1 & 2. Melbourne, VIC.
Kendall, H. (2005) Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain. Philadelphia, PA.

 

Belinda Survilla is the Pilates & Co. studio manager and takes regular classes at the Miami studio, including orientation for new members.

Pilates & Co Pilates Reformer Fitness Studio Gold Coast