I stole this idea from Cloe Bunter, and it’s a great one!
Michael has been one of our biggest inspirations, and has given us endless happy tears throughout our journey together. He is a STAND OUT human being who has also emerged as an incredibly skilled teacher. He also just so happens to be 78!
I challenge you to not find his joy, passion and laugh contagious 🙂
Read the research
People with low back pain tend to have INCREASED activation of abdominals and low back muscles
- Discriminating Healthy Controls and Two Clinical Subgroups of Nonspecific Chronic Low Back Pain Patients Using Trunk Muscle Activation and Lumbosacral Kinematics of Postures and Movements (Dankaerts et al. 2009)
- Changes in muscle activation patterns and subjective low back pain ratings during prolonged standing in response to an exercise intervention (Nelson-Wong & Callaghan, 2010
Read Greg Lehman’s informative, science-based and hilarious blog post
Sarah Michael is the founding trainer of VIVE Active in Sydney Australia, where she is all about giving the client the best experience.
In order to do this her philosophy is to let go; let go of all the baggage of who you think you need to be, which way your toes are pointing or, for Pete’s sake – safety.
This was a real, hilarious, liberating conversation that will be highly relevant for you if you suffer from anxiety, imposter syndrome, or feel a pressure to fit yourself to a mould shaped like someone else.
Read the research
- Activation of mTORC1 signalling in rat skeletal muscle is independent of the EC‐coupling sequence but dependent on tension per se in a dose‐response relationship (Rindom et al., 2019)
- Increased hypertrophic response with increased mechanical load in skeletal muscles receiving identical activity patterns (Eftestøl et al., 2016)
- The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training (Schoenfeld, 2010)
John’s energetic, warm and engaging style of teaching and his incredible popularity are the stuff of legend. In this candid conversation John and I talk about age, being awesome, and many other things!
This conversation with Anula Maiberg from Anula Maiberg Pilates & Things grew out of an email conversation, that we both felt was a conversation that needed to be had in public.
Together, Anula and I consider whether as a profession, Pilates instructors have a compelling value proposition, or even a clear definition of what it is that we offer our clients; why we feel the need to define ourselves by reference to made-up pathologies and special micro-limitations, and of what, precisely does good studentry consist?
Read the guidelines:
- Acute-Pain-Management-Scientific-Evidence (2015)
- An updated overview of clinical guidelines (Koes et al., 2010)
- Evidence-based management of acute musculoskeletal pain_(2003)
- What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like? Eleven consistent recommendations from high-quality clinical practice guidelines: systematic review (Lin et al., 2019)
- Clinical practice guidelines for the management of non‐specific low back pain in primary care: an updated overview (Oliviera et al., 2018)
Sarah is a women’s health physiotherapist, and co-owner of Entropy Physiotherapy and Wellness in Chicago, Illinois. Sarah graduated from Marquette University in 2002 with a Master’s of Physical Therapy. She went on to get a Masters of Science in Women’s Health and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Rosalind Franklin University in 2008.
In 2009 Sarah was awarded the Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy (CAPP) from the Section on Women’s Health, and Board Certification as a specialist in women’s health (WCS).
Sarah and I talk about pregnancy and exercise, what you should and shouldn’t do with a pregnant client, pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain, and what you as a group exercise instructor can do for your clients with pelvic girdle pain. We talk about diastasis recti abdominis or abdominal separation, and finally we spend quite a bit of time on Sarah’s favourite topic, urinary incontinence, on which she has recently published a book.
Towards the end of the interview Sarah gives in-depth instructions on how to do a pelvic floor contraction, and how to cue one. And, when to cue pelvic floor and when not to mention it!
You can purchase the Elvie Kegel Trainer here
Dani looks like the perfect Pilates teacher, but she has had struggles which are invisible to the eye.
This is the story of how she is overcoming anxiety, perfectionism and an eating disorder through Pilates, and the transformative power of realising she didn’t have to fit a mould, which allowed her to find her authentic voice as a teacher and as a human.
Cat Webb graduated with the Certificate IV in Pilates in 2015, and the Diploma of Clinical Pilates in 2016. After working full-time as a Pilates instructor for 3 years, in 2018 she opened Good Times Pilates in Melbourne’s Fitzroy.
Cat is a community builder, an advocate of making Pilates (and all exercise) fun, and her Instagram ( @catwebb__ ) presence is lighthearted, inclusive, and honest. Not only that but she has managed to build a successful, paradigm-breaking Pilates studio in the heart of one of Australia’s coolest suburbs.
Cat shares her thoughts on starting and running a business, finding your voice, and how to make your way in the industry – you’ll enjoy this conversation!
What is the difference between a disc bulge, disc herniation, disc protrusion, disc extrusion and a disc sequestration?
What about terms like focal, posterolateral, and circumferential?
Learn it all in this quick, simple video.
Read the Research:
Dr. Rebecca Lewthwaite received her PhD in kinesiology (what in Australia we call exercise science or human movement) from UCLA. She is Director of Research and Education in Physical Therapy and Director of Rehabilitation Outcomes Management at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles, and an adjunct faculty member in biokinesiology and physical therapy at the University of Southern California (USC).
Dr. Lewthwaite’s research focuses on the role of confidence and autonomy support in motor performance and learning, in a variety of individuals, from those undergoing physical rehabilitation to developing and high-performing athletes. Recent work includes the facilitation of confidence building in individuals recovering from stroke. As an investigator in the recent ICARE clinical trial in stroke rehabilitation, Dr. Lewthwaite co-designed with Carolee Winstein the investigational Accelerated Skill Acquisition Program (ASAP) around skill acquisition principles common to OPTIMAL theory. She was an intercollegiate athlete in two sports and a coach on a national championship softball team at UCLA. She and Gaby Wulf co-authored the OPTIMAL theory of motor performance and learning.
Dr. Gabriele Wulf is a sport scientist with PhDs from the German Sports University in Cologne and the University of Munich. She is a UNLV Distinguished Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Dr. Wulf has conducted research in motor learning for more than 30 years. She studies factors that influence the learning of motor skills, including attentional focus and motivational variables. She has published approximately 200 journal articles and book chapters, as well as two books, both of which I have read, and they are both excellent!
Dr. Wulf has received various awards for her research, including UNLV’s Barrick Distinguished Scholar Award. She was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology and given the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity’s (NASPSPA) Distinguished Scholar Award. She has served as President of NASPSPA and the Founding Editor of two journals in the movement sciences. Dr. Wulf has given keynote addresses to national and international societies in movement science and physical therapy. She and Rebecca Lewthwaite co-authored the OPTIMAL theory of motor performance and learning.
Read the Research:
- Fear-avoidance beliefs—a moderator of treatment efficacy in patients with low back pain: a systematic review (Wertli et al., 2014)
- Enhance placebo, avoid nocebo: How contextual factors affect physiotherapy outcomes (Testa et al., 2016)
- When words are painful: unraveling the mechanisms of the nocebo effect (Benedetti et al., 2007)
Watch this short video by Canadian physiotherapist Nick Hannah:
Read the quote from Joseph Pilates
Return To Life Through Contrology (Pilates, 1945, p34)
“Therefore, in the reclining exercises, be sure wherever indicated, to keep your back full length always pressed firmly against the mat or floor.”
Read the research
I did a whole blog on the research on spinal flexion versus neutral
Read the Research:
- Triple play: Additive contributions of enhanced expectancies, autonomy support, and external attentional focus to motor learning (Wulf et al., 2018)
- Optimizing motivation and attention for motor performance and learning (Lewthwaite & Wulf, 2017)
- Understanding self-controlled motor learning protocols through the self-determination theory (Sanli et al., 2013)
Watch the Shining Eyes video with Benjamin Zander:
Read the Research:
Relaxin levels during pregnancy are not related to pelvic pain
- Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain and its relationship with relaxin levels during pregnancy: a systematic review (Aldabe et al., 2012)
- Association between the serum levels of relaxin and responses to the active straight leg raise test in pregnancy (Vøllestad et al., 2012)
The sacroiliac joint basically doesn’t move – even in people with diagnosed “pelvic instability”
- Movement of the sacroiliac joint during the Active Straight Leg Raise test in patients with long-lasting severe sacroiliac joint pain (Kibsgård et al., 2017)
- A radiostereometric analysis of movements of the sacroiliac joints during the standing hip flexion test (Sturesson et al., 2000)
Pregnancy is characterised by widespread tissue hypersensitivity
- Pregnancy is characterized by widespread deep-tissue hypersensitivity independent of lumbopelvic pain intensity, a facilitated response to manual orthopedic tests, and poorer self-reported health (Palsson et al., 2015)
You can’t palpate movement of the pelvic joints (even if you think you can)
- Manual palpation of lumbo-pelvic landmarks: a validity study (Kilby et al., 2012)
- Inter-examiner reliability of four static palpation tests used for assessing pelvic dysfunction (Holmgren et al, 2008)
- Clinical tests of the sacroiliac joint: a systematic methodological review. Part 1: reliability (van der Wurff et al., 2000)(a)
- Clinical tests of the sacroiliac joint: a systematic methodological review. Part 2: validity (van der Wurff et al., 2000)(b)
The biggest predictor of recovery from pelvic pain is – belief that you will recover
Read the Research:
- Clinical outcomes of a scapular-focused treatment in patients with subacromial pain syndrome: a systematic review (Reijneveld et al., 2017)
- Exercise for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a systematic review (Littlewood et al., 2012)
- Subacromial decompression versus diagnostic arthroscopy for shoulder impingement: randomised, placebo surgery controlled clinical trial (Paavola et al., 2018)
- A self-managed single exercise programme versus usual physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial (the SELF study) (Littlewood, 2016)
- Effects of Scapular Stabilization Exercise Training on Scapular Kinematics, Disability, and Pain in Subacromial Impingement: A Randomized Controlled Trial (Turgut et al., 2017)
- Sham surgery versus labral repair or biceps tenodesis for type II SLAP lesions of the shoulder: a three-armed randomised clinical trial (Schrøder et al., 2017)
- Operative versus nonoperative treatment for the management of full-thickness rotator cuff tears: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Piper et al., 2017)
- Arthroscopic decompression not recommended in the treatment of rotator cuff tendinopathy: a final review of a randomised controlled trial at a minimum follow-up of ten years (Ketola et al., 2017)
Read the Research:
Read the sources:
- Attentional focus and motor learning: A review of 15 years (Wulf, 2013)
- Strength training as superior, dose-dependent and safe prevention of acute and overuse sports injuries: a systematic review, qualitative analysis and meta-analysis (Lauersen et al., 2018)
- The Training-Injury Prevention Paradox (Gabbett, 2016)
- The Pilates In America Study (PMA, 2016)
- Return to life through Contrology (Pilates, 1945)
Blossom Leilani Crawford was originally trained by Kathy Grant, one of Joseph Pilates’ personal students. Later, Blossom was also certified by Romana Kryzanowska. She is currently the principal at Bridge Pilates, NY as well as a prolific contributor to Pilates Anytime and Pilatesology.
In our conversation, we cover a lot of ground, including historical reflections and insights, thoughts on the evolution of Pilates and most importantly a powerful message of hope: What we do is not rocket science, just get people moving fearlessly.
Blossom is on tour in Sydney, Australia in late August 2018. Details from Pilates On Tour Sydney
I was inspired to write this by Jenna Zaffino’s story in episode 52 of Pilates Unfiltered – I don’t want to put words in Jenna’s mouth so you should listen to the episode after reading this if you’re interested to understand her point of view.
As movement teachers – Pilates professionals, exercise physiologists, physiotherapists – for years we have operated on the assumption that understanding anatomy, physiology and biomechanics are foundational to being an effective practitioner and teacher.
I think this assumption is wrong. You don’t need to know anything about anatomy, physiology OR biomechanics to effectively teach Pilates or help people rehabilitate.
Yep. Anatomy is not important when teaching Pilates. In fact, I think it gets in the way of good teaching.
I will even go so far as to say, you don’t need to know ANY anatomy, physiology or biomechanics in order to be a great teacher and practitioner. The less the better.
Kristi Cooper is the co-founder of Pilates Anytime, the world’s most popular online Pilates classroom that is bringing Pilates to a new, wider audience and making it possible for any Pilates instructor to learn from the greats in our industry.
In this conversation, Kristi talks about the genesis of Pilates Anytime, and it’s evolution to her current vision. We also talk about where online learning and online practice sits in the Pilates world, and what she has learned about teaching and coaching from working with many of the greatest teachers in the Pilates universe.
Kristi is also a key figure in the Pilates Legacy Project.
Benjamin Degenhardt http://benjamindegenhardt.com is a luminary in the Pilates world. He is an acclaimed teacher, presenter, and the founder of 360° Pilates, a truly innovative immersive education program combining live with online learning.
Benjamin has deeply researched Joseph’s ideas through his writings, marketing material, letters, and archival footage, and he has some great insights and powerful ways of bringing Joseph’s work to life.
I think you’ll enjoy and learn from his perspectives. I certainly did!
Courtney Miller is a shining light in the international Pilates world. She is a prolific contributor to Pilates Anytime, Instagram, and Facebook. Her signature style is a dynamic fusion of Pilates with dance and fitness movements.
In this episode, Courtney deconstructs her process for programming a class based on sequences of 3-5 exercises; her cueing method and how she accesses endless creativity to come up with all those flowing sequences.
What was it like to work with Ron Fletcher, one of Joseph Pilates’ original students? Jenna shares her experiences, insights and surprising stories Ron told her about his experiences working with Joseph and Clara. There are some GOLD teaching tips in there.
Jenna also shares her thoughts on the shift happening in Pilates.
Jenna’s podcast Pilates Unfiltered is the industry’s leading platform for sharing ideas. If you haven’t listened to it yet you’ve been missing out like crazy! She is also a prolific blogger and coach.
Through her business Profitable Pilates, and through her book Profitable Pilates: Everything but the exercises Lesley Logan has helped thousands of Pilates instructors reach their financial goals and achieve work-life balance.
Lesley is a regular blogger, podcast guest, and Pilates Anytime presenter – in short, she is a key person of influence in the Pilates industry. Despite all this, she is incredibly down-to-earth and generous with her knowledge.
Lesley shares how to know your limits and set boundaries, how to communicate the benefits of your service, how to set and communicate clear policies and much more on how to succeed as a Pilates instructor or business owner.
Josh Norris-Ongso is a classically trained dancer, physiotherapist and Pilates instructor. He founded S3 World in Melbourne and created his own style of Barre training based on his years as a ballet dancer and his biomechanical understanding from physiotherapy.
Josh now runs two busy studio-clinics, where he employs over 15 people. He shares his insights into what employers look for in a team member, and how to make yourself irresistible and irreplaceable as an instructor.
John’s energetic, warm and engaging style of teaching and his incredible popularity are the stuff of legend. John shares his strategies for teaching a great class and always showing up as your best self.
Anula Maiburg of Sixth Street Pilates NY is renowned as an original thinker, iconoclast, jumpsuit wearer and radical agent of change in the Pilates world. Her accolades include the cover of Pilates Style magazine, presenting on Pilates Anytime and several spots on the Pilates Unfiltered podcast.
Anula talks about the state of the industry, finding your way as a teacher and what it’s all for. Not to be missed!
After selling her studio in Chicago, Jenna Zaffino, aka the Pilates Unicorn, is focussed on serving, and changing the industry through her Pilates Unfiltered podcast, which at the time of recording this interview had over 100,000 downloads and counting.
Jenna has interviewed the who’s who of Pilates and has instigated the conversations we as an industry need to have, but usually shy away from. She manages all this with a firm, light touch that inspires and energises.
Jenna shares her personal story and her mission to help the industry as well as her thoughts on finding work-life balance, making time to nurture yourself and find your true purpose as an instructor.
Nancy Castiglioni built her Instagram following to over 50,000 people by creating simple, flowing and original Matwork routines and posting them on the internet.
She is a master of flowing, creative sequencing, and her mission is to make Pilates accessible to everyone. Nancy shares her approach to creativity, sequencing and transitions.
Through his business Evolved Body Studio in Sacramento USA and his blog ProjectMoveU, James Crader is challenging and evolving the Pilates industry away from ‘fixing’ people towards empowering people to move happily and freely.
James shares his thoughts on the evolution of Pilates, the purpose of it all and how he expanded his perspective to a much broader understanding of movement, teaching and fulfilment.
Since the early 2000’s the notion of cueing pre-engagement of transversus abdominis (TrA) and lumbar multifidus has been widely accepted as standard practice in the physiotherapy, exercise and Pilates worlds.
Sadly it is not an evidence-based practice.
In this video, Raphael Bender from Breathe Education reviews the evidence on ‘motor control’ training (retraining of TrA and lumbar multifidus).
Read the research
- Motor control exercise for nonspecific low back pain – a systematic reivew (2016)
- An update of stabilisation exercises for low back pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis (2014)
- Motor control exercise for persistent, nonspecific low back pain. A systematic review (2009)
- Motor control exercises reduces pain and disability in chronic recurrent back pain: a meta-analysis (2013)
- Segmental stabilizing exercises and low back pain. What is the evidence? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (2006)
- Specific spinal stabilisation exercises in patients with low back pain – a systematic review (2007)
- Specific stabilisation exercise for spinal stabilization – a systematic review (2006)