The popularity of Pilates has grown significantly in recent years, both for strengthening and toning as well as for rehabilitation of injuries. In the dance world, however, Pilates has long been an adjunct to training since Joseph Pilates moved to New York in the 1920’s and set up a Pilates studio in close proximity to the dance community.
So why is Pilates an effective form of training for dancers? Surely dancing alone is enough to strengthen and tone? Well, most dancers who know their own bodies will know that they have certain areas of weakness and/or tightness that need more attention than they may have time for in their standard training. Pilates helps us to re-programme the way we move and ensure that we have good posture and alignment of all of the joints, as well as adequate flexibility.
An individual Pilates programme designed especially for you can help you to address those areas of restriction/weakness which you may feel are holding you back. Often, dancers can be focused on their stretching and flexibility and forget about specific strengthening. This can lead to the supporting structures of joints becoming long and weak, which can predispose to injury.
Pilates can also be a great way to rehabilitate from dance injuries, as it allows you to exercise and strengthen in a controlled setting, which can maintain physique without causing further harm. It is another form of exercise that dancers can use to prevent factors that may cause injuries. Some more specific benefits are as follows:
- Improved core strength, balance and co-ordination
- Improved foot and ankle alignment
- Improved turnout/hip external rotation
- Improved flexibility
There is also added benefit to practising Pilates in a studio, as the equipment can be used to challenge the body in similar postures required for dance, and therefore can be much more challenging than matwork classes. It can also be beneficial to practise Pilates with a Physiotherapist as they can help you to rehabilitate from injury and improve posture, alignment and strength in order to prevent further injury.
All in all, practising Pilates with your Bend + Mend Physiotherapist will help you to become stronger and dance for longer!