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Clinical Pilates Vs Traditional Pilates: Understanding the Key Differences

Clinical Pilates Vs Traditional Pilates Understanding the Key Differences

Are injuries restricting your usual movement and preventing you from partaking in your daily activities? In these instances, your physiotherapist may recommend Clinical Pilates to help with longer-term compensatory movement patterns and alleviate chronic pain. However, what separates Clinical Pilates from Traditional Pilates offered by various fitness centres in Singapore? 

Despite sounding like two sides of the same coin, both exercise programmes feature several distinctions in practice, purpose, and methods. Of course, we understand it can be puzzling to wrap your head around these two interrelated concepts. That is why we are examining the vital differences between the two exercise methods so that you have a better understanding of the subject.

Difference #1: Purpose and focus

Purpose and focus-physical therapy

Pilates, as it was developed by Joseph Pilates, a professional dancer, was originally intended to promote overall fitness, flexibility, and body conditioning. As an overview, Pilates utilises a person’s body weight or the resistance of the equipment, in combination with movement and breath control, to improve strength and agility.

This form of Pilates is probably the one you are more familiar with, as it caters to the general public and does not focus on any injury or physical need. Instead, the aim is to improve overall physical health and well-being by developing core stability, enhancing muscular balance, and promoting efficient movement patterns.

Conversely, while Clinical Pilates builds on the same principles, it is an adaptation focused on rehabilitation and injury prevention. Often used in conjunction with physical therapy, it involves a more individualised approach by considering a person’s specific injuries and physical needs rather than having multiple individuals complete the same programme.

Difference #2: Instructor qualifications

Instructor qualifications-physiotherapists

In Traditional Pilates classes, instructors can guide you through a range of exercise programmes, including basic mat and comprehensive apparatus training. However, they may not be qualified to provide clinical or rehabilitative guidance as they lack expert knowledge and training in exercise physiology and pathology. 

Meanwhile, Clinical Pilates is carried out by instructors with additional training in rehabilitation – usually physiotherapists. Because these instructors possess a deeper understanding of anatomy, injury management, and rehabilitation principles, they can provide a clinical assessment of your condition and tailor the programme with suitable exercises that improve and address your concern while minimising the risk of aggravating your injury.

Difference #3: Integration of rehabilitation principles

Integration of rehabilitation principles-physiotherapist

As we shared earlier, Traditional Pilates primarily focuses on fitness and general body conditions. Exercises conducted during the classes are basic and aimed towards a group rather than personalised for the individual. As such, there is a lack of consideration for rehabilitation, making it unsuitable for those with special requirements or injuries. You may even aggravate your condition since the correct form is not enforced.

In contrast, Clinical Pilates is led and supervised by a physiotherapist with proper training. Equipped with their knowledge of bodily function, movement patterns, and injury prevention, a physiotherapist knows how to integrate rehabilitation principles to aid in recovery, combining the principles of Pilates with evidence-based practices from physical therapy.

Throughout the exercise programme, the instructor will closely observe your techniques and utilisation of specific Pilates equipment to ensure safe use and correct form. Your progress will also be monitored to help you achieve the desired results. This level of personalisation sets Clinical Pilates apart as a therapeutic exercise method.

Learn More: 4 Reasons To Seek Physiotherapy

Deciding between Traditional Pilates and Clinical Pilates boils down to how you feel about your body. The former offers a general approach to overall fitness and well-being. As such, it will suffice if your goal is to strengthen your body or improve flexibility and stability. However, the latter is more suitable if you are struggling with a musculoskeletal injury, as it prioritises rehabilitation, injury prevention, and individualised treatment.

So assess your specific goals beforehand to ensure you make an informed decision that meets your needs. If you are unsure, do not hesitate to consult our physiotherapists, who can provide you with the most suitable exercise methods to promote optimal health and wellness. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our physiotherapy clinic today!

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