Pilates, which is a key component of the PBX exercise program, has a reputation for being an intense workout for dancers and other serious athletes to help strengthen their core. Perhaps the last people you would expect to practice this form of exercise are those who suffer from back problems or are recovering from back surgery. However, these are exactly the type of people that pilates was designed to help.

A Short History

Joseph Pilates, a German national and fitness enthusiast, was living in England when the First World War began. Interned there with other Germans and serving as a nurse, he developed a program of exercise to help imprisoned soldiers recover from injuries. Following the war, he immigrated to the United States and opened an exercise studio, in which he continued to refine his unique exercise methods.

Fast forward to today, and Pilates has become an exercise program that is well respected in the medical community, backed by science, and recommended by doctors.

How Pilates Works

Pilates is based on six basic principles:

  • concentration
  • control
  • centering
  • fluidity
  • precision
  • breathing

These six principles are used in over 500 different exercises using mats, specialized equipment, or by themselves. Much focus is given to the lower back and pelvis, part of the body's core. When done properly, Pilates increases both upper and lower body strength, flexibility, coordination, and endurance.

The main goal of Pilates is to strengthen, lengthen, and increase the flexibility of the deep back and abdomen muscles that stabilize the spine – in other words, to support it in its proper alignment. In addition, purposeful breathing is used to improve mental focus and increase awareness of the way you move and control these muscles.

Pilates Aids Recovery from Back Injury

Exercises that strengthen the core muscles in the trunk and back will help stabilize the spine. This was precisely Joseph Pilates’ objective in designing these exercises, to help strengthen muscles that had been damaged by wartime injuries or subsequent surgery. It is equally effective for treating muscles that have lost their natural strength and flexibility due to inactivity or poor posture. As long as the exercises are performed correctly and safely, over time they will improve the strength and flexibility of these muscles, improving posture and overall back health.

Part of a Rehabilitation Plan

The PBX® Method combines modern Pilates with yoga, barre, and weight training. With a focus on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, the development of a strong core or center, and the improvement of coordination and balance, PBX allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced and for people with back troubles and those recovering from back surgery. Our limited class sizes enable instructors to provide one-on-one attention and to focus on small adjustments for each client.

Check with your physician or physical therapist before adding a new exercise program. Recovery from many back surgeries can take 8-12 weeks before you should begin with easy back exercises modified for your condition. Most recovery plans include physical therapy, which will include exercises to increase your range of motion. Make sure you avoid anything that puts additional stress on the back, including flexing with side bending or twisting. Therapeutic exercises are meant to be challenging, but should never be painful. Pain means you are doing it too hard or doing it incorrectly.

It takes time, work, and commitment to heal an injured back or recover from surgery. In Raleigh, NC, PBX Pilates Barre Extreme can help you regain the strength, flexibility and overall health of your back with carefully regulated exercises in groups and in  private sessions by appointment.