Osteoporosis Pilates Workout - Pilatesology

Osteoporosis Pilates Workout

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Do you have Osteoporosis? If the answer is yes, you need to keep your spine straight when you do Pilates. Shari Berkowitz explains why and takes you through a core strengthening, body elongating workout that will build support for your spine and help to prevent your bones from collapsing against each other. Repeat daily and in just a few sessions you’ll notice a difference in your posture, balance and ease of movement. Visit Shari for teacher training, workshops and lessons at The Vertical Workshop. Our thanks to Shari’s student Roccio Cárceles and The Contrology Cohort in New York City where this was filmed.

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15 Comments

  1. tlbsis 2 months ago

    https://pilatesology.com/classes/tips-for-thoracic-spinal-extension/ And Shari, I just searched your work and found this excellent tutorial as well. Many thanks and enjoy the weekend! Tiffany

    • Author
      Shari Berkowitz 2 months ago

      I’m so glad you watched that! I forgot that was there or I would have sent you to it!
      Excellent!
      Thank you!
      – Shari

  2. tlbsis 2 months ago

    Thank you! Such great information. During prone extension exercises, and with clients with excessive lordosis and a history of low back issues, do you ever recommend a towel roll between the hips and mat? Does this anterior support decrease strain with the osteoporotic or sensitive back client? Is it useful for prone hip extension movements but less so for thoracic extension? I know it is not one size fits all and perhaps it is best to avoid the prop and simply encourage the ab engagement and extension to tolerance, but just wondering your recommendations as a biomechanist. Love your work! Thank you. Tiffany

    • Author
      Shari Berkowitz 2 months ago

      Hi, Tiffany,
      Thank you for asking for my thoughts and information on this. YOu’ll see I’m answering within your queries below:

      (Tiffany)During prone extension exercises, and with clients with excessive lordosis and a history of low back issues, do you ever recommend a towel roll between the hips and mat?
      (Shari) Not considering osteoporosis, I would not put a towel under hips during prone exercises. Why? Because what you see as “excessive lordosis” is a soft tissue imbalance that becomes more balanced when people make appropriate abdominals and pelvic muscle engagements. That is when they pull their lower abdominals in and in the case of prone exercises, work their pelvises to be neutral. If you’ve been teaching people to pull their lower abdominals in and grow tall from the base of the spine literally in an upward manner, not in the “pull under” manner…my “tuna fish cans” cue which I think you know (or read here: https://theverticalworkshop.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/lift-your-abdominals-and-lower-back-bones-like-your-life-depends-on-it-because-it-does/ and also read here: https://theverticalworkshop.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/abdominals-spine-why-and-biotensegrity/ )
      Then start developing your clients into an awareness of where their pelvis is in space in each exercise, when you start teaching your clients prone exercises and you will be able to teach them appropriate connections to be able to be in a neutral pelvis with a natural lumbar curve from their muscular connections and the ability of their soft tissue tension. I do not recommend using a rolled up towel. I recommend a methodology of teaching that makes for real alterations of the soft tissue tension. I am happy to coach you on any of this in sessions or more.

      Now, if this is a client with osteoporosis, it would be the same thing IF AND ONLY IF this client does not have any fractures. If a client has any osteoporotic fractures of the spine, I would only do exercises where s/he stays in natural curves and would not work prone. Why? For risk of pressure agains the ribs causing vertebral fractures. Yup.

      (Tiffany)Does this anterior support decrease strain with the osteoporotic or sensitive back client?
      (Shari) While that support might decrease strain…it is not a functional support. I encourage your aim to be to create the type of strength that then eliminates the need for any such external support. If you are always using outside supports, then you will not be teaching the internal support. If you are curious about more of this, again, I am happy to teach you.

      (Tiffany)Is it useful for prone hip extension movements but less so for thoracic extension?
      (Shari) Do you mean the towel? My apologies, but I’m not sure I understand. Would you elaborate? Thanks!

      (Tiffany)I know it is not one size fits all and perhaps it is best to avoid the prop and simply encourage the ab engagement and extension to tolerance,
      (Shari) Clearly, clearly, I agree!

      Thank you so much Tiffany for thinking about this as you have! Please do reach out with more questions. I know that my methodology is different than others as it comes from a biomechanics perspective. It’s remarkably effective and I’m so glad to share in any way you desire.
      info@theverticalworkshop.com

      Thank you!
      – Shari

      • tlbsis 2 months ago

        Thank you all for your thoughtful and thorough answers and insight. I will definitely tune in more to the instructional videos and yes, “tuna-fish cans,” and I believe “railroad tracks” ring a bell from Shari’s workshops as helpful analogies to lengthen and elongate the low back. I will have to watch and re-watch your vertical workshops in order to truly absorb the details and effectively apply them to myself and clients! So much great information you have provided to the Pilates community. It’s your methodology Shari that makes your teaching so sensible. I think it was Brent Anderson that said, “A mind that understands principles will develop its own methods.” You definitely understand the principles of biomechanics!

        Tiffany)Is it useful for prone hip extension movements but less so for thoracic extension?
        (Shari) Do you mean the towel? My apologies, but I’m not sure I understand. Would you elaborate? Thanks! Yes, as far as the towel under the hips; I was thinking of the older, kyphotic client who attempts prone thoracic extension but is so weak (tight) in the upper back that the movement resembles more of a “collapse or dump” into their low back rather than a float into thoracic extension. They can do a “baby” head lift and hover the head/cervical spine but quite challenged to move beyond into thoracic extension and overuse the lumbar region. (Again, potentially connected to a lack the strength to maintain pelvis neutral). When teaching thoracic extension would the placement of a rolled towel under the hips, a subtle stretch to the hip flexors, coupled with the abs in and up cue, help the client learn to recruit thoracic extensors? Just trying to awaken thoracic extensors without gripping from the low back…smaller hovers, longer holds for endurance is my thought. (and I’m probably wayyyy over thinking!..one of my specialties!) Thanks much…no rush on reply Shari. I will enjoy reviewing the videos on Pilatesology and The Vertical Workshop this weekend.

        • Author
          Shari Berkowitz 2 months ago

          Hi, Tiffany,
          The answer to this query about people who are hyper-kyphotic is a bit more intense than I can share here. It’s something we can work on together. Because it’s not about one exercise and should or should they not use a towel. It’s about strengthening back muscles in totality from the lumbar spine upwards…and what that entails. Getting thoracic extension comes from far more than doing thoracic extension. It comes from using spinal muscles all of the time…but efficiently (see what I wrote earlier and the links). And that’s not just for those with hyper-kyphosis, but for everyone.
          With that: I still wouldn’t use a rolled up towel. I would work within this methodology I am referring to and have created and then let it develop more organically. For a person with hyper-kyphosis, a swan preparation will be a strong intermediate exercise.

          So much more to share, but a set of comments won’t suffice.
          Let’s do a session sometime and work on this. Sessions can be consultations…they don’t always have to be full workouts. And mine are pay-what-you-can with a lower limit of $50. theverticalworkshop.com/workouts is where you can find more information.

          Thanks, Tiffany! I want to share as much as I can!
          – Shari

  3. Victoria Sommer 11 months ago

    As always so much to take away for myself and my clients… Thank you Shari and Pilatesology

    • Author
      Shari Berkowitz 9 months ago

      Hi, Victoria,
      Pardon my delayed reply!
      Thank you for taking a look at this and taking from it what you need!
      As you already know, I’m happy to answer any questions about any aspect!
      All the best,
      – Shari

  4. duggan33 11 months ago

    The video does not appear on screen…

  5. EllenBloomFields 11 months ago

    I cannot view it as well…..

  6. Martin 11 months ago

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t seem to view this video. Don’t have issues viewing any others on the site at the moment. The viewing window on this one doesn’t appear for me, strangely.

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