Over the last 20 years, the popularity of Pilates has grown in both the fitness and wellness arenas, as these areas have trending away from traditional isolated assessment and strengthening. Now focused more on integrated, functional, movement based approaches, fitness and wellness professionals find the principles and repertoire of Pilates attractive to their clientele needing muscle synergy and motor learning types of activities.
The purpose of movement screening using fundamental movement is to attempt to identify deficient areas of mobility and stability in the asymptomatic population that may be overlooked with traditional movement assessments. A screen such as this may have the ability to predict if an individual might become injured, thus this could serve as an avenue to prevention of injury. The most popular screen at this time is called the functional movement screen. This screen attempts to create a functional evaluation standard that clinicians can use to identify a weak link in movement that may lead to inefficiency of movement and ultimately injury. This screen is widely used and applicable to the active population providing an overall score of assessment.
The Pilates movement screen (PMSTM) is of a similar concept as its goal is also to identify weak links so that a client’s program can be specifically catered to their particular movement deficiencies. The original Pilates method was based on three specific workouts and did not specifically address the needs of the participant. With such a large population of Pilates enthusiasts with varied needs and desires, a more client specific approach is needed. The PMSTM differs from the functional movement screen in that its focus is on full body movement based on the center or “powerhouse”. A general theme is proximal stability with distal mobility and the screen dives into the most fundamental movements so that any level of client may be screened. The PMSTM also varies in that rather than a score on function, it provides a list of deficiencies on which to build a Pilates program. It is not about comparing the client to the norm, but more about screening for imbalances that a consistent Pilates program can resolve through instruction and repetition.
Many individuals adopt poor movement patterns through a lack of flexibility, lack of strength, lack of coordination, or history of pain or disease and they create compensatory movements that become the norm for their bodies. Thus they are performing high level activities despite being inefficient in their fundamental movement patterns, just adding fitness to their dysfunction. They even often build stronger relationships with their poor movement patterns by practicing them in the more strenuous and repetitive environment of fitness activity or sport.
The PMSTM incorporates fundamental Pilates movements representative of basic functional movements that are identified in the literature as essential for proximal stability and distal mobility. Many of the PMSTM movements are mat based, but the reformer is also used to more accurately identify inefficiency with the added instruction of the moving carriage and resisted straps.
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