Pilates footwork in a simple yet powerful exercise series taught on the reformer. Some of you may wonder why all Pilates classes include the footwork series and what exactly it is useful for.
Footwork reveals postural patterns and muscle imbalances of the hips, legs and feet and is an effective exercise for correcting them. This basic, functional movement allows instructors to help a client:
• correct leg, foot and ankle alignment;
• develop strength in the hips, legs, ankles and feet;
• increase flexibility in the lower limbs;
• create balanced muscle development around the hips, knees and ankles;
• retrain foot, ankle, knee and hip biomechanics for functional activities such as walking, running, dancing and sports;
• prevent injury by balancing stress on the joints of the lower limbs; and
• recover from injuries
Footwork exercise has the advantage of being a closed-kinetic-chain (or closed-chain) exercise with variable resistance. In closed-chain movements, the limbs are stabilized and the body is moving. In this case, the feet are connected to the bar and the body moves away as the knees and hips extend. Closed-kinetic-chain exercises use multiple muscle systems in coordination, creating more stability in joints than do open-kinetic-chain movements, making them safer. They also translate well to functional activities such as walking and running.
The variable resistance of the reformer allows instructors to choose a light resistance for an injured or deconditioned client and a heavier resistance for a client who is working on strength and power.
What instructors are looking for:
When a client first lies down on the reformer, the instructor observes the alignment of your hip, knee, ankle and foot and correct it as much as possible, given the client’s structure. Good alignment allows for balanced distribution of weight leading to more even wear on the joints and a lower likelihood of injury.
In good alignment:
• the pelvis remains in neutral throughout the movement;
• the centre of the hip joint is directly over the centre of the knee, and the centre of the knee is directly over the centre of the ankle (both legs);
• the patellae (kneecaps) and feet are pointing straight ahead and are in line with each other, the femurs are neither internally nor externally rotated and the tibiae are straight;
• the ankles are aligned over the feet, neither supinated (rolled out to the little toe) nor pronated (rolled in toward the big toe);
• the weight is in the centre of each heel for heel work and is balanced between the first and second toes for ball-of-the-foot work; and
• the forefoot is in line with the heel (both feet).
Work on correcting your body’s misalignments in a Pilates class at Chevron Island Physio and receive the multitude of advantages it brings with it.