What do I mean by that? Well, are you, or your therapist/instructor using limiting language? For example, something I hear in class regularly is “that’s too much for my back” or “I can’t do that because….”. On the surface that may seem like an innocuous and even sensible thing to consider, but is it true?

I would argue that NO exercise is “too much for your back”. It may well be that your abdominals are not strong enough to perform said exercise without maintaining proper support of the spine, in which case you need to adapt it to a simpler/smaller movement that you can manage until your abs are strong enough for a more challenging version. The body will always find the path of least resistance, so if we just routinely skip over certain things it will never get any easier! Starting small and building up is key.

Saying that, of course there are some Pilates exercises which become contraindicated for certain people, it’s not ALL right for everybody – for example if you have severely bulging discs or osteoporosis then movements like the roll over are just not suitable, so you pair things back so as no to put pressure on the spine in this way – video examples of these are available on my instagram feed.

But don’t limit yourself by talking about your pain or injury as if it’s going to always hold you back. Back pain, even if caused by disc issues (60% resolve on their own within 3 months anyway) need not be a long term affliction. For anything that does hang around more permanently, the more injured we are, the stronger we need to be to maintain our function, lord knows I’ve been though the ringer myself. It’s critical you have the right advice for exercise to make things better. We must adapt, not just avoid.

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