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Gluteus maximus recruitment through the basi pilates block system


People have different reasons for starting Pilates, for some it’s to increase their flexibility or to reduce back pain, for most it is to strengthen their core. Pilates trains and recruits the abdominals to provide a strong core which in turn provides pelvic lumbar stabilisation (PLS) around which other exercises, such as arm and leg work challenge the core, much like the movements of daily living where our arms and legs move around a strong core that stabilises our spine against these external limb moments.

The gluteus maximus muscle plays an important role in pelvic lumbar stabilisation. Pilates is important for improving core strength and stability. Most of the Pilates exercises demand PLS achieved by the abdominals. Gluteus maximus is also an important muscle for PLS and yet there is no cueing for gluteus maximus specifically in the repertoire of exercises. The purpose of this case study is to cue for gluteus maximus in the BASI Pilates repertoire of exercises, and to ascertain the effects of this recruitment in terms of hip extension activation sequencing and the client’s awareness of this muscle with regards to its presence and activation.

Tarryn, a 32 year old elite trail runner and Pilates instructor complained of right sided lower back pain. On testing, she showed aberrant hip extension recruitment patterns. A 30-session BASI Pilates Block exercise program was instituted where there was cueing for gluteus maximus activation and recruitment specifically. On completion of the program, Tarryn showed improved hip extension recruitment patterns, awareness of her gluteus maximus and improved PLS with hip extension range of motion with respect to the Gluteals Kneeling exercises. These results suggest that with specific gluteus maximus cueing within the BASI Pilates Block of exercise repertoire, gains may be made with respect to hip extension recruitment patterns as well as improved pelvic lumbar stabilisation and client awareness.

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