Our Trainers at Pure Balance integrate the APPI Pilates method into all our programming. The APPI method is unique in its design, as it is the only Pilates program in the world that was fully designed, taught, and developed by physiotherapists. Unlike many other Pilates courses, APPI does not just deliver a series of exercises that you blindly follow. At Pure Balance, we aim to educate clients on specific exercises that are relevant for a condition rather than just take them through a set repertoire. We strive to connect our client understanding of their individual movement patterns to their body in motion.
The APPI Pilates method is used by health professionals and fitness professionals alike to empower clients to embrace Pilates from any fitness level. This step-by-step approach leads to the APPI Pilates Method becoming one of the most popular forms of rehabilitation training in the healthcare sector.
Our Pure Balance Studio community members all spend their first few sessions learning to correctly align their bodies. Alignment is key, before commencing any form of movement, whether it be preparing to perform an exercise on the reformer or just walking home in a mindful manner. Clients are instructed on how to use the APPI 5 Key Elements. This must be taken into all movements performed in the studio. If you are already a member of our Community, then this is your first piece of homework to let us get your practise under way.
The APPI 5 Key Elements
1. Lateral Breathing
Pilates commences by learning the correct and natural way to breathe. Many people use a fraction of their lung capacity and deny themselves the benefits of correct breathing. Pilates aims to improve the breath pattern and depth. On inhalation, the ribcage actively moves upwards and outwards. On exhalation, the ribcage relaxes downwards and inward. Synchronize the out breath with the part of the activity that requires the most effort.
2. Centring – Pilates names it the “powerhouse”
This refers to the position of your pelvis: set in the centre and engaging your ‘centre’. Your ‘centre’ refers to the local muscular system, the diaphragm, lumbar multifidus, transversus abdominis and pelvic floor muscles. Those muscles are postural muscles which form an internal muscular corset that support the spine, pelvis and abdomino-pelvic organs.
First, you must position your lower back in the ‘neutral’ position to preserve natural curve of the lower back. Per research, a more isolated contraction can be achieved in ‘neutral’ spine position (Pelvic diamond). Feel your deep abdominal corset by placing your fingertips on your bony pelvic bones and then sliding your fingertips in and down 4cm. Breathe in and imagine the four bony points extending away from each other.
Breathe out and gently draw the four bones in towards one another. You may feel your pelvic floor muscles gently drawing inwards and upwards as you breathe out. Practise often throughout the day, a slow gentle and continuous activation. Avoid unwanted outer core muscle activity.
3. Ribcage placement
For optimal spinal alignment, the ribcage should be positioned directly over the pelvis when looking at the body from the side in sitting and standing. To prevent your ribcage flaring forwards, think of ‘softening’ your breast bone. Imagine a set of springs running down from the lower bony aspect on either side of your ribcage to the two bony pelvic bones. The tension in these springs should remain constant as your lift and lower your arms.
4. Shoulder Blade placement
Stability around the shoulder blades is crucial for efficient movement of your arms and neck. The key stabilisation muscles of your shoulder blades are your lower trapezius (LT) and serratus anterior muscle. Set the shoulders on the shoulder blades by widening your collarbone. You should feel the blades draw downwards on your ribcage.
5. Head and Neck placement
Lengthening the back of the neck helps to align the head and neck into the correct posture. Maintain the natural curve of the neck and imagine the head is being lifted up towards the ceiling.