The Difference Between Pilates vs Clinical Pilates

QV Physio Studio

Pilates and Clinical Pilates (now known as clinical rehabilitation or clinical exercise) may sound like two sides of the same coin, but in reality, there are several differences in practice, purpose, and methods.

These differences determine whether standard or clinical is better for your requirements.

It can be confusing wrapping our heads around the two interrelated concepts, so we’ve outlined these exercise methods, including their differences to help you determine which type of Pilates is best for you. Here’s what you need to know:

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates, a professional dancer, in the 1920s. Its main purpose was to aid rehabilitation and functional movement. As an overview, Pilates is a form of exercise that utilises a person’s body weight or the resistance of the equipment. It combines movement and breath control to improve strength and flexibility. Over the last decade, it has become a popular form of exercise helping people enjoy improved strength and agility and in recent years, it has become a popular form of injury rehabilitation.

The Key Differences

  • Non-Clinical Pilates involves general core stability, strength and endurance exercises

Pilates caters to the general public and does not focus on a specific injury or physical need. The focus of Pilates is on improving overall physical health, rather than a particular muscle area. Classes can be mat or reformer-based, and can involve different props such as weights, resistance bands and balls.

  • Clinical Pilates is patient-specific

Clinical Pilates is used for patient-specific treatment after an injury or surgery. It differs from Pilates because it takes into account an individual’s specific injuries and physical needs, instead of having multiple individuals complete the same program. There are multiple benefits to this including, improvements in posture, flexibility, muscle strength, control, balance, and core, and pelvic floor strengthening.

An additional factor that is absent from the standard Pilates practice is a clinical assessment by a certified instructor – normally a physiotherapist. A Clinical Pilates instructor has expert knowledge and training in exercise physiology and pathology. This allows the instructor to tailor a program with targeted exercises that improve and addresses the patient’s concern and reduces the risk of aggravating and re-injuring. The level of personalisation that Clinical Pilates offers is not available in traditional Pilates classes.

What’s best for me?

There is no right or wrong answer when choosing between Pilates and Clinical Pilates. The benefits of both are insurmountable and which type is best is dependent upon your goals and focus. If you are looking to focus on overall health and wellbeing, then a Pilates class is the best option.

However, if you have had a nagging injury that won’t go away or recent surgery, injury, or area that needs addressing then it likely Clinical Pilates is the best route for you to take. A 1:1 clinical assessment will be able to help identify the root cause of your problem, and your exercises can be mixed with physiotherapy to ensure that you are receiving the best possible training for you as an individual.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about Clinical Pilates and whether it’s right for you, contact us today.