Category Archives: Physical Therapy & Exercise

Short Step Lunges vs. Long Step Lunges?

Patellofemoral joint force and
stress magnitudes were greater during
the forward lunge short compared to the
forward lunge long at higher knee angles
and were greater with a stride compared
to without a stride at lower knee angles.

Read the article published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy…


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Discs don’t “hurt”

Explain Pain Book CoverJust heard an amazing lecture by Dr. Lorimer Moseley at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in San Diego.  “Explain Pain” is a book written by Dr. Moseley and Dr. David Butler (Mobilization of the Nervous System) for chronic pain patients that explains the concept of pain as a perception in our brains.  They also call spinal discs “living active force transducers” to help people get away from the concept of a “slipped disc” that doesn’t happen!  Very interesting work!

Read more at: or listen to David Butler’s podcast “explain pain” here… Scroll down to the bottom of the page to get the mp3 file for free!

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My friend and colleague Peter Abaci, MD, just released a new book called “Take Charge of your Chronic Pain”

Peter Abaci, MDDr. Abaci is a compassionate and caring anesthesiologist who runs the Bay Area Pain Management Clinic in Los Gatos, CA and has other sites across California.  He has just written a book about his philosophies, techniques and the science of chronic pain.  Dr. Abaci has a wonderful holistic approach to dealing with pain and highly stresses exercise like Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi in his treatment programs.  He is an avid student of Pilates as well!  He also has a great blog that I love reading!

Upright and Steady:

Part of being happy during later years is being able to remain engaged and maintain a sense of independence. A decline in balance can interrupt a person’s ability to meet with friends, buy groceries, or play with grandchildren. Falls in the elderly is a major source of painful orthopedic injuries like broken hips and compression fractures in the vertebrae of the spinal column. Once these injuries take place, it becomes even harder to re-engage in upright activities like cooking meals and walking.

Read more on Dr. Abaci’s blog….

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Biomechanics: Barefoot running is better?

Cover of Nature Science JournalThis article just published in Nature (the most prestigious science journal above all others)  explains the differences in the biomechanics of running with vs. running without shoes.  One difference I thought was interesting was the fact that better shock absorption occurs from surrounding lower extremity musculature without shoes.   “As their feet collide with the ground–in this case, a running track–barefoot runners experience a shock of only 0.5 to 0.7 times their body weight, whereas shod heel strikers experience 1.5 to two times their body weight–a threefold to fourfold difference.”

Nature 463, 433-434 (28 January 2010) | doi:10.1038/463433a; Published online 27 January 2010

William L. Jungers1

Abstract: Detailed analyses of foot kinematics and kinetics in barefoot and shod runners offer a refined understanding of bipedalism in human evolution. This research will also prompt fresh studies of running injuries.

A commitment to walking and running on two legs distinguishes humans from apes, and has long been the defining adaptation of the hominins — the lineages that include both humans and our extinct relatives. This form of locomotion (bipedalism) has been around for millions of years, and we have been unshod for more than 99% of that time1.

1.William L. Jungers is in the Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8081, USA.

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My Dear Friend’s Story about Cancer and the Pilates Community

My dear friend, Gay Barnes’ story about the overwhelming support from the Pilates Community – Published in the Pilates Coreterly Newsletter from Balanced Body
By Gay Barnes and Jackie Gordon
One year ago today I completed chemo. Thank you for your extraordinary gifts, generous healing thoughts and prayers. I am, and always will be, overwhelmed by the community that I am lucky enough to be a part of and supported by. I believe it is because of you that I am here to celebrate my “Rebirth day.” I will be thinking of you with great appreciation as I celebrate.
May you be well.

I sent this email out July 1, 2009 after I finished one year of radical chemo- therapy treatment.
I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 25 years and a Pilates instructor at Synergy for the last 10 years. I have never been involved in anything quite like Pilates. Not only is it the most effective exercise I’ve ever done, but the people I have met and worked with have been extraordinary. It really is a close-knit community.
I never knew how important that community was until January of 2008.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer and had a radical hysterectomy the following month. The post-surgery recovery and radical chemotherapy left me almost completely debilitated. The treatment (specific for ovarian cancer) required six different installments. Each round of chemo, I.V. & I.P., included two nights in the hospital and one day in an outpatient chemo area. The first took place within three weeks of the surgery and then repeated every 21 days for six cycles. The effects on my body were overwhelming. Each treatment was worse than the last and left me exhausted and sick..… Read More »

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Pilates hurts my neck!

Lindy Royer, PT and Polestar Pilates Educator, demonstrates the correct cervical alignment for preparing the neck for more advanced Pilates work.  Watch Lindy as she shows the head hover for gradual strengthening of the neck for Pilates on her You Tube video!


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Type of delivery is not affected by light resistance and toning exercise training during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial.

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;201(6):590.e1-6. Epub 2009 Jul 15.

Type of delivery is not affected by light resistance and toning exercise during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial.

Barakat R, Ruiz JR, Stirling JR, Zakynthinaki M, Lucia A.

Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte-INEF, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the effect of light-intensity resistance exercise training that is performed during the second and third trimester of pregnancy by previously sedentary and healthy women on the type of delivery and on the dilation, expulsion, and childbirth time. STUDY DESIGN: We randomly assigned 160 sedentary women to either a training (n=80) or a control (n=80) group. We recorded several maternal and newborn characteristics, the type of delivery (normal, instrumental, or cesarean), and dilation, expulsion, and childbirth time. RESULTS: The percentage of women who had normal, instrumental, or cesarean delivery was similar in the training (70.8%, 13.9%, and 15.3%, respectively) and control (71.4%, 12.9%, and 15.7%, respectively) groups. The mean dilation, expulsion, and childbirth time did not differ between groups. CONCLUSION: Light-intensity resistance training that is performed over the second and third trimester of pregnancy does not affect the type of delivery.

PMID: 19608151 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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A MRI Investigation of the Transversus Abdominis Muscle During Drawing-in of the Abdominal Wall in Elite Australian Football League Players With and Without LBP

A MRI Investigation of the Transversus Abdominis Muscle During Drawing-in of the Abdominal Wall in Elite Australian Football League Players With and Without LBP:  Read abstract at:,type.1/article_detail.asp

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Post-Surgical Patient: Can’t activate Transversus Abdominus?

From Nikki Martin:


This is the medical history of a client I will be starting with in about 2 weeks.


  1. Laparotomy x 3 (ovarian cysts & infertility)
  2. C. section – which caused numbness from pubic area to half way to the navel.


  1. Anterior cervical fusion C6/C7 (20 years ago) which has limited cervical rotation.
  2. February 2009 – Discectomy L5/S1
  3. 2 degenerative discs – L5/S1 & L4/L5
  4. March 2009 Right total hip posterior aproach

She is an RN in the OB department of a hospital, super nice and very interested in “getting into her body” and we are working on slowing down, getting into breath, and thinking more about the local muscular system instead of the the global muscles. So I was wondering if you had any advice on how to gain some awareness through the transverse and deeper abdominal layers. She is also osteopenic on top of it all but moves relatively well and is gaining some connection. When I palpate the transversus, and ask her to contract/kegel, I feel NOTHING, I just see her sternum lift and rib cage flare. I am starting to do some research in the different procedures she has gone through, I really want to help her gain connection and stability throughout her body. I respect t your education and experience so much, I was hoping you could point me in the right direction.

I hope all is well with you, your hubby, Cali, and the studio.

Thanks for your time,





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