General Question

workaholic's avatar

Is pilates good for strengthening back muscles?

Asked by workaholic (194points) August 21st, 2010

I have scoliosis and do yoga to reduce discomfort. I think I still need more of a workout though, to strengthen my back muscles. I heard Pilates is the thing for this…

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6 Answers

muppetish's avatar

If you suffer from scoliosis, it’s always best to consult a physician before initiating a new workout regime. Even light yoga can be harmful for your back in that situation if you are holding poses that stretch your back. I don’t have experiences with Pilates (I’ve only done yoga myself because my friend is a yogi) but it’s best to be safe about these things – especially when moving into a more intensive program.

From what I have heard, Pilates and Ashtanga yoga (tried it.. my body hated me after in a good way but I’m not ready to do it often) will give you more of a workout.

tedibear's avatar

As @muppetish said, do check with your doctor first. Pilates is a core-based workout and strengthening your core muscles will help your back. I’ll be interested to hear what your doctor says about this.

workaholic's avatar

@muppetish @tedibear I don’t really trust a physician’s opinion on scoliosis. They always just recommend surgery and just surgery. That said, I probably am due for another x-ray and should get a check up.

tedibear's avatar

@workaholic – Could you talk to a physical therapist then? I would just hate for you to do something that could do damage.

rooeytoo's avatar

There was an article in this week’s Australian Weekend Magazine that pretty much disputed this claim. Personally Pilates has always made my back hurt more which they say is because I have weak stomach muscles. I can do unlimited situps and crunches so that doesn’t seem right to me. I can’t find the article on line so if you want to read it, pm me and I will scan for you.

JLeslie's avatar

Pilates is tough. I would say don’t do it if you do not already have a lot of strength in your back and stomach muscles. Pilates basically works the same muscles as ballet, and most other exercise is very different. Much more inner thigh strength is needed, many positions your legs are turned out. I would say no harm in trying, but if something is difficult don’t push yourself, modify or skip it.

Using weight machines, not free weights, will work specific muscles, and is better at making sure you don’t injure other areas of your body. Although, for posture I recommend dance or aerobics more than anything, especially dance or a zumba class.

Lastly, if you have an S curve, be sure to wear your purse on your low shoulder.

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