Quite often we get asked, “What is a Spine Corrector ?”

Pilates Matwork is more known than the Spine Corrector and because of that, we offer Spine Corrector group classes at our sister studio Pilates BodyTree, for clients to experience this unique Pilates equipment.

The Spine Corrector is an equipment originally designed by Joseph Pilates – Picture 1 shows Joseph Pilates on the Spine Corrector.

Beginners who start with Pilates Matwork first would have experienced a number of challenges in learning and practicing some of the movements.

The key challenge we hear quite often is feeling strain in the neck while doing The Hundred :

The Hundred aims to strengthen the abdominals. However a beginner who is not that strong yet can’t lift the chest high enough to minimize the strain in the neck. Or, a client who has neck pain might not be able to do The Hundred without aggravating the problem.

So instead of doing The Hundred on the Pilates mat, you can learn to strengthen your abdominals by practicing it on the Spine Corrector :

The Spine Corrector provides the support to keep the chest lifted thus eliminating the strain on the neck, yet the design is such that you have to use the abdominals to maintain the chest lift – this means you have to keep the abdominals contracted and working!

The Hundred is no less easy on the Spine Corrector but it eliminates the neck strain so that almost all beginners can do it.

The Rollover and Jackknife are intermediate and advanced movements on the Pilates mat :

It is not easy to teach these movements in a group class with students of different levels since the teacher cannot provide individual support. However, with the Spine Corrector students can learn these movements a lot easier as it provides support and tactile feedback for the spinal position.

On top of that, students can learn how to lower the spine with control and ease. On the Pilates mat, if the student has not yet acquired the level of control, the spine is likely to drop.

There are other movements on the Spine Corrector – such as Extension and Chest Stretch that help to lengthen the spine in a more gentle way for beginners :

Pilates Matwork movements like Swan and Swimming are Spinal Extensions as well but the focus is more on strengthening of the back muscles. So although it is the same movement but performed on the Spine Corrector creates more length and a stretch in the front line.

Does this mean a Spine Corrector class is easier than a Pilates Matwork class? Not necessarily.

The Spine Corrector is a challenging piece of equipment for students with tight hips. However, persistence and regular practice of the movements will help to stretch and lengthen the hip muscles. As mentioned earlier, the abdominal work on the Spine Corrector is no less challenging than on the Pilates mat.

With Pilates, it is not whether the movement is beginner, intermediate or advanced – it is the quality of movement with precision, control, intention and flow that determines the level of challenge and accomplishment.

In practicing Pilates, it is not either Pilates Matwork or Spine Corrector. Joseph Pilates created a rich repertoire of movements on a variety of equipment. It allows both the teacher and students to select and practice movements on various apparatus that are appropriate for a particular student and the student’s progress.

In the early days, Pilates on equipment including the Spine Corrector are solely for Pilates one-on-one and only Pilates Mat work is offered as group classes. Today, most studios are still doing the same. At Pilates BodyTree, we have opted to conduct Spine Corrector group classes to allow a lot more people to experience Pilates on equipment created by Joseph Pilates.

Our human body actually thrives on a variety of movements, and when students do different types of Pilates classes they will achieve a richer experience and often times progress faster.

Written by LayYong


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