Pilates training effectively improved core strength, posture and shoulder stabilization in a study published in Clinical Biomechanics (2009; doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2009.10.003). Researchers from the department of kinesiology and physical education at McGill University, Montreal, conducted the small study, which included 19 healthy male and female subjects with no prior Pilates training—10 experimental group members and nine control group members. Those in the training group participated in two 1-hour private sessions per week for 12 weeks, performing a variety of exercises on the reformer and trapeze table. Investigators assessed posture, abdominal strength, shoulder range of motion and shoulder flexion at the beginning and end of the study.
Kim Emery, MSc, research assistant and lead study author, said, “According to our study, general Pilates training improves thoracic posture (by decreasing thoracic kyphosis), scapula stabilization, shoulder/scapula dissociation [and] lower abdominal strength.” Study authors supported the use of Pilates training for prevention of neck and shoulder disorders, since deficits in neck-shoulder biomechanics have previously been associated with symptoms in the neck-shoulder region. More research is required with subjects who have neck and shoulder disorders.