Pilates breathing techniques not only provide training benefits during Pilates exercises, but also can be a beneficial practice when lifting heavier objects. Korean researchers at Cheongju University in Cheongju, Republic of Korea, wanted to determine the functional value of Pilates breathing exercises and core stabilization.

Researchers conducted the study with 28 healthy adult females and collected data on muscle recruitment of trunk stabilizer muscles [transversus abdominis, internal obliques, multifidus] and the rectus abdominis and erector spinae during exercises and while lifting a 10 kilogram dumbbell from the floor to a standing position. Then, for 60 minutes per session, three times a week for 2 weeks, Pilates instructors trained the participants, who laid on their backs, only in Pilates breathing exercises. Investigators then collected the same muscle recruitment information. Data analysis showed significant improvement in activation of trunk stabilizer muscles, but not in the rectus abdominis or erector spinae, from the short-term breathing training. Study authors concluded that “the use of Pilates breathing can more effectively increase activities of the muscles during trunk stabilizing exercises. Moreover, performing Pilates breathing during lifting tasks can prevent potential injuries by increasing muscle activities” More research is recommended.

The study is published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science (2017; 29, 194-197).

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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