Pilates and Sports Therapy – The perfect combination

Here’s a story for you. Deborah, a long standing member of Chilli Pilates, came to me to worried she wouldn’t able to keep up with her kids whilst on a skiing holiday. And I wasn’t prepared to let Deborah go on holiday without the best chance of winning a race against them on the slopes!

She had realised that she wasn’t always feeling her glutes and her core during Pilates classes and that her hips ache while she skis and also in class. To understand her problems I have to start with the therapy side. I functionally tested her glutes, this does not test strength but how well the muscles are working. I felt her hip flexors and they were rock hard!

At this stage it would have been easy to just think with my Therapist hat on and loosen her hips to relive some of the pain. However, as I’m also a Reformer Pilates Instructor I know how powerful it can be when used together with Sports Therapy.

So I set about creating a plan to make her feel great in class and on the slopes and the best way to this is a mix of 1-1 Pilates and Sports Therapy.

Why Pilates and Sports Therapy work so well together is that solving muscle issues isn’t all just about loosening- some more tests were definitely needed. I had to understand what needed stretching and strengthening, to make sure we found the correct compensation pattern. We did some hip flexor stretching along with strengthening of the glutes, starting off very slow controlled glute activation exercises, while making sure Deborah understood how to activate and to connect with the movement. This specific movement testing at the beginning of our first session helped me understand how Deborah’s body moved, how she balanced (essentially how symmetrical her body was when she stood) and general body strength. Looking at the whole body is really important because just working on one area of the body, or the problem area will not always sort the issue long term. I needed to understand how Deborah’s body connects together to improve full functionality.

These tests allowed me to create a sports specific programme incorporating Reformer Pilates. This meant that we were not just focusing on what her body did badly but also her strengths and the Reformer Pilates element of any combined treatment plan really allows us to hone in on specific areas and of course ensure we achieve her goals on that Skiing holiday.

So why does Deborah’s story matter?

It matters because it fits perfectly into the very reason Reformer Pilates was created and why Therapy and Pilates are such an effective combined treatment.

As we know Reformer Pilates helps with the Prevention of injuries, rehabilitation and keeping you fit and strong. Reformer Pilates started with Joseph Pilates attaching springs onto hospital beds to help patients move with the help of the resistance. This focus on Rehab in the core principles of Reformer Pilates means that working with Sports Therapy and an effective plan can see you hit some amazing personal goals when it comes to the look and feel of your body. What a lot of people also don’t realise is that Sports Therapy is not all about working in the therapy room and getting a nice massage.

Assessing movement helps give me the information needed to assess your body and find compensation patterns. Movement tests act as an efficient way to predict injury and work out movement patterns that you may be struggling with. It’s the movement and compensation patterns which ultimately lead to pain, injury or reduced performance and so Sports Therapy with Pilates could not be a better compliment to more traditional Sports Therapy treatments in changing dysfunctional movement patterns. As we’ve learnt from Deborah’s story using only Pilates or Sports Therapy would solve half the problem but together we can rehab, strengthen, stretch, re-balance and make everything more functional.

Each case needs a specific programme to change these compensation patterns, areas of weakness and imbalance.

Each combined Pilates and Sports Therapy plan can be used for all manner of reasons, for a part of the body that maybe just doesn’t feel right, maybe you have pain when you do classes or maybe you want to ensure your body is working as best it can for optimum performance levels during sport or just to have more comfort in everyday life.

So why not find out a little more about your body, educate your self on the way you move and perform as best as you can day to day. If you have a sporting goal, lets make sure we can find out how to get the most of your body by working functionally, move better and get you fit for that marathon, ski trip, to feel better in every activities or of course keep up with the kids!


I went to Verity for help to get fitter for a skiing trip with my kids – the aim was to be able to keep up with them!

I assumed I would be working on my legs – but Verity had other ideas! It was a full body treatment plan. The core strength ensuring the legs and upper body worked correctly. Verity taught me to focus on specific areas while doing exercises therefore making them work more effectively enabling the rest of the body to do what it needs to do – I now have glutes and mid back muscles – as well as stronger legs and core.

People have commented on how I look different, when I ask how they say I am standing better – an amazing result when I went to work on my legs!

While at work on the computer I now get less neck pain and I know how to mobilise my shoulders and upper back to make them work to help the rest of my body.

Verity has completely changed the way I exercise in class and has helped me feel stronger and healthier – oh and we had a giggle!!!


Verity Rosehill
BSc Sports Therapist, Neurokinetic Therapist and Reformer Pilates Instructor.

All services are provided by instructors on a self-employed basis.


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