How Pilates and physical therapy can work together

Pilates is sometimes recommended as a rehabilitative exercise after physical therapy to help avoid re-injury. Physical therapy and Pilates can work together to help build a stronger, more balanced body. 

What is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise system developed by boxer and gymnast Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. It uses resistance and your own body weight to stabilize your core and strengthen your body. Pilates exercises can be done on a mat or on specialized equipment.

Pilates focuses on key alignment principles and how the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems work together to reeducate movement patterns. 

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is a form of health care that “aims to ease pain and help you function, move, and live better.” It can be used to relieve pain, improve mobility and balance, or as rehabilitation after illness or injury. (source)

Is Pilates the same as physical therapy?

No. Although Pilates and physical therapy can both help strengthen the body and improve your range of movement, the methodologies behind them and the techniques used are different. 

How do Pilates and physical therapy work together?

Pilates is sometimes recommended as a rehabilitative exercise post-therapy to help further support functional movement and prevent re-injury. There are a number of ways that Pilates and physical therapy complement each other: 

1. Improves coordination, flexibility, and balance

Pilates exercises help lengthen the muscle and improve flexibility, which allows you to achieve a greater range of motion. This helps reduce the risk of re-injury after physical therapy. 

As ability, strength, and coordination increase, your instructor can add complexity and more challenging Pilates exercises to help you keep progressing safely. 

2. Strengthens the pelvic floor

People who have received treatment for issues like urinary incontinence, frequent urination, or pelvic pain through pelvic health physical therapy will find that Pilates is useful in continuing to work and strengthen the deep abs and pelvic floor. 

Pilates for the pelvic floor can release stress, relieve lower back pain, and help improve pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence. Some Pilates studios even offer special prenatal Pilates classes that help strengthen the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth and to help prevent common delivery issues.

3. Safely builds muscle strength

Pilates is an effective strength training workout for all ages and fitness levels. These types of weight-bearing exercises can be used to safely continue building strength post-therapy.

Pilates and physical therapy in Ann Arbor, MI

MOVE Wellness offers both Pilates and physical therapy services out of our studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Our Pilates trainers specialize in working with special populations, including those who are injured. We can even coordinate with other therapists and physicians on your treatment team to provide optimal support. 

Let us know what issues you are working with and we will help you schedule with a trainer that can support you on your fitness journey. With our private Pilates training, you’ll get one-on-one attention and a workout plan customized to your goals.

Physical therapy

MOVE is partnering with physical therapist Melissa Trauger to provide on-site physical therapy services at the studio to pelvic health and orthopedic populations.

Collaborating with area physicians and physical therapists like Melissa is important to providing our clients an excellent continuum of care. Working in partnership with a physical therapist allows us to help to provide manual therapy, assess injuries, and collaborate on movement goals. 

Interested in learning more about these or other services? Contact us today!

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