This is written by our fabulous teacher Charlie (Charlotte), who herself has a hypermobile body.
” Hypermobility is a surprisingly common condition and many people don’t actually know they have it. Marked by excessive movement around the joints which gives the appearance of being more flexible. Sometimes the condition can lead to pain or injury (sprains & strain) to muscles because the muscles have to work overtime to stabilise and support the joints. This is usually done in an inefficient way, meaning the wrong muscles start to grip and can be hard to let go. There are also a couple of more visible signs – the most obvious include elbows and knees which look as though they bend backwards and a general lack of joint control/co-ordination.
The good news is, hypermobility is very well managed by Pilates. I only wish I had discovered Pilates when I was much younger. Growing up I was tall and lanky, having poor coordination meant I wasn’t exactly sporty and had countless ankle sprains thanks to way too much movement in my joints.
Pilates for hypermobility involves a range of exercises to increase the strength of the body’s stabilising muscles, the ones which lie deep inside the body and surround various joints such as the shoulders, the pelvis and the spine. As these muscles get stronger, they start to offload the joints by providing more support. Over time, better control of movement and improved joint support leads to more normalised movement. Pilates helps to release the muscles which tend to work overtime and teach the right ones to kick in. More than anything, Pilates provides a foundation for other forms of physical activities, be it cycling, weight-training or school sports.
Personally, I have found Pilates has enabled me to do a range of sports and training I never would have thought possible without some form of injury – from rock-climbing and ballet, through to kettlebells and running.
If you have been diagnosed as hypermobile by a physiotherapist or suspect you may have it, and are new to Pilates, it’s recommended you come in for a series of 1:1 sessions with an instructor for a full assessment and a tailored programme before joining classes. “