By Daniel Browne, Senior Physiotherapist


What is the difference between Clinical Pilates and Pilates?

Clinical Pilates, also referred to as clinical exercise, is an exercise session delivered by an Allied Health Professional with post graduate training specifically in exercise and rehabilitation. The Clinical Pilates session includes tailored exercises specific to your condition and goals. Regular Pilates classes are generally conducted by a fitness professional and will provide a general exercise class through the use of Pilates equipment – some of these sessions can include floor-based exercises, reformer or ‘bar’ Pilates. Fundamentally, the difference is specificity verses the generalist nature of the exercises prescribed. From a costing perspective, it is important to note that Clinical Pilates/Clinical Exercise is claimable under code 560 when run by a Physiotherapist with most private health providers, whereas general Pilates is not.

So which one is right for me?

– If you want a quick 30-minute burst of non-specific exercise to get your heart rate up and a sweat and currently have no significant injuries, then a generalist Pilates class may well be appropriate for you.

– If you have any recent or long term injury, you’re looking both for a workout as well as a degree of education and an actionable home exercise program trailered specifically to your needs, then Clinical Pilates is the way to go.

REASON 1: Clinical Pilates facilitates strength training with low levels of joint impact whilst still targeting required muscle groups– both in the athletic and non-athletic population having improved strength will allow you to function within your given tasks in a safer and more efficient manner. For athletes with a high training load, ensuring that there is ample time to recover between sessions is important from an impact loading perspective (running/jumping/tackling), likewise our general population needs time to recover from repetitive tasks performed at work (lifting/standing/bending). By utilising apparatus such as the trap table or reformer we can build strength in and around these tired joints without adding excessive compressive and jarring loads.

REASON 2: Clinical Pilates focus on neurodynamic control and proprioception i.e. balance and quality of movement. Fundamentall,y being able to quickly find or regain balance will give athletes the competitive edge – think reaching wide to return a tennis serve or kicking a football after being bumped off line. Likewise, in non-athletic population groups, being able to lean further forward to trim the hedges, pick up objects from the ground or even transition more safely in and out of the shower will serve to improve not only confidence but function in the more balance demanding aspects of our daily lives.

REASON 3: Group Clinical Pilates provides a social engagement opportunity with like-minded people. Working in a small group creates accountability, builds friendships and foster internal motivation. As ‘they’ say (who ’they’ are I’m still not sure!) it takes a village to raise a child, and there’s no I in team – Athlete’s will work in conjunction with their physiotherapists to develop specific exercises for specific conditions in order to optimise their performance before completing their exercises in a group setting under the watchful guise of the Physiotherapists. Similarly, In the community setting, patients will set goals one on one with the physiotherapists and receive both a clinically structured home exercise program, as well as a progressively challenging group exercise program which will be often completed within a small group situation.

At Select Physiotherapy and Pilates we offer both 1-1 and small group exercises classes for private, compensable and DVA clients.

If you would like to know more about Clinical Pilates please do not hesitate to give us a call on 97731100.


Daniel Browne

Senior Physiotherapist


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