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Monthly Archives

November 2018

Make use of your physio or instructor


How your physiotherapist or Pilates instructor can assist you to achieve your goal.


Movement is a skill

We often forget that movement is a skill and that we have ‘learned’ it. Along with internal focus, external feedback is an important component of how we learn. One of the primary roles of your physio or instructor is to provide feedback. Beyond the instruction of ‘what’ to do they can often provide valuable feedback on ‘how’ to do something. An experienced physio or instructor would have accumulated hundreds if not thousands of hours studying, teaching, practising and observing movement. Why not take advantage of it?


One instructor vs. a variety of instructors

As a general rule, we recommend finding somebody that you connect with and have some consistency initially. The benefit is it allows a relationship to develop. The instructor will get a better idea of your body, movement and tendencies. You will get a deeper understanding of their teaching style and process. This helps reduce confusion while learning the foundations.

Once you have established a foundation (focusing on the principles) go experience other instructors and be open to their different perspectives and experience their different styles. You may find another favourite!

Pilates Principles


Group versus private sessions

Group settings are more economical and provide some social interaction. Private sessions allow for individual attention throughout the entire session.

Through our experience, nothing works well for ‘everybody’. In a group setting, we instruct for what works for ‘most’ people. We will try to make corrections for the individual as much as possible but by the nature of the class environment, our attention has to be divided. If you are finding you need a bit more attention a private session is a great option.


Some great times to consider working one-on-one with your physio or Pilates instructor would be:

– Pain*
– New to Pilates
– Specific goals
– Performance & technique

* The presence of pain especially if increased during Pilates needs to be discussed with your physio or pilates instructor.

At The Body Refinery, our physiotherapists or Pilates instructors are here to ‘guide’ you and help with technique. It is important that you combine the external feedback with your internal experience to get the most out of your Pilates. The more you understand your body, the more likely you will be able to apply this knowledge to activities and goals beyond the Pilates setting.


Some key ways to make good use of your physio or Pilates instructor:

– Find an instructor you connect with and have some consistency initially
– Listen to their feedback and apply it to your inward experience
– Private or small group sessions are available if more individual attention is required
– If you have a question ask!

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Recurrent calf tightness

calf tightness

Calf tightness is a very common complaint in runners and is often a recurrent issue. After stretching the calves or releasing them with massage, a trigger ball or foam roller, they may still feel tight, which can be very frustrating. A common reason this occurs is when runners spend a large amount of time trying to release tight muscles, when this time may be better spent focusing on strengthening them.

It may be hard to believe, but tight calves are usually weak. Studies have found that a high level of strength, and associated endurance, in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles will prevent recurrent tightness.


Some other factors that can contribute to recurrent calf tightness:

  • Running technique: low cadence (amount of steps per minute) can lead to over-striding, and a greater impact force onto the lower limbs on landing/foot strike. An ideal cadence is said to be about 180 beats per minute. Running at the correct cadence will lead to your foot landing closer to your body’s centre of gravity. The focus should be on faster, shorter steps.
  • Foot and ankle mobility and conditioning: decreased ankle and foot mobility and foot muscle strength will lead to poor push-off or forward propulsion, reduced shock absorption and greater impact loading. The calves will have to work harder to compensate for this.
  • Decreased strength in the hip muscles and core: it is important to evaluate any deficiencies in the rest of the kinetic chain that could increase the stress on your calf muscles when you run. Decreased strength in your gluteal muscles and hamstrings, which are necessary for hip extension and help propel you off the ground, will cause you to rely more on your calves for forward propulsion. Good core control and pelvic stability are important for efficient activation of the gluteal and other lower limb muscles.

Effective management of recurrent calf tightness must include exercises to address the above factors, and not just focus on stretching and releasing the calf muscles.


The physiotherapists at The Body Refinery will assess your gait and running technique (Runity), to help determine the cause of your recurrent calf tightness. They will then develop a comprehensive rehab program to address the underlying factors and optimise your function and performance. Book a session with Aga or Kristen by calling 07 3358 3915.

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Written by Agnieszka Biniek

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