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pPilatesSalesmanJust stumbled on this post on the NYTimes site since it hit number 1 most emailed.

Apparently there is new research that debunks a popular study that caused a boom in core training with the focus on the transverse abdominis. The writer, Gretchen Reynolds, says that this particular study gave rise to pilates with the idea that strengthening the deep core muscles will help ease back pain. However, she reports that new research shows that focusing only on this deep core muscle can cause all sorts of damage. She goes on to detail a few exercises that will build ab muscles as well as those surroundingĀ  the core.

OK, fine. Here’s my issue. She lumps pilates into the danger training zone when, in reality, if you are doing pilates properly, you will build the core muscles as well as the ones surrounding and supporting the core. The exercises she details are ALL exercises I have done in my pilates training. If you are working with the right trainer, you learn that core does not sit on abs alone, and that you go through the workouts in a corset mindset–working the muscles that surround and pull the core together (as well as the butt, thighs, arms, etc). One of the most important takeaways from my hours of training has nothing to do with the core and is lat focused.

When I started looking at pilates workouts, I began with Mari Windsor, whose method is so damn convoluted that it’s a wonder I didn’t cripple myself. A few months ago I tried to do one of my old Windsor Pilates DVDs and found that I could not follow the exercises because my one-on-one pilates training ran completely counter to what she was doing.

So if you are practicing McPilates, there is a very good chance that Ms. Reynolds’ reporting should make you reconsider your training options. But if you are working with a good trainer with a solid background, pilates can help ease backpain, improve posture and make your body stronger all around.

In other words, the old baby/bathwater cliche is apropos.