Pilates Anatomy: Your illustrated guide to mat work for core stability and balance

By Rael Isacowitz and Karen Clippinger

Human Kinetics, 2011

204 pages

Ideal for a Pilates instructor or general practitioner, Pilates Anatomy is an informative and comprehensive guide to the technique. Examining movement from the inside out, the book shows which muscles are targeted and engaged during Pilates mat work and can help readers fine-tune their practice.

Authors Karen Clippinger, an anatomy for dance professor at California State University, Long Beach, and Rael Isacowitz, founder of Body Arts and Science International Pilates, use Joseph Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology as their primary reference for the exercises in the book. Their goal, they write, is to stay close to Pilates’ source material and to “transcend teaching styles, individual approaches to Pilates or any particular school of Pilates.” After addressing breathing techniques and proper alignment, and defining common phrases and terminology, Clippinger and Isacowitz record the mat work. Step-by-step instructions, technique cues, notes and modifications (when available) accompany each exercise illustration, along with which muscles are targeted. They also include an index for suggested Pilates programs at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level, and list the name of the exercise and recommended repetition.

The Conversation
Dance Teacher Tips
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James Payne, director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, starts class each day by asking students how they feel. "If they're collectively hurting, and I know that the day before they were working hard on something new, I might lessen the intensity of the class," he says. "I won't slow it down, though. Sometimes it's better to move through the aches and get to the other side."

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I'm a part of a popular group on Facebook called Dance Teacher Network which consists of dance teachers across the country discussing and sharing information on all things dance. Yesterday morning, I spotted a photo shared in the group of four smiling young boys in a dance studio. And I couldn't help but smile to myself and think, "Wow, I never had that...that's pretty damn amazing."

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Did you know there is an annual contest in which scientists turn their PhD research into dance? Well there is, and it's even better than you're imagining! I mean, honestly, if our grade-school science teachers had us turn our schoolwork into dances, we may have enjoyed chemistry a bit more 🤣.

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