STA73 'Evidence Informed Pilates' with special guest Raphael Bender

In Ep.73 of the Sports Therapy Association Podcast, we bring you an hour with special guest Raphael Bender, CEO of Breathe Education, a hugely popular Pilates training programme based in Australia, Melbourne. With a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology, a Bachelor degree in Exercise and Sports Science, a Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy and full Stott Pilates instructor trainer certification, Raphael is host of the Pilates Elephants podcast, along with co-host Cloe Bunter.

In this episode, Raphael talks to us about the phases of focus change that Pilates has gone through since its inventor Joseph Hubertus Pilates first developed what he called "Contrology" in the early 20th century.

Topics discussed include:

  • 1960's - Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara operate their studio on Eighth Avenue in New York
  • 1970's - the era of Romana Kryzanowska (one of Joseph's students)
  • 1980's - Frank Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen (two of Romana's students) publish the first modern book on Pilates: The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning
  • 1990's -  A study by Profesor Paul Hodges of Queensland University Australia on deep abdominal muscle the transversus abdominis (TrA) coins use of the term 'core stability' and the idea that the “drawing in” of this muscle during exercise could provide protection against back pain. Using this information, Contemporary Pilates is born.  

Raphael talks us through the misconceptions that emerged with the era of 'Contemporary Pilates', and explains how pre-1990s Pilates had no mention of 'core stability' or focus on individual muscles. In showing the evolution of Pilates, he draws many parallels to the evolution of soft tissue and manual therapy. Many of the concepts introduced in the late 1990's regarding posture, alignment and their proposed connection with pain have since proved to be less valuable than once considered, if not plain wrong. Does it mean we have to throw everything we have ever learnt away? Of course not, we just need to refocus slightly and continue the great work we can do.  

Raphael is an awesome educator and we offer our sincerest thanks to him for being our guest in this episode. If you are a soft tissue therapist (or indeed a Pilates instructor) looking to keep up with the times, make sure you follow him, Breathe Education & the excellent Pilates Elephant Podcast, for which links are below.

Websites/Social Media


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