Book Review: Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core

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Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core is a complex and smartly written book for experienced Pilates teachers.

I generally dislike Pilates books, especially ones that focus on functional anatomy. While this may sound odd coming from me, let me explain.

Most functional anatomy books end up modifying Pilates exercises to the point where they are unrecognizable as Pilates, while at the same time writing off the classical Pilates exercises as dangerous. By taking that approach, the books end up being useless for Pilates teachers.

But Functional Anatomy of the Pilates Core manages to promote Pilates while discussing movement and functional anatomy. Instead of changing the exercises, the authors give teachers strategies for how to address movement dysfunction from within the Pilates system via a functional understanding of how our Powerhouse works.

Anatomy expert Dr. Evan Osar and Pilates Teacher and bodyworker Marylee Bussard approach Pilates as functional exercise and approach anatomy and movement from the standpoint of biotensegrity (a concept which I cannot explain well in a short review, but check out more on biotensegrity here). The book is written for teachers who already have a good understanding of anatomy and Pilates. This is not a book to read during your teacher training or even first year of teaching.

But once you know Pilates, anatomy, and have been teaching for a while, this book is indispensable. Seriously! Fabulous discussions of motor learning, fascial connections, and breathing. Clear photos of real clients doing Pilates exercises that show breakdowns in core support and how to address them. And best of all, a whole list of cues that can help your clients connect with their bodies within the Pilates system.