Why we love the Rotational Discs:
These discs are fantastic for developing strength balance and control; we also love how they develop your perception and awareness of alignment. You can use them to measure range of movement and compare your left and right side.
What are they made of?
They are made from high quality 18mm marine ply with maple veneer, the rotational disks have three transparent anti-slip strips on the top and two anti-slip pads on the bottom to prevent them sliding on the floor. We love the organic feel of the wood.
We wish they had…
Some basic markers on them showing the degree of rotation movement happening within the joint you are working. This would be great for providing feedback to a Pilates teacher and the client on over progress in either movement or stability. It would also make it clearer on balance limitation within certain movement patterns. Having said this we did find a way around this. Ensure you have the discs lined up with the Align Pilates logo equal to one another, this way you can see if some degree of movement has or hasn’t happened – depending on your focus.
Using these rotational discs help you really concentrate on balance and equilibrium of strength through your body. You can easily feel unwanted movement or see a lack of movement if required.
These discs help improve our imbalances and overall symmetry.
As Joe said “The Pilates method teaches you to be in control of your body and not at its mercy”. These rotational discs really help bring home the strength needed to be fully in control of your body.
It is also worth reminding ourselves that Joe called the Pilates method Contrology. So we owe it to him to continue to work on our control of all our movements and these rotational discs are a really helpful and fun prop to develop our greater awareness.
Phil & Sarah’s Note:
[Forward and back, forward and back. Nothing side to side. Resist rotation. No wasted motion. You’ll run faster if you cut out that wasted motion and keep it all forward and back.]
This statement can often be ringing through the ears of track athletes or sportspeople developing their speed. But is it anatomically correct?
There are obvious health benefits from having balanced strength in our joints and in all the planes of movement they are designed to move in. This allows our joints to move to the best of their functional ability and prevent unwanted wear and tear or injury. But how can we harness rotation in particular to improve our sports.
Motion, momentum, energy; these need to be used and controlled for optimal output but as part of an organised sequence.
For example a good sprinter needs to counterbalance the rotation of their pelvis/lower spine and shoulders to produce greater power forwards.
A footballer will benefit from lower spine rotation when kicking a ball over a long distance too, not only do they wind up more power this way, they are also effectively make their kicking pattern longer. Longer kick or gait pattern often means a further kick or a quicker pace.
So a runner will benefit from some spinal rotation as they change the fulcrum point of their stride length. Our centre moves first and our extremities then follow.
Running from our centre, in Pilates terms would mean having a strong spinal rotation pattern in particular from the pelvis/lower spine, the strength to control this rotation as the hip moves from extension to flexion in a powerful stride pattern. It is also important to recognise the spine is a chain and if you move one part there will be a ripple effect response through the rest of the spine, we need to allow this to happen but in a relative amount… Our centre moves first and our extremities then follow.
You can have a lot of run with the rotational discs using exercises to improve all your clients gait patterns working on stability and mobility.
About the Authors
Sarah & Philip Harris founded Harris Mind & Body in 2006 to provide Physiotherapy & Pilates across West Berkshire. They are a team which specialises in Musculoskeletal physiotherapy, with specific interests in chronic back pain, sports injuries and neurological rehabilitation as well as offering Pilates, to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to wellness & health!
(All imagery in this post is credited & copyright of Harris Mind & Body)