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  • Writer's pictureMary Stocker

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

I get told quite often that I’m “nit-picky”, and I will admit that I can focus on minor details, but it’s because the form of an exercise makes all the difference in the world for rehab. Everyone has heard the expression “practice makes perfect”. It’s often used as a motivation for practicing for a particular sport or activity. There have even been attempts to quantify how to become an expert. According to author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything from writing to golf. The problem comes when someone practices consistently, but incorrectly. 10,000 hours of an imperfect golf swing makes an imperfect golf swing! This is why it’s so important for whatever you may want to do, that you have someone trained to identify faulty biomechanics and correct bad movement patterns before they become ingrained in your body. This is not always easy to do, especially if you’ve had pain or injury before. Pilates equipment can be used to retrain faulty patterns in different orientations to gravity so that you may practice correct movement patterns until you are able to add gravity back into the equation. For instance, let’s say that you have injured your back playing golf. The muscles and joints of your spine are painful and in a faulty movement pattern when you are standing, so it is much more difficult to retrain the correct pattern in standing because your body is used to the faulty one. Lying on your back, however, is not the orientation to gravity that your back has learned a bad pattern in, so you can begin to retrain there. As your body responds, you moved towards retraining in sidelying, sitting, kneeling and progressing back to standing. Once you’ve attained the correct form, then you can go on to practice until you’re an expert. So, really it’s “perfect practice makes perfect!”

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