Is Pilates a good substitute for strength training?

In general, clinical and reformer based Pilates is strength training.  The wonderful thing about reformer based Pilates is that it not only works on the obvious power muscles that you generally tend to work in the gym, but you also target the stabilising muscles, the muscles that control movement, which makes training more efficient and effective.

The main elements of Pilates which makes it a great strength training program are:

  1. Reformer Pilates is resistance based – when using the reformer, a good instructor will set the weight of the reformer a little bit heavier than you are comfortable pushing or pulling.  This gives the muscles a stimulus to grow and strengthen overtime.
  2. The exercises have a purpose – the great thing about Pilates is that it is not like lifting a random weight in a random direction.  The movements and exercises that you perform match what you would do in everyday life, so your body and mind learn movements that they will use outside of the gym or studio, which makes them much more useful and improve your “functional” strength.
  3. The Pilates exercises have a balance component of training – Pilates exercises on the reformer, if instructed properly, are never one dimensional.  They will also work on your balance as well as your strength, to make then even more useful in real life and in any kind of sport you pursue.

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Preventing Neck Pain

Preventing Neck Pain

As the neck is so mobile and balances a heavy head on top of it, it can be easily strained. The most common causes of neck pain include:

Injury, resulting from motor vehicle, sports or occupational accidents. Examples include ‘whiplash’ and muscle strains.

Postural problems, such as slouching your shoulders, sleeping with your head in an awkward position, or working with your head in an awkward position (most commonly down) for long periods.

Below is some useful advice to help you control and prevent neck pain:



  • Think tall, chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin tucked in and head level.
  • Posture should be stable, balanced and relaxed


  • If you are a side sleeper, a pillow with adequate support is important and a contour under the neck is advised.
  • If you are a back sleeper, a small pillow is recommended to focus the support under your neck area as feels comfortable.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach.


  • Recognise when you are tense. You may be hunching your shoulders or clenching your teeth without realising it.
  • Only when we are aware of tension can we work to release it. Mindfulness meditation can help.


  • Avoid working with your head down or to one side for long periods. Frequently stretch and change position.


Article by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as a part of Tradies National Health Month.
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Ice Vs Heat

Ice Vs Heat

Ice vs Heat

A question which clients often ask at MD Health is “Should I be putting ice or heat where I feel sore from an injury?” So we have put together some guidelines of when it is appropriate to use ice or heat in reducing purchase propecia pain from an injury.

Ice Vs Heat

Written by Jack Hickey, Exercise Physiologist at MD Health

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Exercise for Healthy Bones

The Benefits of Exercise for Healthy Bones!

Regular exercise has many health and fitness benefits for the heart, lungs and muscles, but what about our bones? Bone health is extremely important as our skeleton acts as our body’s framework for movement, as well as providing protection for our vital organs. Diseases such as osteoporosis due to low bone mineral density (BMD) are on the rise in Australia due to our aging population and lack of regular exercise and physical activity.

How Does Exercise Improve Bone Health?

Bone tissue is stressed when it is placed under mechanical load following weight baring exercise. As a result of this stress, the bone cells secrete proteins, mainly collagen, at the site of the stress which then mineralizes to lay down new bone, increasing BMD giving it rigidity and strength.

What Type of Exercise is Best for Bone Health?

Weight baring exercise such as walking, jogging, climbing stairs, resistance training and high impact exercise such as jumping, are all highly beneficial at improving or at least preventing age related reduction in BMD. Exercise intensity and load must be progressively increased overtime to continue to cause mechanical stress on bone tissue to allow for continual laying down of new bone tissue.

What else can I do to keep my Bones healthy?

As well as regular weight baring exercise, diet is also a vital element to maximising bone health. Adequate calcium intake is critical to ensure maintenance and improvement in bone health. Vitamin D intake is also crucial to the absorption of calcium, so this must be taken at adequate levels also.

Is this only important for Older People?

Bone mineral density generally peaks in adulthood at the age of about 30 and declines after that. Therefore to prevent osteoporosis later in life maximising bone mineral density when the body is able to lay down more bone tissue is very important. As we get older it then becomes vital to maintain or slow the decline of bone mineral density with regular weight baring exercise and a healthy diet.

Written by Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates

Sacro Illiac Joint Pain SIJ Explained

Sacro Illiac Joint Pain SIJ Explained

What is the Sacro Illiac Joint Pain (SIJ)?

The SIJ is the joint between the lower segments of the spine, the sacrum, and the illium bone of the pelvis. The SIJ is given structural support by strong ligaments and muscular support gives the SIJ some degree of dynamic stability. Movements of the SIJ are subtle and can be confusing; however the main movements which occur at this joint are nutation and counter-nutation. Basically speaking, nutation refers to the top end of the sacrum tilting forward relative to the Illium and counter-nutation refers to the top end of the sacrum tilting backwards relative to the Illium.

What is Pelvic Instability?

Pelvic instability refers to uncontrolled counter-nutation of the SIJ. This puts direct stretch on the long dorsal ligament which is highly innervated with nerves and can cause pain often felt in the buttock and down the leg. The combined actions of several muscles are critical to achieve stability of the SIJ, including trasverse abdominus, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles, the gluteal muscles, latissimus dorsi, obliques and erector spinae. Weakness or poor neuromuscular recruitment of these muscles can cause sustained counter-nutation of the sacrum, increasing the risk of SIJ irritation.

Treating Pelvic Instability and SIJ Pain

Assessment to determine which muscles are deficient in stabilising the pelvis is critical for the treatment of SIJ pain. For acute SIJ pain, any exercise or movement which brings the sacrum into nutation should reduce pain. This includes SIJ mobilisations, stretching the hamstrings to inhibit them from pulling the sacrum into counter-nutation, taping across the SIJ or into nutation as well as traction in line of the SIJ to reduce stretch on the long dorsal ligament. Initially to achieve further pelvic stability, exercises to improve the strength and control of transverse abdominus are key. To then achieve dynamic control of the pelvis, strengthening the other muscles which stabilise the pelvis (Most commonly gluteus maximus and latissimus dorsi) is required.

Written By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates