Some Effects of Supplemental Pilates Training on the Posture, Strength, and Flexibility of Dancers 17 to 22 Years of Age

Elizabeth Lowe Ahearn, Amanda Greene, Andrea Lasner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proper alignment in dancers is a pre-requisite for achieving aesthetic line and form and for efficient execution of movement. Pelvic alignment is a common deficit in dancers that results in faulty technique and impaired performance. Dancers must be able to obtain their personal neutral alignment to avoid injury and achieve ease of execution. This study was designed to examine the effects, qualitatively and quantitatively, of Pilates training on pelvic alignment, strength, and flexibility in dancers. Twenty female dancers, 17 to 22 years of age, participated in a screening that consisted of an AlignaBod posture screen, upper abdominal manual muscle test, double leg lower test, straight leg raise test, and modified Thomas test. Participants were screened, engaged in dance classes for 14 weeks without Pilates, and screened a second time. They then attended a 2-hour pelvic alignment workshop followed by two weekly Pilates classes, one mat and one apparatus, for 14 weeks. The study concluded with a final screening and collection of qualitative data regarding participant perceptions of their experience. Analysis demonstrated a decrease in the number of postural misalignments with Pilates intervention compared to no significant change in total misalignments when taking dance classes only. The prevalence of forward head posture, knee hyperextension, and foot-ankle pronation or supination all decreased significantly. After participating in the Pilates intervention, the prevalence of iliotibial band and hamstring inflexibility decreased and lower abdominal muscle strength improved significantly. All participants reported they felt that Pilates improved their core stability, pelvic alignment, strength, and body awareness. This study suggests that Pilates, when added to dance training, can improve postural alignment, flexibility, and abdominal strength in dancers. Additionally, it is well tolerated by dancers, making it a potentially valuable cross-training tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-202
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dance Medicine and Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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