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Pilates For Rehabilitation

Author: Wood S
Category: Therapeutic Exercise
Audience: Consumer
Length: 279 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2019
List Price: $49.95® Rating: Excellent!

Pilates For Rehabilitation is a comprehensive resource on using Pilates-style exercises to recover from minor injuries.

Recommended for:  Serious athletes who sustain minor injuries as well as regular people who simply want to tone-up their core, improve their flexibility, and engage in a low-impact exercise.


Samantha Wood, MPT, MBA, PMA-CPT, RYT is a licensed physical therapist, a certified Pilates Method Alliance instructor, a certified Yoga Alliance instructor, and an associate faculty member for BASI Pilates. She received a BS in exercise science from the U. of Southern California and a Masters in Physical Therapy from Western University of Health Sciences. In addition, she earned an MBA from USC. She created and teaches 2 advanced education courses for BASI Pilates: "Pilates For Injuries and Pathologies" and "Pilates: Integration Into Therapeutic Practice." Samantha has worked with many celebrities and professional athletes. While at HealthSouth in Arizona, she was the physical therapist for the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes, Phoenix Mercury, and Arizona Rattlers. She has given educational seminars around the world.


This 279-page book is organized as follows:


  • Chapter 1: The Science Behind Pilates for Rehabilitation
  • Chapter 2: Guiding Principles of Pilates
  • Chapter 3: Integrating Pilates With Rehabilitation
  • Chapter 4: Methodology and Apparatus Needed for an Effective Practice


  • Chapter 5: Mat Exercises
  • Chapter 6: Reformer Exercises
  • Chapter 7: Cadillac Exercises
  • Chapter 8: Wunda Chair Exercises


  • Chapter 9: The Cervical and Thoracic Spine
  • Chapter 10: The Lumbar Spine
  • Chapter 11: The Shoulder
  • Chapter 12: The Hip
  • Chapter 13: The Knee
  • Chapter 14: The Foot and Ankle


• Chapter 1: In this chapter, the author reviews 13 published studies that show that Pilates exercise is effective for training muscles of the core, and, for rehabbing a variety of injuries: low back, neck and shoulder problems, and hip and knee injuries. I've never seen a book start off like this, but it validates Pilates as a physical therapy technic.

• Chapter 2: Here, the author focuses on the main principle of Pilates, ie., that it is not simply exercise training, but, rather, a mind-body technic...which is what founder Joseph Pilates intended when he opened his first Pilates studio in 1926. This chapter is only 8 pages, but it summarizes the Pilates philosophy succinctly. This chapter is excellent.

• Chapter 3: The author has a unique perspective: she is both a licensed physical therapist and a certified Pilates instructor. In this chapter, she explains how Pilates can be integrated into rehab of injuries. She offers 10 reasons why Pilates is effective. There are several anatomical diagrams in this chapter, but this chapter is not an "anatomy lesson." This chapter is also well-done.

• Chapter 4: This chapter prepares the reader for the rest of the book. It starts off with discussions about spinal alignment, and, core training, and then introduces the 4 pieces of equipment that Pilates exercises are performed on: mat, reformer, the Cadillac, and the wunda chair.

• Chapter 5: In Part II, Chapters 5-8, 105 specific Pilates exercises are presented. For each one, a description is provided that is informative without being lengthy. One to four black-and-white photos are also provided for each exercise. This chapter presents 18 exercises that can be done on a mat.

• Chapter 6: This chapter presents the classic Pilates exercises done on an apparatus known as a reformer. 53 different exercises are included here.

• Chapter 7: This chapter presents 18 exercises that can be done on an apparatus known as the Cadillac.

• Chapter 8: This chapter presents 16 exercises that utilize a wunda chair.

• Chapter 9: Part III, Chapters 9-14, present complete exercise programs for specific injuries in a table format. In Chapter 9, problems with the cervical and thoracic spine are addressed. Six exercise programs are summarized here.

• Chapter 10: This chapter addresses the lumbar spine. Eight exercise programs are presented.

• Chapter 11: This chapter focuses on the shoulder. Four exercise programs are presented.

• Chapter 12: This chapter focuses on the hip. Six exercise programs are presented.

• Chapter 13: This chapter focuses on the knee. Seven exercise programs are presented.

• Chapter 14: This chapter focuses on the foot and ankle. Four exercise programs are presented.

Other details:

Photos & Illustrations: 1-4 black-and-white photos are included for each exercise in Chapters 5-8. These help readers understand the exercise motion. Several photos and anatomical illustrations appear in Part I.

Tables & Graphs: Numerous tables appear in Part III. Here, the author presents exercise programs for specific injuries. Each table includes: Pathology, General Contraindications and Precautions, Common Problems, and Goals. These are organized and useful. No graphs appear.

Documentation / Accuracy: 82 citations to published research appear at the end. While this is not a scientific book, it is a medical/therapeutic book. These will be appreciated by some readers. However, no research from Stuart McGill, PhD, widely regarded as an expert in back rehab, is cited.

What I Liked About This Book

Pilates For Rehabilitation checks a lot of boxes:

First, the title and sub-title accurately describe the content. Second, it is very thorough without being too lengthy. It is well organized. The photos in Part II are helpful. The Tables in Part III are well done.

I was especially impressed by the author's education and training: her dual expertise in both physical therapy and in Pilates training makes her highly qualified to write this book.

What Could Be Better

This book is essentially flawless. I gave it 4-stars. On a 10-point scale, I would give it a 9.9. The only detail preventing it from scoring a perfect 10 is the omission of any research from Stuart McGill, PhD...either in Chapter 1 where the author reviews clinical research, or, in the Bibliography at the end where 82 citations are listed. The author has the perfect background (physical therapy plus Pilates training) to comment on research by other experts in physical therapy rehab, so, I was interested in her perspective on some of Dr. McGill's recommendations.


Pilates For Rehabilitation excels in both its concept and its execution. The book delivers exactly what the title promises. Part I reviews the principles of Pilates exercise. Part II presents the specific exercises. And, Part III presents exercise programs for specific injuries. It's logical, and it flows. I can recommend this book highly!

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 11/8/2020 1:00:15 PM

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