Although there is a method to my training technique, there is also a sense of exploration while working with my clients. I frequently introduce new exercises, complex setups with multiple pieces of equipment, and different exercise progressions. This is where CoachNow has made all the difference! CoachNow is a user-friendly, easy to navigate documentation platform for both the trainer and client. CoachNow allows me to be efficient, allows my clients to be accountable and engaged, and allows our No Limits team to stay connected.

What exactly do I do with my clients in a 2-3 hour session?
As a Pilates instructor for No Limits Collaborative, I use a form of Pilates, called Neuro-Pilates, for my clients who have spinal cord injuries. I progress them through the motor development stages while using the fascial lines of the body. While there are many motor development stages, I typically progress my clients from supine (lying on your back) to seated, or prone (lying on your stomach), to a side-lying position, to kneeling, and lastly to standing. I typically do not advance a client to the next motor development stage until they are stable with proper alignment in the prior stage.

In addition to advancing through the motor stages, I use the fascial (connective tissue system throughout our entire body) and myofascial (muscles with interwoven fascia) lines of the body to communicate and connect functioning areas of the body to non-functioning areas of the body.

Pilates session with a client who has SCI

This connection may not present itself as an obvious increase of strength, but it will be more of a subtle awakening of the fascia, muscles, and nerves in the area we are targeting. Another way to think of fascia is when you peel open an orange, think of the orange slices as the muscles, and the pith (white, web-like material) as the fascia. I use this myofascial connection to detour around the injured spinal cord. In other words, when there is a traffic jam on the main highway, I’ll take the backroads to get to my destination.

For example, a client with a cervical spinal cord injury may have the ability to engage their shoulder, bicep, and latissimus dorsi muscles because the myofascial in this area are still connected and communicating with the rest of the body. However their triceps, abdominals, and lower back muscles may lack this connection, so I then work with the functioning myofascial to target the less functioning area and rebuild those connections.

Rachel Kahn