Newest Review: ... max, abductions for the glute medius, lots of abdominal work that focuses on the rectus abdominals (six pack) and the obliques (contro... more
A fad that fizzled out
Member Name: Tracy_1127
Advantages: some may find it mildly helpful, low impact
Disadvantages: incorrect pelvis and spinal position, could be dangerous, misses vital muscles
The callanetics fad of the late eighties did not pass me by. I, like many others, jumped on the bandwagon immediately for this new style of toning exercises that required very small movements for great results.
The exercise was devised by one Callan Pinkney to correct a back problem she had. However, if you read Ms Pinkney's story and know anything about back problems it is clear she had excessive lordosis (excessive arching) of the lumbar area and this for me is where callanetics falls to pieces.
The exercises are straight forward enough, nothing odd about them, hip extensions for the glute max, abductions for the glute medius, lots of abdominal work that focuses on the rectus abdominals (six pack) and the obliques (control rotation) but where is the transvesus abs work?
What troubled me about callanetics is the posterior tilt of the pelvis that's encouraged (tipping the pelvis back and rounding the spine like a C shape). This is not ideal for many people, in a society that spends alot of time sitting with bad posture many of us already have this C shape to the spine which is not how the spine should be. A C curve encourages problems with the hips, the low back, the upper back and neck and shoulders so should we be exercising like this? The answer is simply no.
The only people who should be pressing their backs and pelvis into this kind position are those with the excessive lordosis problem Callan Pinkney had and they should only do it to the point where the arching reduces then aim for neutral. The rest of us should be aiming for a neutral position of the spine where the curves are at the correct angles right from the start.
Another aspect that troubled me as the lack of transversus abs work, this is a very important part of the core and a commonly weak abdominal muscle that is completely overlooked in callanetics. It also neglects strengthening the back and the pelvic floor and the deep stabilisers of the back.
Several pilates teachers I know started teaching Callanetics and when Pilates became more popular quickly switched to the safer method of exercising. Most have never looked back and cringe when they think how they used to teach people to tilt their pelvis backwards.
In my opinion it is fine for those with too much of an arch to their backs although they should check their deep stabilisers before commencing and not overdo the rounding of the spine but for everyone else it is likely to exacerbate any postural or back problems.
Callanetics rightly fizzled out and made way for safer, more versatile forms of exercise like yoga and pilates. I wouldn't recommend it.
Summary: I don't recommend it, try pilates instead
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