Abduction A movement in the frontal plane which takes a part of the body away from the median plane;
Achilles Tendinitis A chronic overuse injury characterized by inflammation of the Achilles tendon resulting from small tears in its fibers.
Adaptation The continual process of changing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to adjust to a continually changing environment and set of circumstances.
Adaptive Shortening Shortening of muscle fibers and decreased range of motion due to inactivity.
Adduction A movement in the frontal plane which takes a part of the body towards the median plane.
Agonist The muscle which produces a particular movement; the prime mover.
Anatomical Position Standing erect with feet and palms facing forward
Annulus Fibrosis The tough fibrous outer portion of the intervertebral disc.
Ankylosing Spondylitis A progressive inflammatory disease of the spine that is more common in men.
Antagonist The muscle which produces the opposite movement of the agonist.
Anterior Facing toward or located at the front.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt / Anteversion Pelvic position whereby the ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine) is forward or pronounced of the pubis symphysis.
Aponeurosis A broad, flattened tendon
Arthritis Inflammation and irritation of the joints that often includes swelling and pain.
Articulation (Spine) Moving the torso up and down in a smooth and gradual way rolling the spine one vertebra at a time; the act of segmenting or putting space between the vertebrae.
ASIS Anterior Superior Iliac Spine; bony prominence of the hips
Atrophy A reduction in size or wasting away of any organ cell, resulting from disease or disuse.
Axial Skeleton The bones of the head and the trunk: skull, vertebral column, thorax and sternum
Ballistic Bounce or explosive movement, unsustained.
Bilateral Affects both sides of the body equally.
Bulging Disc / Protrusion An intervertebral disc that sticks out only slightly from its normal space without breaking through the annulus fibrosis. It may or may not cause any symptoms.
Bursa A fluid-filled sac or cavity, located in the tissue at points of pressure or friction, mainly around joints.
Bursitis Inflammation of the bursa sac, can be an overuse syndrome.
Box Drawing a straight line from shoulder to shoulder and down to hip to hip forms a rectangular box which Pilates regarded as the torso requiring stabilization during movement with the arms, legs, and head.
Breathing The principle which emphasizes the importance of keeping the blood pure as a result of proper breathing during exercises. This oxygenates the blood and eliminates noxious gases; full forced exhalations followed by a complete inflation of the lungs; breathe in to prepare for a movement and breathe out on the execution of it.
Cartilage A shiny, whitish connective tissue covering the articulating surfaces of bones
Center of Gravity An imaginary point around which the masses of the body segments are balanced.
Centering The human body has a physical center, the “powerhouse,” (abdomen, lower back, hips and buttocks) from which all motion emanates from; focus is on strengthening this center to support the spine, the internal organs and alignment; torso stabilization.
Cervical Regional term referring to the 7 vertebrae of the neck.
Concentration Focusing full attention to movements; engaging the mind with every movement; visualizing the movement to facilitate the central nervous system to choose the right combination of muscles to perform the movement; key element in connecting the mind with the body.
Contraindication Any condition which indicates that a particular movement, activity or treatment is improper or undesirable.
Chondromalacia Softening of condral cartilage on patella (backside); first symptoms usually clicking or grating sound in knee.
Chronic Back Pain Pain that persists for a long time (usually more than three months); pain beyond the point of tissue healing.
Circumduction Movement in which the extremity describes a 360 degree circle.
Coccydynia Pain in the coccyx or tailbone area.
Concentric Contraction Isotonic movement in which the muscle shortens
Connective Tissue Primary tissue characterized by cells separated by intercellular fluid that supports and binds together other tissues and forms ligaments and tendons.
Control It is fundamentally important that all physical motion be completely controlled by the mind; motion and activity without control leads to a sloppy, haphazard and counterproductive exercise program.
Coronal Plane The vertical plane perpendicular to the median plane; divides the body into anterior and posterior parts; frontal plane.
CNS (Central Nervous System) The brain and spinal cord receive, transmit, and direct all information to and from the muscles and joints to initiate, control, and monitor all human movement.
Closed Kinetic Chain The condition of an arm or leg where the distal segment of the limb is fixed (i.e., a foot on the floor bearing bodyweight; both hands on the floor for a push-up) and movement occurs on both sides of the axis of motion; facilitates normal proprioceptive feedback.
Cyanosis A bluish tinge frequently observed under the nails, lips, and skin, caused by a lack of oxygen.
Deep Internal; intrinsic; inside the body or a particular bone or organ.
Degenerative Disc Disease A condition in which disc degeneration, usually at several spinal levels, causes pain; progressive process during which discs lose water and shrink in size; may or may not cause symptoms and commonly occurs as part of the normal aging process.
Discectomy The surgical removal of all or part of a disc (usually herniated).
Distal Further from the trunk or a specific major joint.
Dorsiflexion A decrease in the angle between the superior (dorsal) surface of the foot and the anterior leg.
Dynamic Flexibility Having responsive muscles which are conditioned for their elastic properties in order to move a joint throughout full range of motion at varying speeds and forces.
Dynamics The study of motion resulting from forces acting on an object; the energetic output with which one performs a movement.
Eccentric Contraction Muscle lengthens while contracting, developing tension as when the muscles oppose the force of gravity.
Engram Continuous, repetitive movements over a period of time which become set in the memory of the muscle; muscle memory; neuromuscular pattern.
Eversion Foot position or movement where the lateral border of the foot is lifted; common with fallen medial arches; combination of foot abduction and dorsiflexion.
Extension A movement in the sagittal plane which takes a part of the body backward from anatomical position; increasing the angle between two bones.
External Rotation See Lateral Rotation
Fascia A fibrous membrane covering, supporting and separating muscles; unites skin with the underlying tissue.
Fast Twitch Fibers Large muscle fibers which when enervated have fast contraction times; subtypes: low oxidative / high glycolytic , and medium oxidative / high glycolytic; high anaerobic capacity best suited for intensive, short duration activities.
Faulty Movement Pattern Deviation from a normal movement pattern; commonly caused by an injury or repetitive movement performed while in poor joint position; incorrect recruitment of muscle fibers to produce a particular movement.
Femoral Torsion Rotation of the femur inward relative to the tibia.
Fibromyalgia A clinical syndrome defined by specific points of muscle tenderness as well as sleep disturbance, diffuse pain and fatigue.
Flexion A movement in the sagittal plane which takes a part of the body forward from anatomical position; decreasing the angle between two bones.
Flowing Movement Fluidity; moving smoothly and evenly through the movement patterns in a controlled and flowing manner; avoiding stiff or ballistic movements; energy flowing from the powerhouse out through the head, arms, and legs; grace of motion.
Functional Training Designing an exercise strategy where the repetitive performance of movement patterns improves an individual’s performance of a specific activity. The application in a rehabilitative environment may be enabling someone to walk again; in a sports environment the exercise prescription would enhance the movements required for that particular sport.
Functional Movement Pattern A specific change in joint position resulting from recruitment of specific musculoskeletal components controlled by the central nervous system.
Genu Valgum A condition of the leg alignment where the space between the knees is abnormally close together and the ankles increased; “knock knees.”
Genu Varum A condition of the leg alignment where the space between the knees is abnormally large and the ankles decreased; “bowlegs.”
Girdle of Strength The deep abdominal muscle transversus abdominis.
Golgi Tendon Organ A sensory organ within a tendon which, when stimulated, causes an inhibition of the entire muscle group.
Hyperextension The extension of body parts beyond their normal limits.
Hypomobility Restricted or limited range of motion (<ROM) at a joint.
Hypermobility Increased range of motion (>ROM) at a joint; joint laxity. May result in degenerative joint disease.
Hypertension High blood pressure; readings as low as 140/90 mmHg are considered a thresh-hold for hypertension by some authorities.
Hypertrophy Increase in size of tissue, organ, or cell, independent of general body growth.
Idiopathic Back Pain Back pain that does not have a well-known or identifiable cause. Investigations indicate that most back pain is idiopathic even though practitioners give some type of diagnosis.
Insertion The place or mode of attachment of a muscle; the moveable part of a muscle during action.
Impingement Syndrome Irritation of structures above the shoulder joint due to repeated compression as the greater tuberosity is pushed up against the underside of the acromion process.
Inferior Facing toward or located at the bottom; further from the head.
Integration The ability to see the body as a comprehensive whole; the use of every muscle simultaneously to complete a movement pattern; uniformly develops complementary muscle groups.
Intensity Degree of strength, energy or difficulty.
Internal Rotation See Medial Rotation
Intervertebral Disc The fibrocartilaginous cushion between each vertebra; shock absorbers and weight bearers; allows movement between the vertebra.
Inversion Position or movement of the foot in which the medial border of the foot is lifted; combination of foot adduction and plantar flexion.
Isokinetic Contraction in which the tension developed by the muscle while shortening at constant speed is maximal over the full range of motion.
Isometric Contraction When a muscle strains against a resistance but does not change in length; the length stays the same but the force changes.
Isotonic Contraction The force of the muscle contraction is constant and the length of the muscle changes; the muscle origin and insertion are drawn together.
Joint Capsule A sleevelike structure which encloses the joint, prevents loss of fluid and binds together the ends of the articulating bones; composed of dense connective tissue and represents a continuation of the periosteum.
Kinesophobia The irrational fear of movement; often part of the development of chronic back pain.
Kinesthetic Awareness An individual’s conscious awareness of body and joint position in space.
Kyphosis The convex rounding of the thoracic spine.
Lateral Further from the median plane; to the side.
Lateral Flexion Side bending of the trunk or neck.
Lateral Rotation A movement in a transverse plane which takes a part of the body outward; turning the arms or legs away from the median plane; external rotation.
Ligaments Dense bundles of parallel collagenous fibers derived from the outer layer of the joint capsule to strengthen and stabilize the joint in a passive way; non-elastic and non-contractile; contain numerous sensory nerve cells capable of responding to speed, movement, joint position, stretching, and pain.
Limit of Stability The outermost range in any direction that an individual can lean from the neutral position without changing the base of support (i.e., taking a corrective step to prevent a fall or needing a prop to balance during exercise).
Lordosis The concave curve of the vertebral column
Longitudinal Ligaments (Posterior and Anterior) Ligaments extending the length of the vertebral column attached to the front and back of the vertebral bodies acting as brakes to extension and flexion; absorbs the thrust from the disc nuclei during articulation.
Lumbar Regional term referring to the 5 vertebrae of the back between the abdomen and the pelvis.
Lumbar Stenosis A narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal in the lumbar spine.
Medial Closer to the median plane.
Medial Rotation A movement in the transverse plane which turns a part of the body inward toward the median plane; internal rotation.
Meniscus Tear Acute injury to the crescent-shaped fibrocartilage (lining the top surface of the tibia) within the knee either medial or lateral .
Mobility Movement controlled by muscular contractions, muscular flexibility and the potential range of motion at a joint.
Momentum The force with which one exerts movement; all movement momentum should initiate from the powerhouse and not from “throwing” the body into the movement.
Motoneurons Neurons that carry impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the muscle receptors for enervation of the muscle fibers.
Motor Control The science of how the CNS interprets sensory information from the environment and the body and then controls the individual muscles and joints to produce coordinated movement patterns.
Motor Learning The act of making the mind – body connection; the mind teaching the body conscious control of a new movement or motor program; motor performance.
Multifidus Vertebral column muscle subdivision of the transversospinalis group; chevron-like muscles which run superomedially from transverse process to spinous process; assist in extension, lateral flexion, rotation, and alignment of the spine
Muscle Spindle Functions as a stretch receptor monitoring the length of the muscle in which it is embedded; its greatest density is near the belly of the muscle; rapid, ballistic stretching stimulates the muscle spindle causing an involuntary contraction of the muscle being stretched (stretch reflex.)
Myositis Inflammation of a muscle.
Navel to Spine Making the distance between the navel and the lumbar spine as small as possible; engagement of the powerhouse whereby the navel pulls back into the back.
Nucleus Pulposus The inner part or center of the disc
Neuromuscular Pertaining to the relation between nerves and muscles
Open Kinetic Chain The condition of an arm or leg where the distal segment of the limb is free to move (i.e., both feet off of the floor during leg exercise); no direct correlation between open-chain movement patterns and increases in functional performance.
Osteoarthritis A degenerative joint disease associated with aging; caused by a degeneration of the cartilage of the joints; improved with exercise and synovial fluid production.
Osteopenia Osteoporosis risk factor; exists in those who never reached peak bone mass; a condition of low bone mass; may or may not be a precursor to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis A weakening of the bones as they lose some of their density; porous bones resulting from mineral metabolism and nutritional imbalance.
Overuse Injuries Injuries caused by excessive, repeated stress to an area of the body; common overuse injuries include: shin splints, tendinitis and bursitis.
Pilates Stance Pilates First Position; modified Ballet First where the angle between the heels is approximately 45 degrees; V position of the feet; toes and legs turned out with straight but not locked knees; squeezing the back of the upper inner thighs stabilizes the pelvis.
Plantar Fascitis Inflammation of the plantar fascia, a broad band of connective tissue running along the sole of the foot.
Plantar Flexion An increase in the angle between the dorsal surface of the foot and the anterior leg; pointing the foot; extending the foot through the toes.
Posterior Facing toward or located at the back.
Precision The principle which facilitates neuro-muscular re-education. Pilates said, “Concentrate on right movements each time you exercise or else you will do them improperly and lose their value.”
Prone Lying face down Pronation Palm of the hand faces backward; shifting the body weight to the inside of the foot.
Proprioception The cumulative neural input to the CNS from receptors (proprioceptors) in the joint capsules, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and skin.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Statically stretching a muscle after maximally contracting it.
Proximal Closer to the trunk or a specific major joint
PNS (Peripheral Nervous System) All the branches of nerves that lie outside the spinal cord. The peripheral nerves primarily responsible for muscular action are the spinal nerves that enter on the posterior or dorsal side of the vertebral column.
Q-Angle The angle formed by the longitudinal axis of the femur and the line of pull of the patellar ligament.
Range of Motion The scope of movement within which a muscle can comfortably be exercised; the number of degrees that an articulation will allow one of its segments to move.
Rehabilitation Restoration, following disease, illness or injury, of the ability to function in a normal or near normal manner.
Reciprocal Inhibition Relaxation of the antagonistic muscle(s) while the agonist muscle(s) performs a given task.
Reciprocal Innervation A stretching technique in which an individual contracts the opposite muscles he wants to stretch.
Recurrent Acute Back Pain Episodes of back pain that are of varying duration and are separated by relatively pain-free periods; most common type of back pain condition.
Regression Teaching a complex movement pattern by first reducing it to isolated movements of one body part at a time and progressing the intensity by layering the isolated movements into the advanced or integrated movement pattern.
Resistance Anything that opposes the contraction of muscle when drawing its origin and insertion points closer together.
Rheumatoid Arthritis An autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the connective tissues in the joints.
RICE Immediate injury treatment: rest, ice, compress, elevate.
Rotation Movement around the central axis of a lever.
Ruptured Disc / Herniated Disc Extrusion, most commonly a result of chronic flexion movement, during which the nucleus moves toward the back (posteriorly) and fluid from the disc escapes; fluid may compress the nerve roots causing pain.
Scanning Teaching technique of observation/assessment; looking for incorrect body alignment or faulty movement patterns.
Sciatica Pain in the buttocks and the back of the legs due to irritation of the sciatic nerve or nerve roots.
Scoliosis An abnormal curve of the spine to the side; often very mild and usually does not cause symptoms.
Scoop The act of pulling the navel down into the spine by engaging the transverse abdominals to create concave lower abdominals.
Sensory Neurons Neurons that carry impulses from the receptors in the body into the central nervous system
Slow-Twitch Fibers Small skeletal muscle fibers innervated by the alpha-2 motoneuron, having a slow contraction time; high aerobic capacity; high oxidative and low glycolytic; endurance muscles
Softening The point at which the legs or arms can be straightened without locking the joints.
Specificity A principle of training that states that physiological adaptations are specific to the systems that are overloaded with exercise.
Spinal Canal The “tube” through which the spinal cord passes; formed by the opening at the back of each vertebra as they are stacked upon one another.
Spinal Nerves The 31 pairs of nerves that arise from the various levels of the spinal cord.
Spinal Stenosis An abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal. Stenosis is classified as developmental (genetic origin), congenital (from birth), and acquired (developed after birth); Acquired stenosis is the most common due to degenerative changes in the spine; spinal hyperextension movement should be avoided.
Spine to Mat Also referred to as “imprinting the spine;” supine: removing the space under the lumbar, lengthening the lordotic curve; strongly suggested for individuals with lumbar hyperlordosis or at risk for lumbo-sacral injury.
Spondylolisthesis Anterior displacement of a vertebra on the adjacent lower vertebra; slipping forward of a vertebrae; usually L4 over L5.
Spondylosis Degenerative changes of the spine, including the vertebrae, the discs, and the facet joints; a fracture of the vertebra facet.
Sprain Wrenching or twisting of a joint in which ligaments are stretched past their normal limits
Stability Is the active muscular control exerted on a joint by working muscles.
Strain Muscle pull; a stretch, tear or rip of the muscle or adjacent tissue, such as fascia or muscle tendon.
Stress Related Back Pain / Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) Back pain that is thought to be caused and maintained primarily by emotional and psychological issues;
Stretch Reflex When stretching to the point of pain the muscle spindle receptors signal the muscle to shorten or contract to prevent the muscle from being torn from the bone.
Subluxation Dislocation or disarticulation of a joint.
Superficial External; on or near the outside surface of the body or a particular bone or organ.
Superior Facing toward or located at the top; closer to the head.
Supine Lying face up. Supination Palm of the hand faces forward.
Syncope Fainting; temporary loss of consciousness due to insufficient blood flow to the brain.
Synergetic The cooperation of different muscles to produce the same action
Synovial Fluid The body’s natural lubrication for the joints; slow, controlled movement increases production keeping joints flexible.
Synovial Membrane The inner layer of the joint capsule composed of loose connective tissue; secretes synovial fluid which fills the articular cavity to lubricate the joint and provide nutrients to the cartilage and contains phagocytic cells which remove debris and microorganisms from the cavity.
Tachycardia An increased or rapid heart rate, usually above 100 beats per minute.
Tendon The strong fibrous cord forming the termination of the muscle and attaching to the periosteum of a nearby bone; minimum of elasticity.
Tendinitis Inflammation of a tendon; commonly caused by overuse.
Thoracic Regional term referring to the 12 vertebrae between the neck and the abdomen; thorax or chest
Tibial Torsion Twisting of the tibia, usually associated with supinated or pronated feet.
Tonus A slight, sustained muscle contraction.
Torque Amount of twist around an axis.
Traction A treatment in which pressure is applied to the spine in order to pull articulations away from one another.
Transverse Plane To cross the body with a line parallel to the floor; horizontal plane; to divide the body into superior (upper) and inferior (lower) parts.
Trendelenburg Sign The Trendelenburg Gait is one in which the affected hip goes into adduction during each weightbearing phase of the gait; indication of hip abductor weakness as evidenced by the hip going into adduction when standing with full weight on the affected leg with the other foot off the floor.
Valsalva Maneuver A dangerous condition that can occur if an individual holds their breath, causing the glottis to close and abdominal muscles to contract, forming an unequal pressure in the chest cavity, reduced blood flow to the heart and insufficient oxygen supply to the brain. Dizziness, temporary loss of consciousness may occur.
Ventral Towards the abdominals; anterior or front; palmar regarding the hands.
Vertebra or Vertebrae A bone of the spine; a vertebra has three parts: the vertebral body, the transverse process and the spinous process; vertebrae is plural.
Vertebral Column The backbone or spine; 23 intervertebral articulations.
Vital Capacity The greatest volume of air that can be forcibly exhaled after the deepest inspiration.
Wolff’s Law Injured bone heals according to the stress placed upon it during the healing process; bones become stronger in response to increased stress; bones react to mechanical forces applied to them by adapting in size and internal structure.