Integrating Pilates and PRI Concepts

Joseph Pilates and Ron Hruska are both 50 years ahead of their time. When Pilates first introduced his concepts of mind body conditioning in the mid 1920's he had a small following of disciples. Now his name is a household word.

Ron Hruska and his Postural Restoration Institute is following in a similar path, gaining acceptance, respect and recognition throughout the world of fitness, physical therapy and sports.

Commonalities between PRI and Pilates:

1. Focus on breathing/respiration

 2. Use of abdominals to assist in expiration and facilitate movement

 3. Concern with alignment/position

 4. Importance of neutrality; neutral spine/ neutral pelvis position

 5. Posture and body awareness

 6. Emphasis on neuro motor planning and integration

Breathing: Breathing is one of the primary principles of the Pilates Method.

Joseph Pilates stated, "Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Since we can't live without breathing it is tragically deplorable to contemplate the millions and millions who have never mastered the art of correct breathing" Pilates, 1945

Each exercise in the Pilates repertoire is coupled with a focused breathing pattern. Focus is on full inhalation and exhalation with the lungs used Iike bellows.

In the Postural Restoration Institute, the focus is on channeling the breath to underused parts of the lungs in coordination with manual as well as non manual techniques. Attention to facilitating diaphragm position to achieve a "zone of apposition" and achieve neutrality is integral to PRI's philosophy.


Utilizing the deep abdominals, the transversal abdominis (TA) and internal and external obliques (IO/EO) in conjunction with exhalation assists in execution of Pilates exercises; maintaining control and flow of movement. Typically in the Pilates repertoire flexion in facilitated with exhalation, extension is facilitated with inhalation.

In PRI, performing PRI non manual techniques with the balloon; for example 90/90 hip lift, forced expiration to fill the balloon facilitates the deep abdominals and the deep abdominals facilitate full exhalation. Many of the non manual techniques promote inhalation to fill the right apical chest wall and left posterior mediastinum and exhalation to facilitate the left internal obliques and TA's.


Maintaining proper alignment to minimize risk of injury and facilitate recruitment of proper muscle groups is an important principle in Pilates. Similarly, in Postural Restoration emphasis is on position to inhibit overactive muscle chains and facilitate proper movement patterns.


Both methods are concerned with the principle of neutrality. In rehabilitation based Pilates the emphasis is on neutral spine / neutral pelvis position for core stabilization and spinal health. In PRI, the goal is to achieve neutrality to facilitate diaphragm position, zone of apposition, and balance the neuromuscular systems predisposition to lateralization.

Posture /Body Awareness

In the Pilates method focus is on spinal elongation, scapular stabilization and core control to improve posture and body awareness.

In Postural Restoration, the focus is on reference centers during activities of daily living such as sitting, driving, standing walking to help inhibit faulty, overactive movement patterns.

Neuro motor planning/ Integration

The acceptance of Joseph Pilates work jumpstarted the trend of mind/body awareness in the field of training and conditioning and rehabilitation. Whole body movement in Pilates exercises requires muscle integration versus isolated muscle action. Pilates principles of concentration and control connect the mind to the body. PRI recognizes the neuro-muscular modulation of the body's entire system. The goal of postural restoration is reciprocal alternating triplanar functional movement, integrating vision and proprioception.

In conclusion, although there are differences, there are many similarities in the concepts of Ron Hruska's postural restoration and the work of Joseph Pilates. The two philosophies complement each other beautifully.


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Thank you Hispa! Donna Parise Byrne, PT, OCS ,PRC wrote this article, we appreciate your comments!

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This is the first time I have

This is the first time I have come across this website and the kind of information shared here was really useful for me. I am not aware of this integration of Pilates and PRI concepts and you have shared the concepts very clearly over here. I am expecting more health-related topics from here.

It will be interesting to

It will be interesting to experience this collaborated treatment method. Since there are so much of resemblance between these twos and even methods used in both the techniques are the same, it will not be difficult to collaborate these two.

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This advanced lecture and lab course are designed to help Pilates instructors, physical therapists, fitness professionals, strength coaches, personal trainers and other rehab and wellness professionals address asymmetrical breathing and postural patterns in the Pilates and rehab environment. photo retouching services

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