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PT Elevated l Pilates and Movement l Brent Anderson

August 4, 2022 • Manual Therapy • Kory Zimney, Paul Mintken

Welcome back to a NEW season of PT Elevated where we are broadening our topics to include more researchers but still focusing on topics that you can use in your clinic every day. This season some of our speakers are guests who will be live in-person at the EIM Align Conference this August 26-28 in Dallas, Texas.

On our ninth episode of season 3, Brent Anderson, PhD, PT, OCS, PMA®-CPT, owner and Founder of Polestar Pilates and Co-founder of joins! He is a former dancer and been a PT for over 30 years. He is also a world lecturer and educator. He first opened Anderson Physical Therapy (APT) in Sacramento, CA. It was one of the first physical therapy centers specializing in Pilates based rehabilitation and performance enhancement. By 1994, a second APT facility was integrating Pilates into rehabilitation, dance medicine, cross-training, and wellness. Rehabilitation and Pilates practitioners from around the world visited Sacramento to observe and study this exciting new treatment approach. By 1997, Brent moved his practice to Miami, FL from 3,000 to 12,000 square feet of space.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy and orthopedic certified specialist for more than 13 years, Brent is a leading authority in performing arts medicine and Pilates-evolved techniques for rehabilitation. He lectures nationally and internationally at symposia as well as consults with professional dance companies, schools, and observatories throughout the world.

In this episode Brent expands on his extensive background between teaching and business. They discuss movement how Brent uses Pilates in that aspect, the benefits of getting into active movement, general misconceptions about pilates people have and more!

Here are some of the highlights:
Brent says sometimes he thinks the number of hats we wear has a direct correlation with how old we are. If we have stayed active, if we are pursuing new information then it is like our hats will continue to grow.”

Brent danced semi-professionally years ago, while he was in physical therapy school at UC San Francisco 35 years ago, he was taking dance class and his dance teacher told him about pilates. She told him to check it out the new dance medicine center at St. Francisco Hospital and he fell in love with it immediately. He met his partner Elizabeth who was his partner in Polestar pilates for 10 years. They traveled around and introduced pilates to the rehabilitation world. Brent then moved to Sacramento to have his own physical therapy practice. At that time, they introduced pilates education in a formal education way to be able to be certified in pilates in 1992. Polestar Pilates is in 67 countries with 16,000 graduates today.

In 1997 Brent moved to Miami to get his doctorate where he studied the effect of passive and active and the outcomes that were related to it. The behavioral aspect of humans is much more of a predictor than the physiological or structural outcomes. When you are looking at what someone believes we see a much higher correlation with outcomes. For example, self-efficacy, fear avoidance back questionnaires this type of quality of life measures are up in the 70% plus percent with chronic back pain. What people believe is what often manifests the functional outcomes. That was a big discovery for us because we were so fixed on abdominal and core strengthening back in the early 1990s to early 2000s and we were on the bandwagon with everyone. I cringe when I hear anyone talk about suggesting doing core strengthening for a client and I suggest talking about awareness and movement efficiencies and creating positive movement experiences for them that shift their paradigm. It is a different language now than it was. After graduating from my doctoral program, I taught part time for the University of Miami for 20 years. Most recently about 4 years ago I started working for St. Augustine in Miami that allowed me to do part time research as a faculty member.

Brent says he has a very rich profession in physical therapy, and he loves what he does. “I love being a physical therapist.”

Kory asks Brent about his mindful approach to movement and why that is so important for us to look at movement that way. Brent says he thinks that sometimes we get obsessive with perfect movement. But there are no studies out there that show an ideal alignment is going to decrease the risk of injury or enhance performance, it is very limited. Alignment to Brent has shifted into the behavioral science of is there an alignment between what you believe and what your body is doing. He finds that alignment to be much more powerful when you talk about mindfulness, and do you know what your body is doing in space? Are you sensitive to the feedback coming from your body, do you understand the pain mechanisms. He says if you think  of alignment at a higher level, he thinks you could find lots of correlations between performance, injury prevention and injury recovery because if we listen to our bodies and we are accurate in our interpretation of it.

Brent’s Clinical Pearl –
“I would re-emphasize the idea of being a pathokinesiologist. Realizing that we always need to focus on movement in our profession. What I like about that is I then am no longer an orthopaedic, or a sport, or a neuro, or a geri, or a peds, I am a pathokinesiologist. Whatever pathology impacts your quality of life with movement that is my specialty. That is what I would want people to be open to. Don’t get pigeonholed into one. Be the example of movement. Always focus on how the disease or injury or the physiological impairment can influence the quality of movement of the client and ourselves.”

Helpful research and training:

Ad Info: We are excited to be back in person and back to hands-on learning for the 2022 Align Conference. This year you can join an all-star lineup of speakers in Dallas, Texas, August 26 through the 28. The labs and lectures focus on sharpening the physical, hands-on treatments essential to patient care. Save 5% on registration as a PT Elevated Podcast listener. Visit and use the promo code PTELEVATED at checkout.  You can find the promo code and a link to the website in the show notes. We can’t wait to see you!

Connect with us on socials:
@ZimneyKJ on Twitter
@PMintkenDPT on Twitter
@DrBrentPT on Twitter
@PolestarPilates, Polestar Pilates on Twitter
@Runity_Run, Runity on Twitter
@brentpolestar on Instagram
@polestarpilates, Polestar Pilates on Instagram, Runity.Run on Instagram
Align Conference 2022, Website

Kory Zimney

Kory received a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of North Dakota in 1994. He completed his transitional DPT from Des Moines University in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2020. His dissertation focused on the construct of trust as part of the therapeutic alliance and its relation...

Paul Mintken

Paul has taught musculoskeletal content for the past 15 years. His active research agenda focuses on conservative care for musculoskeletal disorders as well as spinal and extremity manipulation and dry needling. Current Roles: Evidence In Motion, Faculty Wardenburg Health Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, Lead Clinician Regis University Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy,...

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