The Real Pilates Standards of Training are distinguished by our focus on 4 key elements. Your weekly assignments are designed to develop your skill in each of these areas as well as your Anatomy, History and more.


Anatomy Course Overview:

And we’re back again! This week we are on to joints! The information from last week should help you organize this week’s info--remembering the names of the bones as well as the terms from Week 1 will help you this week. Again, you’ll head to Vimeo (using the link below and the password “rpttanatomy”), make your notes, and then head to canvas to answer this week’s questions.

WATCH  Joints video

Key Concepts:

Definition of a joint

- The union between two or more bones or cartilages

Definition of fibrous joints


Joints united by fibrous connective tissue

Example: Skull, teeth, in between radius and ulna and fibia and tibia

Definition of cartilaginous joints

- joints united by cartilage

Motions (also the motion for fibrous joints)

  • Compression

  • Stretching

  • Bending

  • Twisting

Example of cartilaginous joints

- Example of cartilaginous joints pubic symphisis, intervertebral disks

Synovial joint features:

  • Joint cavity

- A space that where two or more structures articulate, allows for

  • Hyaline articular cartilage

- Caps on the bone ends

  • Synovial membrane

- Covers the joint and secrets a slippery, libricating fluid

  • Outer fibrous capsule

- dense connective tissue coverin the joint

  • Internal and external ligaments

- connective tissue that limit movement (thereby stabilizing the joint).


Classification of synovial joints (add examples if you’re feeling fancy):

You might need to do some outside research for some of the joint types:

  • Plane joint

two flat bone surfaces glide across one another. Ex.: facet joints  in the spine

  • Hinge joint

bones only move in one axis: flexion and extension. Examples: joints in the fingers and toes, elbow and knee (elbow and knee are considered “complex” hinge joints because they involve slight movement in other axes/planes).

  • Ball and socket

Allows motion in all 3 axes (other joint types are one or two axes). Ex: shoulder joint, hip joint.

  • Condyloid joint

An ovoid articular surface, or condyle that is received into an elliptical cavity. Allows motion in two planes, allowing flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, and circumduction.

  • Saddle joint

allows similar movement to the condyloid joint, but the articulating bones look like a saddle.  Ex: the thumb.

  • Pivot joint

Pivot joints allow for rotation, protraction, retraction, flexion, extension, adduction and abduction, which can be external (for example when rotating an arm outward), or internal (as in rotating an arm inward). Ex: radio-ulnar joints (proximal and distal) and atlanto-axial joint.

Axes of movement: Definition and examples

  • Flexion/Extension

Flexion is a decrease in the angle of the bones meeting at a joint. IN GENERAL, this will mean the front or ANTERIOR surfaces of the body come closer together.

Extension is an increase in the angle of the bones meeting at a joint. IN GENERAL, this will mean that the back or POSTERIOR surfaces of the body come closer together.

  • The exception to this is the knee: bending your knee (bringing your heel closer to your bottom, thus bringing your calf and the back of your thigh together) is FLEXION at the knee joint, and straightening your knee (thus bringing your shin and front of thigh closer together) is EXTENSION.

  • Adduction/Abduction

adduction is the movement of a limb or limb segment TOWARDS the midline of the body

abduction is the movement of a limb or limb segment AWAY from the midline of the body

  • Internal/External Rotation

internal rotation is the turning of a limb TOWARDS the midline of the body around its longitudinal axis.

external rotation is the turning of a limb AWAY from the midline of the body around its longitudinal axis




  • In the Single Leg Circles on the Mat, what joint actions occur at the hip joint?

The hip FLEXES to bring the leg up to point at the ceiling. The hip is in slight EXTERNAL ROTATION. The hip then ADDUCTS across the midline, EXTENDS towards the floor/the leg on the mat, ABDUCTS away from the midline and FLEXES AND ADDUCTS back to the start position. The circling action of the leg/hip is also sometimes referred to as CIRCUMDUCTION.

  • In Coordination on the Reformer, what joint actions occur in the lower limb?

Coordination begins with the legs bent into the chest, so you begin in FLEXION at both the hip and the knee. The hip and knee EXTEND the legs to straight, the hip ABDUCTS (open the legs) then ADDUCTS (close the legs), then both the knee and hip FLEX again, to bring the legs back into the chest.

  • What joint actions occur in the shoulder joint during Pull Straps I? Pull straps II?

In Pull Straps I, the shoulder joint begins in FLEXION, and the action of the exercise is EXTENSION, as the upper arm bone moves to be in line with the body. In Pull Straps II, the shoulder joint begins in ABDUCTION and the action is ADDUCTION as the arm moves in line with  the sides of the body. If you are cuing the hands on top of the bottom, you could argue there is some EXTENSION happening at the shoulder joint as well.