Author of the Month: Karen ClippingerPublished: September 15, 2011
Karen Clippinger, associate professor, Dance
Published in March with co-author Rael Isacowitz by Human Kinetics, Pilates Anatomy features 216 pages of detailed descriptions, step-by-step instructions and full-color anatomical illustrations. Pilates takes its readers inside exercises and programs meant to tone the body, stabilize the core, improve balance and increase flexibility. Using the original mat work of Joseph Pilates, readers will review how key muscles are used, how variations and minor adjustments can influence effectiveness and how breathing, alignment, posture and movement are all linked. Choosing from more than 45 exercises, readers can target a particular body region and delve deeper to stretch, strengthen and coordinate specific muscles. Readers will find techniques for breathing, concentration, and self-awareness for an exercise experience that enhances mind and body. Clippinger said she wrote the book, in part, to make Pilates accessible to many people and not just those in great shape from dancing. Her previous book published in 2007, Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology: Principles and Exercises for Improving Technique and Avoiding Common Injuries, previewed the challenges to getting anatomical drawings to enrich the text. “Anatomical drawings can be so helpful for bringing home a point or clarifying an exercise,” she said and Pilates Anatomy contains 213 illustrations, about 80 of which include renderings of key muscles for a given movement. “What is fun is that it incorporates principles such as control, center and precision that can have such a profound impact on improving movement skills while being accessible to a wide range of individuals,” she said. “This is a system where someone with less movement experience can go to a mat class, be successful with executing the exercises and feel benefits in a short period of time. It is a way to not only learn about the movement patterns themselves but learn about movement quality.” Clippinger has taught dance anatomy/kinesiology at UCLA, Scripps College, the University of Washington and the University of Calgary.
Prior to CSULB, she worked as a clinical kinesiologist for 22 years. She served as a consulting kinesiologist for the Pacific Northwest Ballet since 1981 and has consulted for the U.S. race walking team, the U.S. Weightlifting Federation and the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She was named a Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award winner in 2009. Clippinger received her B.A. in dance therapy from Sonoma State and her MSPE in exercise science from the University of Washington in 1984. The Santa Monica native and Long Beach resident joined the university in 1998 part-time and full-time tenure track in 2002.