I have encountered Pilates teachers who say they have an Oov in their studio but haven’t used it much because it didn’t feel comfortable or they didn’t notice any significant change in their body. I want to invite those teachers to give the Oov a second chance because what they may not realize is that sizing the Oov properly is a critical piece to having the Oov work its magic.
While there are suggested sizes for the Oov on the Balanced Body website, which incorporates the overall weight and height of your client, there are several other factors to consider.
1. Weight Of Your Client:
Your clients’ weight is usually the most crucial factor, as this impacts how much the Oov compresses underneath. It is the push-back of the foam material with every change in movement and position that enables valuable feedback for the client to detect the change and have the opportunity to process what to do and react accordingly. If the Oov is too soft for the person lying on it, the material may compress so much that there is little push back, so it may be difficult to detect the nuances of what happens when the client moves. By contrast, if the Oov is too dense for the person, it may feel uncomfortable and painful to “settle” in to.
2. Height Of Your Client:
The unique shape of the Oov is such that it enables you to create stability in the sagittal plane for the pelvis and lumbar spine yet also allow movement of the thoracic spine into the transverse plane with the scapulae to move freely without being artificially stabilized by the floor beneath when in the supine position. If the person is too tall for the Oov they are on; their scapulae may have too much contact with the floor and take away this 3D effect of impacting scapular stability.
3. Position You Are Working In:
There are times when downsizing or upsizing the Oov makes sense. Sidelying work for a person with a long torso might feel best on an Oov that is slightly larger to help support the curves more comfortably. In this case, upsizing may be best. By contrast, prone work for a person who is petite or who has less control of the anterior slings may feel more comfortable if you downsize the Oov. We also need to consider in supine if the feet are on the floor or the wall as this will impact the situation. Give that a try to see if there is a difference in the outcome.
4. Spinal Fusion or Scoliosis:
The beauty of the Oov is that we can work the rotators of the spine without rotating the spine, and for someone with structurally fixed areas of the spine, this will support the integrity of the curves. Choosing an Oov that is smaller may be best to enable additional padding for a spine that structurally is fixed in certain areas. Also, more frail individuals with more pronounced kyphosis may appreciate an Oov that compresses more easily underneath their more delicate spines.
5. Hypomobile or Hypermobile:
This factor is probably most overlooked but is very important. It’s tough to break a rigidity pattern for a person if they are lying on something rigid in nature. In this case, sometimes downsizing for a softer Oov may enable that person to feel like the Oov is one with them so they can start to appreciate their nuances of movement. By contrast, a hypermobile client may be best served by upsizing the Oov and placing the feet against the wall to help create a more stable environment to work with.
6. Pain or Discomfort:
The person must be comfortable, so if they start noticing pain or a strain, sometimes, it’s a simple positioning change as their bodies as they are lying there. I have had some clients report some SI joint discomfort and found that upsizing slightly in addition to having the feet on the wall helps quite a bit.
I have used all three sizes on my own body, but as always, if you know what your intention of the movement is, you can decide what is right for you and your client.
Have you encountered comfort issues with the Oov? It’s important to realize that Oov size matters and several factors should be considered. Here’s an Oov sizing guide to give your clients the best possible experience.