Clinical Pilates in Practice: Analogies Speed Up Motor Learning (November 2020)

For motor learning tasks, analogies are usually given as a single biomechanical metaphor. This study demonstrates how analogies can influence motor kinematics and task outcome.


Zacks O, Friedman J. Analogies can speed up the motor learning process. Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 24;10(1):6932. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-63999-1. PMID: 32332826; PMCID: PMC7181737.



  • The type of instruction given is important for motor learning.
  • Different aspects of movement are affected differently by different instructional styles.

"Analogies in the case of motor learning combine various task-relevant rules into a single biomechanical metaphor, usually given to the learner as a verbal instruction."

  • Explicit instructions lead to smoother training for movement.
  • Instructions given as a verbal analogy can support smoother movement training when movement tasks are slowed down.
  • Analogies may help for motor skills that are otherwise hard to...
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Research Roundup: July 2020


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Footwear Alters Lower Extremity Coordination Variability

Romer, Braden H., Wendi Weimar, and John Fox. "Footwear Alters Lower Extremity Coordination Variability." Perceptual and Motor Skills 126, no. 5 (2019), 764-778. doi:10.1177/0031512519863183.

This was a small study gauging the influence of footwear on motor coordination, and thus results are not transferable across populations. However, the findings are interesting from a clinical perspective, as this adds to information re: training for functional tasks with appropriate footwear.


Key Points

  • Footwear, footwear components, and tactile feedback are capable of producing significant changes in gait mechanics and lower extremity muscle activity.
  • The amplitude and...
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Clinical Pilates in Practice: Instruction Modes for Motor Skills (September 2019)

Previous research has demonstrated that mirror neurons play an important role in learning; action observation training or motor imagery practice is based on this mechanism. This small study has some flaws, but demonstrated that motor imagery was more effective for developing motor control than tactile feedback or verbal instruction.


Roy La Touche, Macarena Sánchez-Vázquez, Ferran Cuenca-Martínez, María Prieto-Aldana, Alba Paris-Alemany & Gonzalo Navarro-Fernández (2019): Instruction Modes for Motor Control Skills Acquisition: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Journal of Motor Behavior, DOI: 10.1080/00222895.2019.1645087



  • Motor imagery is the dynamic mental processing of an action, without its real motor execution.
  • Motor imagery can be used to facilitate the learning and acquisition of motor skills, and the maintenance of previously acquired skills.
  • Motor imagery can also...
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