Annie Richman is tall and strong and everything about her seems balanced, fitting for the practice of Pilates, a method of exercise emphasizing core strength and muscle balance. In her 20s, Richman’s work as a cosmetologist led to serious back pain. That’s when she began training to be Pilates instructor. “I was uncertain at first, but I saw what it did for my body,” she says. “The universe puts you on the path you should be on.”
Her clients at Pilates for All include people in pain, pre- and post-op patients, athletes interested in improved performance, and many others. Dan Cohen (81 years old) worked with Richman to successfully resolve shoulder pain remaining after physical therapy treatments failed, and he no longer has the back pain he addressed with Richman several months ago. “The exercises and stretches she does are quite gentle,” he says. Another satisfied client is 32-year-old Ashley Kapaun. She says, simply, “Working with Annie has been life changing.”
“Most instructors spend six months to a year to become certified,” Richman says. “I spent three years.” On top of that, she enrolled in anatomy classes. In her tidy office you’ll find a model of a human body she constructed, complete with clay muscles molded over every bone.
Her caseload is about 20 clients, most of whom she sees once or twice a week. Every client undergoes a thorough evaluation of gait, mobility, balance, flexibility, strength and any areas of pain or weakness they identify. Frequently, treatment starts one-on-one but may evolve to small classes of two to six. In addition, Cohen says, “She makes sure I do my homework.”
“I know when they do it, and when they don’t,” Richman says with a smile.