How are you moving today?
How are you moving today?
A continuation from last weeks movements explained.
In Pilates we have two types of bridges, articulated and neutral. An articulated is emphasizes spinal flexibility. Where as in the neutral bridge the spine moves as one piece.
In this position your knees are bent and your feet off the floor and your inner thighs are lightly engaged. This position teaches you how to effectively “train” the abdominals really challenging the transverse abdominus.
Below are two specific movements that are taught and many times mentioned in Pilates classes.
The C-Curve describes the shape of the back after the deep abdominal scoop. This is also a great stretch for the spine. One classic Pilates exercise that uses this shape is the Spine Stretch Forward.
In this position you are balancing slightly behind your tailbone. The key in maintaining this perfectly balanced position is to engage or pull in your deep abdominals. Another classic exercise that uses this position is the Rolling like a Ball.
In the next few weeks I will explain a few more of these Pilates movements.
Let’s dive right into a few Pilates equipment exercises to implement in the cyclists cross training program.
Pilates Footwork: This is is great for proper knee and leg alignment, stretches calves and strengthens and mobilizes ankles.
Stomach Massage Flat:
Feet in Straps Circles:
Side Lying Push Away: Strengthens the outer thighs
Chest Expansion: Opens the Chest
Supine Arms: Builds Strength in the Upper Body
Long Box Pulling Straps: Strengthens back.
Articulated Bridge and Push Away: Strengthens the Hamstrings and Low Back.
Superman: Back Strengthener
Standing Splits: Strengthens Inner and Outer Thighs
Pike and Reverse Pike: Strengthens Upper Body and Abdominals.
Reverse Pike/Tendo Stretch
* There are many more exercises in the Pilates repertoire as mentioned above these are just a few.
As always don’t forget to stretch.
The Pilates roll up works the abdominals but it also works on spinal articulation. When performed correctly the rollup is more effective on strengthening the abdominals than countless crunches.
As a side note you may have noticed the count or rep range in Pilates is remarkably less than most fitness exercises, except for the Pilates hundred. You may have wondered why, and I will let Mr Pilates answer this with one of his many quotes ” A few well designed movements properly performed in a balanced sequence are worth more hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” The focus in Pilates quality over quantity.
Let’s get back to the Roll up. Personally, I have had a love hate relationship with this exercise when I just started Pilates, because I was not able to perform the exercise correctly, but through practice and some helpful tips/modifications on my Pilates journey the roll up has become one of my favorite exercises. The purpose of this article is to share some of the modifications I not only used for myself but ones I use with my clients.
Common “roadblocks” while performing this exercise is 1. weak abdominals 2. a tight low back 3. not recruiting the bum and hamstrings.
The first tip is to keep your knees bent and as you roll up straighten your legs.
2. Place a rolled up towel under your low back and press into the towel as roll up and roll down.
3. Holding light weights 1-2lbs during the exercise will help.
4. Use your hands to help you, this is done by holding the back of your thighs
5. The half roll back is a great way practice.
Instructions for Half Roll Back: Sit tall and roll back to about the top of your pants, maintaing the C curve, and roll back up, again you can hold the back of your thighs to assist.
6. Remember to press the back of your thighs into the mat and to squeeze your glutes.
7.Place a theraband around your feet and holding the ends in your hands. Use the band to assist the roll up.
Be patient with your self and keep practicing.
Pilates is grace, strength and stability through movement.
We will be focusing on 2 exercises this week:
Balancing Star Plank
Get into the side plank position. So if you start on your left side, your right arm should be extended to the ceiling, now here is the twist, instead of raising your right leg, you will keep the right leg firmly planted on the floor and swing your left leg forward. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat on the other side. 3 reps each side.
High V ( this is a classic move used in Barre classes)
Stand next to your support, feet in a narrow V. Rise onto the balls of your feet, keeping your heels glued together; bend your knees, bringing your butt down toward knee level. Slowly move down and up by an inch for 30 seconds. Repeat, smaller and faster, for another 30 seconds.
Keep your abs engaged, shoulders away from your ears, neutral spine and breathe!!
Mountain Climbers x30
Stability Ball Crunch x30
Reverse Crunch x30
Reverse Plank 30 second
Side Plank Dips x30 ( each side)
Repeat 4 times