I love planks in all its forms. This series on the reformer is fun and challenging.
Let me know if you try these variations. Enjoy.
How are you moving today?
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 weather is nice and an increasing number of cyclists are out, whether they are riding for fun or riding for a cause or riding in a studio/ gym class. Cycling is a great low impact form of exercise, however the downfall of cycling it often times leads to imbalances in the body. When cycling, the main focus is on the lower body, as a result this leads to overly developed quads and calves, tight hamstrings and low back, overworked and tight hip flexors and the bent over or rounded shape of the spine and shoulders leads to poor posture, resulting in rounded shoulders and thoracic kyphosis, and low back pain.
It is recommended to add cross training to your routine in order to work different muscles. By doing this you will strengthen the areas that are weak, stretch where you are tight and as result balance your body. Yep, I am saying it, adding Pilates to your weekly routine will help with your overall performance.
The focus on the “power house” or “core” in Pilates will allow cyclists to have more “oomph” or power from their lower body to pedal along with improving flexibility and strength and proper alignment. Your upper body strength will increase, low back pain will be prevented, improved balance, with the different types of breathing used in Pilates sessions the ability to ride for longer periods of time will improve and as mentioned before any imbalances in the body you may have will be corrected.
I will be sharing a few Pilates exercises both equipment based and ones performed on the mat for those of you that are not able to make it a studio.
Part One: Mat Work
Great for spinal articulation and strengthens the low back.
Increases spinal rotation and strengthens the core. Great stretch for back .
Leg Pull Down:
Stretches the Achilles Tendon, strengthens the core, the scapular and lumbopelvic stabilizers, hip flexors, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.
Works the powerhouse and hamstrings, back extensors and glutes.
Stretches and strengthens the quadriceps, increases torso stabilization, and strengthens the back.
Kneeling Side Kicks:
Strengthens the abductors hip flexors, shoulders, lats. Great for hamstring flexibility and stabilizes pelvis.
Strengthens the back and hip extensors and works the glutes at the same time. Great for pelvic stability.
Side Leg Bananas:
Strengthens the hips and obliques and great for torso stability.
Single Leg Kick:
Strengthens the hamstrings,back extensors and glutes. Stretches the quads and improves the stability of the shoulders.
Strengthens the entire body and improves upper body strength.
Side Leg Bicycle:
Strengthens the hips and glutes and improves the stability of the pelvis and torso.
Great for balance and coordination. Fantastic massage for the spine and just plain fun.
These are just a few of the Pilates mat exercises that can be included in your daily routine. Stay tuned for part two , equipment based Pilates exercises in the next few weeks.
Stay consistent with your exercise routine and you will see improvements/changes.
And always remember to breathe.
Have an awesome week.
There are two popular quotes from Joseph Pilates that many are familiar with and if you have never seen them or heard anyone say them here they are:
” You are only as young as your spinal column.”
” If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.’
When you really think about it, it makes complete sense. Our bodies/spines are designed to move with freedom not with restrictions. The exercises in Pilates works all the movements of the spine to keep it healthy, flexible and strong.
The spine is worked in extension ( backward bending), flexion (forward bend), lateral flexion (side bending), rotation (twisting). By working the spine in all different directions we create a proper balance and maintain proper alignment and posture.
Before I show you some of the exercises that goes along with each spinal movement, I would like to explain axial extension or lengthening. All the movements in Pilates focus on lengthening the spine or creating space, we do not collapse or sink into the movements. We always want to think of lengthening.
Below are a few of the exercises that goes along with the above mentioned movements.
Chest Lift, Hundred and The Roll Up.
Side Bend Twist, Spine Twist, Criss Cross
*important to note the rotation comes from the spine not the shoulders or neck*
Mermaid, Side Bend.
Swan, Swimming, Leg Pull Up, Shoulder Bridge.
Hope you enjoyed this weeks post. Feel free to share.
I hope you are all having a fantastic September so far. I thought I would share an interesting interview/discussion on Memories of Mr Joe Pilates. Enjoy!
A little extra Pilates history:
Have a great week friends.