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 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.
This is a slightly different post from the norm. This past weekend I was able to combine two of my favorite things ( other than Pilates:)) and that is going to one of may favorite fitness apparel stores, Athleta and taking a Barre3 class. Athleta is an awesome fitness apparel store that has three locations here in Houston and they offer different free fitness classes in their stores.
As many of you know I like to change my exercise routine often, cross training is definitely something I promote, go ahead mix up your training routine.
A little background /insight on the workout, from the Barre3 website:
“We draw from multiple influences to create innovative classes that focus on length, grace, and a healthy body.
Sadie Lincoln, barre3 founder, works closely with a team of experts including yogis, professional dancers, doctors, and athletes to craft highly efficient workouts. Focusing on a unique combination of dynamic movement and isometric holds, the sequences work strategically to transform the body and develop long term postural benefits. A continuously evolving variety of movements keep the classes challenging, fun, and fresh. Whether you work out in the studio or at home, barre3 fits your life while enhancing it with greater functional strength, higher energy, and a sense of ease.
Athleta and Barre3 partnered up to allow fellow Houstonians to experience a live Barre3 class. Liz Fitzgerald, the Franchise Development Manager and Master Trainer Allison Beam came down and hosted/taught the classes this weekend, these two ladies were just so very nice and you could see their passion and love for the workout. Their excitement for upcoming session was contagious!!
Full disclosure, I have taken quite a few in studio Barre3 classes and the workout is phenomenal. This weekends class did not disappoint, yes I felt the burn and the shaking muscles. The workout is based on isometric holds, which work your muscles to their deepest point, the one inch moves increases your body temperature ( hello sweat!!) and the dynamic moves raises the heart rate.
If you are not able to experience a live class, (they have a few studios here in Texas), you can order the DVDs from their site or sign up for the online subscription classes. If you would still like to learn more, connect with them on Facebook .
What was your highlight from the weekend?
A Pilates routine is not complete without the Pilates Hundred. I like to include the ball in the sessions to keep the lower body still.
Lie on your back with legs in table top position keep your shins parallel and curl up keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Pump your arms inhale for 5 breaths and exhale for 5.
Keep your abs engaged and keep your eyes on your thighs.
Have a great week.
This weeks exercise is the Single Leg Hip Raise
Lie on the with your right knee bent raise your left leg up inline with the right knee arms open in T position. Engage your ab muscles, press into your right heel raise your hips up. At the top there should be straight line from your shoulder to your hip and thigh. Hold at the top for 2-3 seconds then lower back to the floor. Repeat. 3 Sets of 15-20 reps.
Our feet are our foundation and the Pilates Method can help us keep our feet strong and flexible. We tend to “forget” about our feet until they start to ache.
Just like the rest of our body we need to “exercise” our feet regularly. We have 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 ligaments, tendons and muscles in our feet so lets give our feet a workout. Go barefoot sometimes and feel the earth beneath your feet, wiggle and spread your toes to get the blood flowing trust me it’s a glorious feeling.
Did you know a lot of foot injuries are a result of a weak core? Having a weak core can cause you to compensate by changing your gait. As I have mentioned in a previous post the footwork series on the reformer as well as on the other pieces of Pilates equipment used in class, helps to mobilize and strengthen our feet and always in Pilates we are working our core.
If you are not able to take a Pilates class here are a few exercises for your feet that can be done anywhere and anytime.
1. While standing, lift your toes and spread them apart.
2. Curl and uncurl your toes.
3. Use your toes to pick up marbles.
4. Lift and lower your big toe only.
5. Lift and lower your baby toe only.
6. Glide your big toe away from the other toes and back again.
7. Repeat the above move but with the little toe only.
8. Stretch your toes with pedicure pads, this also helps to realign the bones of the feet.
Lets keep our feet healthy and happy.
I would like to introduce you to the Halo Trainer, it is a Physical Therapy approved device, great for Pilates sessions and overall fitness conditioning. But before I get into more details let me tell you about the creator of this amazing apparatus. The creator of the Halo Trainer is Bryce Taylor ( PT,MS) he is a practicing Physical Therapist with 15 years of Personal Training experience.
Here is a video to introduce you to the Halo Trainer:
The Halo Trainer adds a new dimension to your training routine. It incorporates strength work, flexibility training. injury prevention overall fitness conditioning. The Halo Trainer’s ergonomically made handle bars are safe and comfortable for the wrists. It is so versatile you can use it by itself with a a 65cm stability ball, BOSU or TRX trainer.
Using the Halo you will engage your core while strengthening your shoulders, hips and knees etc. There are 6 key ways to use the Halo Trainer in your sessions, here is a link to see how this is used.
In training there is no one size fits all, everyone’s body is different, the fitness levels are different and training needs are different and the Halo Trainer fits this perfectly. There are 4 levels of difficulty when using the trainer for the over 300 exercises in the repertoire. This enables you to progress or regress the exercises depending on your needs and or the clients needs.
If you are not familiar with this training system, hop over to their site and explore. I promise you will not be disappointed in adding the Halo Trainer to your current routine. I felt the work immediately, your core will be on fire.
Here are a few exercises using the Halo Trainer.
Standard Kneeling Pushup ( Level1)
Handles Up Tripod Mountain Climber (Level 2)
Handles Down Side Plank Leg Abduction (Level 3)
“Halo Training is an integrated approach to bodyweight training on variable surface stability to allow for progressive loading”. (Source)
Here is a video using the Halo Trainer with the TRX.
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