Be Patient

Joseph Pilates had many words of wisdom regarding his method, but the ones I will be focusing on  are these two:

” In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see

the difference, and in 30 you will have a brand new body.”

“Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worth while endeavor”.

Just like any other exercise program you have to commit  to the exercise method in order to see the many benefits.

Both  statements above stress consistency and patience. Give your body the  time and grace it needs to become the best it can be. Don’t expect changes overnight, or resort to quick fixes.

Be patient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reformer Planks

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.

 

Pilates Movements Explained Part 2

Part 2

img_2910

 

A continuation from last weeks movements explained.

Bridge

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.

Table Top

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.

img_3206

Pilates Movements Explained

Part 1

 

Below are two specific movements that are taught and many times mentioned in Pilates classes.

C Curve

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.

img_3208

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance Position

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.

img_3212

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the next few weeks I will explain a few more of these Pilates movements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilates for Cyclists Part 2

cyclists

 

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.

Footwork

Stomach Massage Flat:

img_3140

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3141

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feet in Straps Circles:

Side Lying Push Away: Strengthens the outer thighs
img_3162

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3163

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chest Expansion: Opens the Chest

img_3167

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3169

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supine Arms: Builds Strength in the Upper Body

Long Box Pulling Straps: Strengthens back.

img_3183

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3185

 

 

 

 

 

 

Articulated Bridge and  Push Away: Strengthens the Hamstrings and Low Back.

Superman: Back Strengthener

img_3180

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Splits: Strengthens Inner and Outer Thighs

Pike and Reverse Pike: Strengthens Upper Body and Abdominals.

P1020534

 

 

 

 

 

Reverse Pike/Tendo Stretch

P1020532

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many more exercises in the Pilates  repertoire as mentioned above these are just a few.

As always don’t forget to stretch.

 

Pilates for Cyclists

cyclists

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

Pelvic Curl:

Great for spinal articulation and strengthens the low back.

IMG_1985

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spine Twist: 

Increases spinal rotation and strengthens the core. Great stretch for back .

Spine Twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leg Pull Down:

Stretches the Achilles Tendon, strengthens the core, the scapular and lumbopelvic stabilizers, hip flexors, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.

IMG_2989

 

 

 

 

 

Shoulder Bridge:

Works the powerhouse and hamstrings, back extensors and glutes.

IMG_1989

IMG_1990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thigh Stretch:

Stretches and strengthens the quadriceps, increases torso stabilization, and strengthens the back.

IMG_3028

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kneeling Side Kicks:

Strengthens the abductors hip flexors, shoulders, lats. Great for hamstring flexibility and stabilizes pelvis.

IMG_3019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming:

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.

IMG_1992

IMG_1993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single Leg Kick:

Strengthens the hamstrings,back extensors and glutes. Stretches the quads and improves the stability of the shoulders.

Pilates_Pictures_004

 

 

 

 

Pilates_Pictures_005

 

 

 

 

Pilates Pushups:

Strengthens the entire body and improves upper body strength.

IMG_1994

 

 

 

 

 

Side Leg Bicycle:

Strengthens  the hips and glutes and improves the stability  of the pelvis and torso.

Pilates_Pictures_015

 

 

 

 

 

Pilates_Pictures_011

 

 

 

 

 

Pilates_Pictures_014

 

 

 

 

 

Pilates_Pictures_016

 

 

 

 

Seal:

Great for balance and coordination. Fantastic massage for the spine and just plain fun.

IMG_1996IMG_2001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Highlight: Athleta and Barre3

Liz and Allison and Jodie

Hi guys,

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.

Barre3

Barre3

 

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!!

 

Franchise Development Manager and Master Trainer

Franchise Development Manager and Master Trainer

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.  

Forward fold stretch

Forward fold stretch

 

Twist

Twist

 

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?

Weekly Challenge

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.

 

pilateshundred with ball

Pilates Hundred with a ball

 

Source

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.

 

Weekly Challenge

This weeks exercise is the Single Leg Hip Raise

 

 

 Targets the glutes, core, low back ,hamstrings and lumbo pelvic stabilization.

Targets the glutes, core, low back ,hamstrings and lumbo pelvic stabilization.

Source 

 

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.