Pilates Movements Explained Part 2

Part 2

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilates for Cyclists Part 2

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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:

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Feet in Straps Circles:

Side Lying Push Away: Strengthens the outer thighs
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Chest Expansion: Opens the Chest

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Supine Arms: Builds Strength in the Upper Body

Long Box Pulling Straps: Strengthens back.

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

Superman: Back Strengthener

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Standing Splits: Strengthens Inner and Outer Thighs

Pike and Reverse Pike: Strengthens Upper Body and Abdominals.

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Reverse Pike/Tendo Stretch

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

As always don’t forget to stretch.

 

Hip Modifications in Pilates

 

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Here are a few modifications that I have used on myself as well as my clients when the hips pop, for example when doing single leg circles in Pilates.

Important point, if your hip hurts then before doing any modifications see your doctor before hand , these modifications are only if the hips are pain free. 

  1. Definitely make your circles smaller.
  2. Sometimes changing the position of your pelvis will eliminate the popping the sound.
  3. Adjust  or change your leg alignment.

Hope this helps.

A Healthy Spine

 

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.

Flexion

Chest Lift, Hundred and The Roll Up.

Pilates Hundred

Pilates Hundred

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rotation

Side Bend Twist, Spine Twist, Criss Cross

Spine Twist

Spine Twist

 

 

 

 

*important to note the rotation comes from the spine not the shoulders or neck*

 

 

Lateral Flexion

Mermaid, Side Bend.

Side Bend

Side Bend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extension

Swan, Swimming, Leg Pull Up, Shoulder Bridge.

Leg Pull Up

Leg Pull Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post. Feel free to share.

 

Tried and True

In Pilates one exercise builds off another. Its important to “build” from the foundation/basics. Once the foundation has been established, you gradually move on to more complex moves.

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However, reviewing and reminding ourselves of these foundational principles/movements from time to time is highly beneficial, not only for students but also instructors. I often revisit these in my own practice.  Never stop learning and improving.  The method is tried and true.

 

 

 

 

A Little History

Happy September!!!

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:

Origins of Pilates

Have a great week friends.

The Pilates Roll Up

 

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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.

 

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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.

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.

 

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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.