Pilates for Beginners – Rolling like a ball

This Pilates mat exercises helps to massage your spine and is a fun piece to include in your Pilates workout. It is also a popular piece amongst people when they go to a pilates class in a pilates studio. I personally like it because my students never fail to laugh when they do this piece! Have fun rolling!

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Pilates for Beginners – Single Leg Circles

I’m sure you must have been waiting for this next Pilates Mat exercise the last few days. This mat exercise is a good addition to your Pilates work out at home as it is different from the 1st two which we introduced. Practice this piece for core stability and hip mobility.

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Mat Pilates – The classical version

This is the perfect time to see this video because we are showing our very own mat Pilates video at this time for our Pilates beginners! The classical mat Pilates being performed from start to finish. What I love about this video is the flow and continuous movement you see from that guy. I think the in-between of each pilates mat exercises is just as important as the mat exercises itself. Enjoy the video!

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Pilates for Beginners – Roll Up

Here is our 2nd Pilates Mat exercise and I really like this one. I think it is such a basic exercise because this is how we should get out of bed in the morning and onto bed at night! So practise it twice a day like this for a flexible spine and strong abdominals!

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Pilates Myths

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Pilates-Myths-Debunked&id=464418

My Thoughts:

I love this article because it clarifies the many myths people have about Pilates! Anyone who reads this article will get a much clearer picture of why you want to practise Pilates. As I hear this saying often: The bigger the WHY, the easier the HOW. Hence I believe if my students understand why they have to do Pilates, they will eventually be able to get it much easier!

Article:

Few people know the truth about Pilates. They don’t know it began as a rehabilitation program for injured soldiers during World War I. They don’t know Joseph Pilates was a boxer. They don’t realize that strengthening the “core” muscle group can improve their golf swing. The truth is that Pilates allows golfers to hit the ball farther and straighter by increasing core strength, flexibility, stability, balance, posture, alignment and coordination. Unfortunately, many athletes dismiss Pilates as a recent fad, a fancy stretching routine, or “something for ballet dancers.”

Myth: Pilates was developed for dancers.

Joseph Pilates was a boxer and gymnast. His theories about how the body moves were first developed in World War One at a prisoner of war camp where he served as a medic. He began putting his theories into practice by attaching springs to the hospital beds to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers. Today, Pilates equipment still uses springs for resistance. When Joseph moved to New York City, dancers were naturally drawn to his rehabilitative and preventative techniques due to the high number of injuries they sustain.

Myth: Pilates is a recent fad

Joseph Pilates first developed his philosophy and technique for movement in the 1920′s and 1930′s, refining his method until his death in 1967. It was not until the 1990′s that Pilates grew in popularity. Hollywood stars and celebrities discovered that the exercises resulted in the coveted long, lean shape and their enthusiasm launched Pilates into the national spotlight.

Myth: Pilates is a fancy word for stretching

Pilates is so much more than just stretching. The exercises develop overall body strength and flexibility simultaneously, which results in the long lean muscles of a Tiger Woods. Flexibility was a pretty radical idea in the early 20th century! But Pilates saw that long, lean muscles were less prone to injury and tears. Tight muscles also pull on the spinal structure causing neck and back pain. Joseph Pilates believed in efficiency. Pilates techniques build strength and flexibility simultaneously. For each strengthening movement, there is a corresponding stretch. These aren’t your typical stretches either. The movements that Pilates developed incorporate flowing, dynamic stretches. Most people new to Pilates don’t even realize how much they are stretching until they start to see (and feel) the results of increased mobility.

Myth: Pilates is just like every other ab workout.

The Pilates techniques build a strong core, especially the deepest abdominal muscles under the “6-pack abs that are used for stabilization.” Joseph Pilates believed that every movement we do is generated first from the core or abdominal muscles. So when new students ask, “How many core exercises are there?” the answer is, “All of them”. Crunches and sit ups develop the large outer muscles such as the Rectus abdominis that gives you the “six pack abs” look. Pilates goes deeper to work not only the surface muscles, but the deeper abdominal muscles as well. These deep muscles, such as the Transverse Abdominus, allow us to stand upright. They give stability to the spine and pelvic girdle – an essential element in hitting a golf ball straighter. Many exercises do not isolate the abdominals effectively. Athletes using their quads to get through their crunch sets will be in for a surprise with Pilates. When the Pilates equipment isolates the abs from the quads, many people are shocked to find they cannot get up!

Myth: Pilates is a group of special exercises.

Pilates is not a hodge-podge of exercises. Even specific exercises that Joseph invented, such as The Hundreds, are not Pilates if his techniques are not used. Pilates is a technique for efficient, natural and pain-free movement. Golf-specific Pilates exercises are possible because they utilize the Pilates method. It is even possible to train hard-core gym rats to lift weights (if they must!) utilizing the Pilates technique to achieve better, safer results. Pilates affects the way you move in life and on the golf course. It affects the way you walk the course, the way you swing, and the way you putt. It even applies when you sit to watch the Golf Channel or surf the web for the latest golf gadget. With practice, the body will eventually naturally move in the Pilates technique without the practitioner even thinking about it. My husband and I often hike in the Rockies and he will ask how I can keep my abs engaged for miles with elevation gain. The answer is that I don’t even think about it. It is how I always walk!

Myth: Pilates needs special equipment.

The Pilates equipment is great since it offers built-in resistance. However, you can achieve the same benefits using a ball, foam roller, Theraband and Magic Circle. There is even a new Hole in One Pilates exercise chair that fits in the same space as an easy chair.

Myth: Pilates is not really “working out”.

USA Today August 18, 2003

Schilling, the Arizona Diamondbacks star pitcher, agrees. “The first three weeks, I was really disappointed,” says Schilling, who incorporated Pilates into his off-season training program last winter. “I wasn’t sweating. I wasn’t winded, which is what I associate with true exercise. “Then in the fourth week I started to understand the Pilates terminology, the idea of working from your center. By the third month I was more powerful and flexible than ever before. And I’d lost 15 pounds.” Curt’s experience illustrates several facts. First, in Pilates we must re-learn how to move. The beginner exercises are easy because you are laying the foundation for more difficult work. Second, Pilates does not work the muscles to exhaustion. This means you can practice Pilates every day. Pilates focuses on precise, controlled, perfect movements rather than endless, exhausting mind-numbing exercises. Third, in Pilates we work the very deep muscles and work to the surface groups. So you may not feel something. At first. But as Curt explained, the results over time are significant.

Myth: Pilates is “something like yoga”.

Joseph Pilates was influenced by yoga, as well as other movement styles such as martial arts, Tai Chi, boxing, and calisthenics. Like yoga, Pilates develops strength and flexibility. Pilates differs from yoga in many ways. In many types of yoga one “holds a pose”. In Pilates you do not usually hold a position, but rather move through it. Traditionally, Yoga does not emphasize core strengthening to the degree Pilates either. Some contemporary Yoga classes do place more emphasis on the core, possibly as a result of Pilates influence. Pilates does not come from a spiritual tradition. Many people find it is great stress relief, because Pilates requires thoughtful motion rather than mindless repetition. One of Joseph’s concepts is to execute every motion with focus and intent, something you often hear about hitting a golf ball!

Myth: Pilates is hard for men.

Anything new may be difficult for a body when we start working in a different way. Guys will say, “I can’t do Pilates because I’m not flexible!” Beginner Pilates work allows you to become more flexible. I get a lot of good comments about our DVD because next to the Gumby-like Pilates instructor is a real golfer. As one client put it, “Your DVD has guys that look like me!”

Truth: Pilates will help my golf game

Any Pilates will help improve your golf game. Hole in One Pilates, developed with Butch Harmon, even includes specific exercises to increase rotation and target tightness caused by the swing. As Joseph Pilates used to say, “In ten sessions you will feel the difference, in twenty sessions you will see the difference, and in thirty sessions you will have a whole new body!”

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Rest and Relaxation are Essential to Recovery

Source: http://www.readbreathe.com/rest-and-relaxation-are-essential-to-recovery/comment-page-1/#comment-6033

My thoughts:

This article really took the exact words out of my mouth. I have always wanted to tell some of my Pilates clients who exercise practically everyday to consider the concept of rest. People who do not rest always come to a point where they feel stagnant and loss of form. This is when exercising more cause them to regress. Most of the time we think MORE is good. While that can be true for a lot of people, for some LESS is MORE. So if you are someone who is constantly working, consider taking a break for even greater results.

Article:

There lies a delicate balance between working out and resting. It’s a line that we routinely dance on, forgetting the importance of a day off.

If your goal is weight loss, you must remember that your body needs enough calories to function or it will go into starvation mode, which completely halts progress. Vigorous exercise every day coupled with extreme dieting void of wiggle room will likely cause more damage to your goals than not.

If your goal is strength or muscle mass, it’s equally (if not more) important to take a day off. Your muscles grow during periods of rest, it’s simple science and you have to allow yourself that crucial time for recovery. If you fail to do so, and continue to over exert yourself, at the very least you will see a lack of progress but at the worst, you could cause some serious injuries.

If you truly love working out every day then by all means do it! It can typically be accomplished safely by strategic planning. Alternate each day of the week with exercises that work a different muscle group. This will give your muscle fibers time to recover physically and simultaneously feeds your desire to keep up the momentum.

Your mental health is a worthy concern when contemplating days off. Placing too much pressure on yourself to see results and see them fast may be emotionally damaging and at that point, what good is it to reach all of your goals if your unhappy doing it?

Do it for your sanity, to let it all go and relax for a day. Do it for the sake of your goal, let those muscles grow during periods of relaxation. It doesn’t really matter what reason you pin on it, just get to it and do it regularly. A little rest and relaxation goes a long way and recovery is essential to the progress of your fitness goals.

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Joseph Pilates Reformer

This video gives you an idea of what Pilates Reformer Exercises look like. As you watch the video, you will realise how different this is to Yoga. Inspiring people to move is what I believe in and I’m sure this video does just that! Have fun watching.

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Cesarean Section: Helping Women Heal

Source: http://www.pilates-pro.com/

I personally think its important to empower women with the information on the importance of postpartum rehabilitation in the area of fitness. This is especially as most women are rarely given any instruction on rehab exercises and tips for postpartum recovery.  Even if they are, they are generally given vague instructions from their doctors and midwives to “take it easy” for six weeks when in fact, women should be doing gentle core stability exercises as soon as possible. I looked at this article from a reliable source and found the exercises useful.

Below are examples of excellent postpartum abdominal exercises:

Seated Transverse Abdominal Exercises:

—Seated with body weight centered over pelvis, shoulders back, place hands over belly

  • 30 Second Hold: Begin with a diaphragmatic/belly breath, then exhale and contract abdominals by drawing the belly button all the way to the spine.  Imagine you are touching the spine with the belly button.  Hold it here counting out loud for 30 counts.  Recommended: 5 sets per day.
  • Repeating Transverse: Same position as above.  This exercise is a pulsed contraction.  Begin exercise with a diaphragmatic/belly breath, then exhale and draw abdominals to the spine. This is the starting position. Hold this contraction for a count, and then release the muscles half way out.  Repeat this back and forth motion. Count out loud for 50 repetitions.  Recommended: 2 sets of 50 reps per day.

****These exercises may also be performed on hands & knees.

Supine Abdominal Exercise

  • Pelvic Tilts: Lying on back, knees bent, small space under lower back (neutral spine).  Begin with a diaphragmatic/belly breath and exhale while drawing the belly button to the spine. Next, engage the lower rectus and obliques and visualize the distance from the pubic bone to belly button shortening and the belly hollowing.  The pelvis will gently rock back towards the floor (posterior tilt).  The abdominals will be scooping backwards. Recommended: 1 set of 10 reps per day

***Can also be performed on hands & knees

Kegels (Pelvic floor contractions)

Imagine you are pulling your pubic bone toward your tailbone shortening the distance between the two bones. Imagine you are drawing your ischial tuberosities and your pubic bone together. Remember to relax the pelvic floor completely after the exercise!

Build up to 10 second contractions, 5-10 reps daily

Quick flicks—squeeze and release quickly, 10 reps daily

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