Pilates Training – Leg Pull Back/Supine

In a Pilates training program, you would always find yourselves working the whole body and this mat Pilates exercise really does that for us. I am going to talk about the “MAGIC 3″ (Steve Jobs often emphasize the 3 main points in his presentations) areas this Pilates Mat exercises encompass. Practise this mat Pilates exercise with these 3 things in mind and most likely you would be doing it better than ever.

1. The core stabilizing muscles

2. The Leg muscles

3. The upper back muscles

Pilates Training has to involve the Core

Most people associate Pilates Training with core training and is evident in the Leg Pull Back/Supine. Our deep abdominals (transverse abdominis), the obliques and rectus abdominis all helps to stabilize the front of the spine, while the back muscles like the erector spinae stabilizes the back of the spine. Together they form the core of the body. Hence when doing this piece, Pilates breathing is really important. Please go to Pilates Breathing to revise before you attempt this piece. In that breathing video, I mentioned how the breathing allows us to form a brace around our body (that acts like a girdle or corset around our waist). It is this technique that can help you involve the core yet moving the limbs with ease. Most people who can’t keep their back straight in this exercise probably did not breathe to help make this exercise easier.

and Pilates Training does not neglect our legs

In any Pilates training, I always like to tell my students that our body is like a building and our legs are the foundation. Those that you see being constructed during the piling period of a construction. When there is misalignment in the legs, there is a high chance of a misalignment in the rest of the upper body. In this Pilates mat exercise, there are 2 things happening at the same time. The leg on the floor recruits the hip extensor muscles such as our butt (gluteus maximus) and back of the thigh (hamstrings). The leg in the air allows us to work our hip flexors. When you do this piece, please press your feet into the Pilates mat to emphasize the use of the hip extensors. It will really help your body stay in a straight line.

A good pair of arms will help with your Pilates Training

Finally having a good pair of arms really is essential if you want to eventually go on to more advanced Pilates mat exercises. When I talk about arms, I always like to bring the focus to our back muscles, specifically those that helps with stabilizing our shoulder blades. Without that, our shoulders will be shrug up in this exercise. While you focus on pressing the foot onto the mat, keep your shoulder blades down and back. This is especially important in this exercise because we have a tendency to elevate our shoulder blades when our arms goes behind our bodies (shoulder extension). If you are familiar with muscles, you would want to think about your lower trapezius and latissimus dorsi to help you. I would say the more you do these, the lesser you would feel in your wrist.

This piece is always challenging but I believe you have what it takes to do it well. Review the 3 areas above for BEST results!

Enjoy this Pilates training video and give us your comments on what you experience!


Pilates Training – Swimming

I always feel Swimming is a really good activity that involves the upper and lower limbs. This means your whole body is involved in exercise, you get a good work out and you become evenly toned. With the buoyancy provided by the water, there is minimal stress on the knees unlike running. Anyone who does Pilates training knows of another kind of swimming and this is what you see in the Pilates video below. Many Pilates beginners who start doing the Pilates mat swimming always says it is hard to coordinate hands and legs such that they alternate.

Pilates training does not just mean your physical body

I think one aspect of Pilates Training less spoken about is the fact that you also work your mental and emotional body. That is why you often see the words Mind or Spirit other than Body used to describe Pilates. When I talk to avid Pilates practitioners, I realise these are usually people who have a greater awareness of their physical bodies, are focused, energetic and are open.

Mind your Pilates Training

When you practise the Swimming, you have to alternate the arms and legs which may be difficult for some and easy for others. The good news is if you concentrate and focus on doing it right, you will get it. It is just a matter of practice and time. Coordination can be trained. You just have to go slow at the beginning with the movement.

Can Pilates Training affect your Emotional State?

Yes I say. There are people who are tight in the front of their chest that were attributed to some form of emotional trauma or state and Pilates training that helps to open a person’s front can help to release that emotional tightness and bring about more openness and freedom. The Swimming is one exercise that can help with that and I think physical exercises have the power to affect the emotional state.

Enjoy your Pilates training video and give your comments!


Therapy for the body and sole

When I first learnt Pilates, the feet was something Pilates Master Teacher, Ron Fletcher, talked about and he emphasized a lot of it. He had this 7 standing and centreing cues which forms the foundation and fundamental tool for my teaching. With this understanding, I start all my Pilates classes standing and have been doing so for more than 7 years. Nobody really taught us how to stand when we were young. The very most I hear is “Stand Straight” and that was from my mum! I understood a lot more of this when I started learning the Fletcher Towelwork and the Leg and Footwork on the Pilates equipments.

I chose to bring your attention to the article below when I came across it because I also noticed there aren’t too many Pilates books that give much attention to talking about the feet. At the same time most books go too much in depth that many of you might not be interested to read further so such articles are good to get you started. I wanted us to take a moment today to give more awareness to our feet in our Pilates training and start exercising them!


Therapy for the body and sole

By | 06/08/10

The thought of running around barefoot in the grass may conjure memories of childhood play, but people are leaving their stuffy gyms and running shoes in the dust to take fitness back to its roots, to move the body the way it was designed. Believe it or not, those fancy shoes may actually be hindering your performance, and your health. With warm weather here, now is the time for you to get in on this innovative, fun and surprisingly beneficial way to work up a sweat.

training tip: Because of our history, in order to safely run barefoot we must undo years of bad habits. Since most Americans grow up wearing shoes and are used to running and walking striking heel first, barefoot running should be eased into by alternating shoe and barefoot runs, and starting out on soft surfaces like grass and sand.

Going au naturel
While running barefoot might seem like all fun and games, it has helped eliminate knee, foot and Achilles pain where running shoes cannot. Researchers have found that those who run in shoes land on the heel of their foot, causing an impact of up to two to three times the runner’s body weight. Multiply that impact with each step you take on a long run and it’s no wonder avid runners are often plagued by repetitive stress injuries. Those who run barefoot, however, tend to land on the ball of their foot, which generates almost no collision force at all. Because of this change in strike, people can run barefoot on some of the hardest surfaces and not feel any pain or discomfort while many shoe runners experience constant knee or foot pain.

Not a runner? You can still reap the benefits of barefoot fitness:
- – – – – – -
Standing poses that need to be held for an extended period of time (such as tree and dancer), are a great way to challenge your feet and gain overall health.

The reformer, or trapeze table, works your feet through their full range of motion against resistance. Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates exercise, recognized the importance of foot health and even developed two pieces of equipment just for your piggies—the Toe Tensometer and the Foot Corrector.

Targeted exercises
Build balance, strength and control with the following two exercises. No fancy equipment required… just you and a towel.

Sit with your legs out straight and loop a towel around the arches of both feet. Hold the towel in both hands, gently pulling it toward you and stretching the arches of the foot. Provide a little bit of resistance using the towel and slowly, steadily point your toes. Repeat.
2. Lay a towel flat on the floor and place your toes at the edge. Repeatedly scrunch your toes, pulling the towel towards you, until you reach the end of the towel. Smooth it back out and repeat.


Learning Pilates For Beginners

Pilates has become a very popular word and if you ask many people what Pilates is all about, a common answer would be “Its like Yoga”. Now that you know the word “Pilates”, it is time to understand it. To do that, here is the 3 most important steps.

1. READ about Pilates.

2. WATCH Pilates videos.

3. PRACTISE Pilates.

I’m committed to getting you to take these 3 steps in this website! This article is part of your 1st step. Enjoy the read!


Pilates is not new, in fact it’s been around for decades, but it’s become one of the fastest growing fitness programs and is popular across a wide populace. Athletes, movie stars, seniors, and everyone in between, have all learned the advantages that Pilates can bring to their workout and fitness routines.

Pilates workout involves the precise, controlled movement of muscles through a series of exercises designed to lengthen, strengthen and tone the body. These Pilates exercises target core muscles such as the abs, hip flexors and lower back, but the effects of Pilates are a whole body experience. Pilates not only shapes and tones the body, it brings balance and harmony as well.

Because of its ease of use and adaptability, Pilates is an ideal exercise method for many people. The Pilates method can easily be modified to suit individual needs and is ideal not only for fitness, but rehabilitating after an injury. There are many wonderful exercise videos and Pilates DVDs on the market, these can help the beginner get off to a solid start.

There are 6 basic Pilates principles:

Breathing – proper breathing is important in Pilates as in all exercise programs.

Centering – all Pilates movements are centered on your core muscles.

Concentration – every movement should be deliberate, focused and controlled.

Control – correct form and muscle control are essential to effective Pilates training.

Precision – with practice, every movement will become precise and controlled.

Flow – movements should flow smoothly from one exercise to the next without stopping.

Pilates puts much emphasis on core strength and flexibility. The results of Pilates can be profound, resulting in a body that is not only strong, but balanced and able to move freely. It can be a refreshing discovery for anyone who has not found success with other fitness methods.

Pilates for beginners is often helped by watching a Pilates DVD or Pilates video, it’s essential to learn the proper form, concentration and movement if you want to maximize your Pilates workout. To get started a Pilates mat and fitness DVDs will get you headed down the path to whole body fitness and toning.

Some of the Pilates techniques will require time to master; don’t expect to gain proficiency overnight. Take your time, concentrate on form and with experience you’ll gain mastery as well as a strong, lean body.

When looking for the most effective exercise program Pilates wins hands down. If you’re new to Pilates be sure to visit our Pilates for Beginners section to get you off to a solid start. You’ll soon be the envy of all your friends when the amazing results of Pilates is revealed in your new tight and toned body.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=D_Hofman

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I feel this article is helpful to people who do not know anything about Pilates. I would love to hear your feedback on this article, so please comment below to share your opinion and experiences.


Pilates by Ear

My Thoughts:

What type of a learner are you? Visual, Audio or Kinestatic?  I noticed a large majority of my students are visual learners and in my opinion, it is a learning style of many people here in Singapore. While we are comfortable with a certain type of learning style, I personally feel it is important to develop various learning styles. When we fall into the habit of seeing things from the same perspective, we develop a condition in psychology called “Schetoma, also known as a blind spot.

One of the things I do in my group classes is to not demonstrate for certain period of time and start teaching verbally so that my students can take their eyes off me, and start bringing more awareness and attention to their own bodies. It may be challenging to listen to a commentary of instructions, but in doing so we start to question “Do I feel right?” rather than “Do I look right?”. Also, there can be a greater level of flow in the class especially when my students become more independent in movement. So if you are someone who always had to ‘copy’ the exercise, start taking the audio route and feel more in your bodies and amazing things may just happen for you!


Those of us who have been to Pilates classes know that Pilates teachers tend to keep up a running commentary of instructions, cues, and images through the whole class. It can be unnerving until you get used to it. But once you get the hang of learning/participating that way, it can be quite liberating — for both instructor and student. Taking the fixation of watching an instructor out of the equation can help bring the attention back to ones own body and experience, which is where it belongs.

When I first started teaching Pilates mat classes, I would do every exercise with the students. I’d get them started, then I’d jump up to look around the room and offer cues, corrections and encouragement. It was too much. I’d be worn out after each class. Then what happens when you have another class and then a private? It can’t be done. Not only that, but being able to verbally articulate not just the choreography but the dynamics of an exercise — with basic instruction, physical cues, and imagery — creates and demonstrates a high level of integration with an exercise for an instructor. I have heard that Romana Kryzanowska, the renowned Pilates Elder, said that a good Pilates teacher teaches by words alone (read: Romana on Teaching Pilates).

As a student, it requires a certain kind of receptivity to take instructions and translate those into ones body almost simultaneously. It’s quite amazing how well that can work. In fact, bypassing the thinking/judging mind, going straight through ear to body, can be very helpful. But the point is not to go unconscious and follow along like a sleepy sheep either. Just the opposite. When the process is at its best, both instructor and student are very present and there is a flow of information and receptivity between them. That can only happen when both parties are alert and committed to awareness, one of our Pilates principles.

As one matures as a student, there is also the opportunity to take more responsibility for what one is working on and how. Then the teacher has stay receptive and be aware of when to instruct and when to let go. For many years I was one of those students who tried to take in and apply every single cue that flew into the room. Now I give myself a break and do what I can — and better yet, what actually applies to me! I also say less when I teach. Being quiet can make room for the innate body intelligence to kick in.

I started thinking about the merits of verbal instruction because I recently reviewed a new Pilates workout podcast, a Basic Pilates Mat Class by Lynda Lippin. I’ve reviewed other Pilates podcasts as well. They work surprisingly well and I think part of the reason is that we do have this highly developed verbal tradition in Pilates.

I’m not advocating for no visuals, far from it. I just want to acknowledge the amazing quality of instruction we get verbally in Pilates. Sometimes, you just need a great visual. If you are getting mostly verbal instruction and you are not getting the exercise, you need to see it, and see it done well – not out of the corner of your eye. If you are in a class, ask to have the exercise demonstrated either by the instructor or another student. You can also look up just about any Pilates mat exercise, and many others small equipment exercises. right here at Pilates.about.com. I’ll have a picture for you. And, there are many wonderful DVDs, books, online videos and so forth.

It has happened that I’ve gone years not quite getting inside an exercise and then had one photo or demonstration, seen at just the right moment, clarify the whole thing for me. Of course, my first response is: Well, why didn’t you say so?! Which is why my instructors lose their hair early.


Pilates Training Keys to Lose Weight

My thoughts:
I’m sure many people question if Pilates can help lose weight? There are differing views to this and when I chance upon the article below, I thought it is good to share this. In my personal opinion, losing weight is not just a physical issue. Losing weight starts first in the mind. There must first be the intention for losing weight and with it the COMMITMENT to do so. I’m sure you hear of your friends commenting how they have been trying to lose weight for years and still trying. The word “trying” sets you up for failure. Having passion to lose weight is not enough without the commitment. Passion is just like fire and commitment is just like wood. You need wood to keep the fire going!

Pilates teaches you a lot about commitment because each movement you execute (be it easy or difficult), it is with the intention to do it well and with grace and with your 100%. It helps you to connect your mind and body in a miraculous way that you may not notice. You start to become more in tune with your body and know exactly how you feel about your body each day. In the process, you become more precise about how you exercise and move and this helps you to burn your calories more efficiently. You will also start breathing well and have better spirits. Spirit is a powerful ingredient for weight loss. It is what keeps you taking actions consistently to lose weight and brings you closer to your result.

Although I do not think the article below is sufficient enough for you to think that Pilates can help to lose weight, I strongly believe if you include what I have written above into your weight loss program, Pilates can be a POWERFUL tool to help you lose weight!

A large percentage of the population around the world is complaining about their excessive weight. But thanks to television shows like that of Oprah, weight loss is no longer a mystery. If you want to achieve the best of health and be fit at all times, you can lose weight through Pilates Training.

Of course, no amount of training will prove effective if you don’t have self discipline. You need to keep track of the foods that you eat everyday and that includes the three major meals as well as the snacks you peck on all throughout the day; not only that, you should also watch all your fluid-intake. By taking the right amount of fluids everyday, you can help in the chemical reactions inside your body to keep them running smoothly. The last thing that you have to do to get the proper exercise and you can do that with Pilates.

The catalyst that brings together all your efforts is the exercise routine that you choose. By doing Pilates Training, you can help in improving your digestion, mood, energy levels, and weight loss. If you want a lean look, try to visit the site of Pilates on the internet. But like many other people, you may be hesitant if Pilates will work for you. With Pilates training, there are two essential keys that you need to remember.

Together with your training, you should also include cardiovascular exercises. Any form of resistance training can help you in shedding those extra pounds by burning off calories. However, you need to know that Pilates is not a rigorous cardiovascular workout. The exercise routine should be followed as per instruction. It is highly discouraged for individuals to do the routines in a rapid manner because this will not serve as your cardio exercise and it can harm you in some way. You will only end up hurting yourself by speeding up your exercise routines.

The movements followed in your training require focus and precision. Pilates offers trampoline routines that are already built in their machines. If you want, you can get DVDs of workout exercises to help you in your workout.

For your cardio exercises, you can do walking, cycling, swimming, play tennis, or jogging. If you dread the stationary gyms and treadmills, these cardio exercises are really interesting alternatives. By adding any or all of the cardio exercises in your training, you can definitely make a huge difference in terms of your goals in losing weight. Shedding poundage is just part of the whole equation but you also need to be sure that your progress is measured correctly.

The final key to succeed in losing weight through Pilates training is adopting an accurate weight loss measure. Progress is not only measured through pounds but also in inches. According to Pilates training, leaner look is achieved through proper muscle toning. It can help you in toning your abs, butt, thighs, and underarms. By losing weight, you can also gain toned muscles. By having toned muscles, calories are burned more efficiently so you can maintain your desired weight.

So if you want to lose weight effectively, remember the two important keys suggested by Pilates. By following the keys and then following your exercise routine properly, you can shed those unwanted pounds in no time. Just learn to be patient and control yourself. Practice self discipline at all times in order to maintain your desired weight.

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Can I Do Cross Training With Pilates?

Source: http://pilates.about.com/od/foodandweightloss/f/Cross-Training.htm

My Thoughts:
I think too many treat Pilates as an exercise on its own and do not integrate Pilates into what they were doing. Hence the benefits they see are always limited and treat it like any other exercise routines. What many do not realise is, Pilates does not just teach you how to copy an exercise, have a good workout and be done with it. In my opinion, Pilates is a concept that teaches you how to move better and makes sure you do move better (be it simple or complex movements), so that it improves your quality of life and in doing so give you freedom and fulfillment. You can have all the money and things you view as important in your life, but without a healthy body that moves well, you will not be able to enjoy them.

One of the biggest satisfaction that I personally have is that many of my students who took up Pilates, has integrated Pilates into their exercise routines also known as Cross Training. The results they have gotten were amazing and helped them improve what they were doing. This includes golfers, tennis players, dancers, yoga practitioners and others. I want more people to benefit in the ways these students of mine have and so I thought it is important you read this article about cross training. There is this saying “The bigger the WHY, the easier the HOW” and I firmly believe in it. If you know why you want to do Pilates, it will be much easier to know how to do it!

If you do Pilates and add other forms of exercise into your weekly routine, you are cross training. There are some good reasons to do this. Here are a few:
• Pilates exercises are oriented toward functional fitness, meaning that Pilates teaches you to move better in general, thereby enhancing performance and reducing risk of injury in other activities.
• Cross training that combines strength training with cardio is said to be the best way to get in tip top shape and is recommended by the American Council on Exercise.
• Cross training adds sustaining variety to a workout routine.

In the simplest of equations, Pilates is the moderate strength training aspect a cross training program. Pilates has so many more benefits, I hesitate to leave it at that. But for now, let’s look at Pilates as strength training and how that supports increased flexibility. Strength and flexibility are of special interest for cross trainers.

The Pilates Method is founded on core strength. Pilates mat and equipment exercises strengthen not just the outer muscles of the center of the body but also the deep inner stabilizing muscles of the pelvis, abdomen, and back — the core muscles. Core strength supports the back and neck, giving us healthy posture and freeing the joints to allow a natural flexibility of the limbs. This kind of strength and flexibility training translate well into all kinds cross training activities.

Pilates mat work is is a full-body workout and wonderful for developing core strength. However, if you are going to depend on Pilates exclusively for your strength training, you will probably want to add the resistance exercises done with large and small Pilates equipment. That will expand your options for developing strength in the limbs as well as the core.

Many people value the long, lean-look muscles that come from Pilates and are satisfied with the level of integrative, moderate strength training that Pilates provides. Pilates resistance training is enough to give you functional power, help build bone, and burn more calories because muscle is a calorie burner. If you want even more strength and muscle, you might consider mixing in more traditional weight training. Pilates will help you do weight training with better alignment, greater range of motion, and integrative focus.

Pilates cross trains well with anything. Pilates and yoga are a popular combination. But because of the extra health benefits of cardio training such as strengthening heart and lungs, stress reduction, and increased energy levels, you might want to think about cross training Pilates with some of the top cardio exercises like walking and running. Interval training is also becoming a popular cardio option. This would be especially true if you are interested in weight loss. Strength training combined with cardio and good dietary choices is the best formula for weight loss — though Pilates helps weight loss with or without cardio.


Pilates for Beginners – Single Leg Stretch

This Pilates video introduces you one of the Pilates mat exercises that can help you get flat abdominals. I think together with the next 4 abdominal exercises from the mat Pilates, you are going to get a really well-toned abdominals if you practise these 5 pilates mat exercises EVERYDAY!


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!