Don’t you ever get bored with Pilates?

The other day as I was finishing my workout a client came into the studio and asked if I ever get bored with my workout. This really got me to thinking about what Pilates is and how it can challenge. It really does bring the discussion to the Principles, but there is more to it than that.

Commitment & Concentration: Come to your session on time. I always start my session on time so I can get the full allotted time for my workout. I have an agenda and when I start late or stall during the session I will not get through the agenda. When clients come late for their session they are only cheating themselves. Unfortunately I have to see several clients a day in order for my business to succeed which means scheduling people back to back. I have to end on time to start on time. When a client comes late I cannot get through their agenda for the day.

Breathing: There is more value to breathing than just oxygenating the blood. Like just about anyone my mind will wander, when it does I come back to my breathing to quite my thoughts. I workout where I work; there are distractions, the phone, I hear an email come in, I think of something I need to address in scheduling… When these things come to my mind I just focus on breathing and let it pass. I have an allotted time to email and phone, whatever it is can wait. I also think of nearly every exercise as a breathing exercise and I construct the movement around the breath. All I have to do is breath and the exercise will follow. Focus on The Breath.

Precision: In order to be precise with the movement I need to be focused. Yes breathing creates focus, when focused I can be precise and from that comes the challenge. You get out of the exercise what you put into it. When the client comes back to their body and the exercise they can create quite a challenge. If they are not present they can just fluff over the move and get nothing out of it.

The other principles Control, Centering and Flow follow easily with this focus. With Flow I like to think of Pilates as a dance efficiently moving from one exercise to another.

Now to the question: Do I ever get bored? No, I commit to the exercise 100%. With the commitment I can challenge myself and as an athlete I enjoy being challenged. As I progress to advanced exercises I can further appreciate the basics. I come back to the basics often. I find them restorative. With the focus on Concentration and Breath I find the basics challenging and the advanced exercises become a breeze.

Incidentally this focus can be brought to other areas – for me: Cycling and back to my business.

 

 

Posted in Pilates, Pilates Breathing, Pilates in Recovery, Pilates Principles, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Fundamental Exercises

The Fundamental Exercises are a great way to lightly warm up the body for the day as well as conditioning for people in pain or uncomfortable. A daily exercise routine need not take a lot of time and can be as simple as doing 5 – 8 exercises each morning:

The fundamental program I recommend for everyone includes

Knee Slides
Bridging
Knee Folds / Knee Changes
Knees Side to Side
Chest Lifts
Chest Lifts with Rotation
Side Leg Lifts
Back Extension
Childs Pose

These exercises are simple, but they can also be varied to accommodate your needs. Lets do a break down

Heel Slides:
Lie on your back with both knees bent, otherwise relaxed. Straighten one leg along the floor. Pull back on your foot as much as you can (Dorsi Flexion). Now drag your heel along the floor bringing the knee as deep into flexion as you can, then press the heel out getting the leg as straight as you can along the floor. I like to use the image of digging a trench with your heel. Repeat 5 times then do the other leg. The whole time check in with your pelvis that it is staying absolutely still, this requires stabilizing with the abdominals.
The focus here is to drag the heel in with your hamstrings (back of the leg) and use the same muscle to push it back out. When the leg is extended you should feel the quad (front of the leg) fire.

Bridging:
Lie on your back in the Hook Lying Position. Knees bent, hip width apart – feet flat on the floor also hip width. Establish neutral pelvis and engage core: There are a number of cues to engage core, I like to think of Kathleen Stanford Grants Song. Now you can either push into the feel to lift your hips or you can tuck the pelvis and articulate your spine off the floor, hold 5 seconds then roll back down. The focus is your core, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs and the core muscles of the spine. This is a big help for those that are experiencing back pain.

Knee Folds:
Start in Hook Lying Position: Exhale and lift one leg off the floor, inhale lower it back down – Repeat 5 times then switch to other leg
Alternating Knee Folds or Marches: Exhale lift one leg, inhale with no movement and on the exhale change legs – Repeat 5 times.

Knees Side to Side
Hold the knees over the hips in a table top position. On an inhale let the legs rotate from the waist to one side, use the exhale to draw the legs back to center. Alternate side to side – Repeat 5 times

Chest Lifts
Interlace the fingers behind the head: with an exhale lengthen through the crown of the head and focus on using the abs to float the chest up. Careful to maintain your posture as you lengthen the head to keep the focus on lifting with the abs and not using the neck. Repeat 5 times

Chest Lifts with Rotation
Stay lifted on the last Chest Lift. Now as you inhale visualize the air going into one lung lifting that side and generating a rotation to the other side. Exhale as you draw the abs to the center and repeat to the other side. An inhalation facilitates a rotation – you should twist better. Repeat 5 times to each side.

Side Leg Lifts: Follow Link for a video——> Leg Lifts and Leg Changes
Lie on your side maintaining neutral posture. On an exhale engage core and lengthen and lift both legs from the floor – the work is your abdominals top side. – Repeat 5 times, then roll over and do the other side.

Back Extension
Lying on your belly hands by your side, on an inhale slide the shoulders down the back and lift your shoulders, neck and head from the floor, exhale as you come back down. REpeat 5 times.

Childs pose: Finish with a rest.

Some of these exercises you may need instruction from a teacher, but once you have the basics you should have no problem performing the exercises on your own. Once you are down with it you should get through the routine in about 12 to 15 minutes. A small price to have a healthy back and strong core.

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Pilates Mat Class today at Noon with Larry

matclass

Drop in’s available.

Let’s get that core working!!!!

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Reformer Class: Today, Monday at 11:00

Drop in space available

Hope to see you there

Balanced-body---Allegro-2-Reformer-photo_400x228

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How about trying a Pilates Class this week

matclassTuesday 9/30          Noon: Mat Class with Larry

Wednesday 10/1    7:00AM:  Reformer Class with Larry

Thursday 10/2        Noon: Mat Class with Larry

Friday 10/3              11:00AM: Reformer Class with Larry

Please email to confirm: Larry@TheCenterStudio.com

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Continued Pilates in Recovery from a Fractured Acetabulum

In continuing with my Pilates in recovery from my fractured acetabulum I am coming to realize some interesting patterns which have developed in my body. I have been using Pilates and Pilates based exercises to correct these imbalances with success reinforcing the need to whole body workouts when rehabbing from an injury.

For those who have followed my story there is the obvious issues Weak left leg Adductors Weak Left foot Weak Left Gluteals. As I have gotten stronger and continued to focus on my body as a whole I have also noticed the following weaknesses Right Internal Obliques Left External Obliques

My imbalance includes
1. Left Leg Adductors:
2. Left Gluteals
3. Left Foot
4. Right Internal Obliques
5. Left External Obliques

I have been doing the following exercises to work on these imbalances on a daily basis. As my muscles are still quite weak I have been accomplishing the exercises in some cases with limited success, but sticking with it and working the muscle groups together I seem to be moving forward.

1. I have continued with the straight leg lifts with an emphasis on rolling further onto my side while doing the Adduction (Inner Thigh).

2. Side laying Clam Shells for external rotation

For Abdominals:
3. Chest Lift

4. Chest Lift w/ rotation

5. Short Box Series on the Reformer
Round Back
Flat Back
w/ Rotation
Climb-A-Tree
I was surprised at what a challenge Climb-A-Tree is for me. Without the firing of the Right Internal Obliques and the weakness of the left Psoas I have a heck of a time come up from extension. To modify the exercise I have been doing Climb-A-Tree on a long box and as my strength has increased have been able to switch to the short box. My most important focus right now is to get harmony back into my movements. I believe in doing equal number of reps for each side.

6. Forward Lunge / Up The Front on the Wunda Chair

7. Side Lying Leg Lifts: this exercise focuses on the Internal Obliques.

I build the rest of my Pilates session around these exercises so I get some good upper body work as well as maintenance on my stronger muscles.

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Pilates Training in Recovery from a Fractured Pelvis

In December I experienced an injury to my pelvis and had a resulting surgery. You can read about my injury and recovery here: LarryRacesBikes

Recently I have been able to add Some pilates into my routine and wish to share my exercises, experience and frustration here.

As a result of my injury and the subsequent surgery my Psoas (Hip Flexor) was shot as were my Adductors (inner thigh) of my left leg. While laying flat on my back I could not lift my left foot from the floor and if I was not careful my left leg would fall toward the floor as I did not have the strength to hold it in.

3 months after my surgery I was given permission to start weight bearing exercises – so this is also the first chance I have to get back on the Pilates equipment. Until this time my exercises were all Open Chain exercises (where the foot is not planted) and I had to be careful of the hip socket, not to do anything that could affect the healing of the acetabulum. Until now exercises included:

  • Bridging
  • Leg Lifts / Leg Changes
  • Straight Leg Lifts
  • Side Lying Clam Shells
  • Leg lifts while laying on the belly
  • Single Leg Kicks
  • Standing Straight Leg Lifts
  • Standing Side Leg Lifts
  • Standing Legs to the back

With weight bearing I can go Closed Chain – where I can anchor my leg into the floor, or in the case of Pilates, on the foot rest and eventually with the feet in the strapsdd. I don’t know why I am surprised about the discrepancy in leg strength between my left and right leg but it is huge. It feels good to do foot work again but my leg and foot become extremely fatigued very quickly.

Ab work needs to be taken from a sitting position – Short Box – as I still don’t have the strength to hold my legs together while laying supine. I want to get some hip work in but don’t have the strength to work with legs in straps — so I place the straps around my knees for a shorter lever. I am still limited to what I can do.

Today my exercises include:

  • FootWork
  • Short Box Abdominals
  • 100’s (very recently added as I have increased inner thigh strength), until this time I have been doing the 100’s with the feet flat on the floor.
  • Hip Work with straps above the knee
    Modified Openings
    Modified Cirles
    Hip Extension
  • High Bridges
  • Stretches
  • Seated Arm Work for Upper body
  • Standing Leg Press at the Wunda Chair for strength and balance
  • Step Barrel – Side abdominals
  • Mermaid
  • Back extension exercises

I am hoping that others who integrate Pilates into rehabilitation can get something from this. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding your own training or work with your clients. Having had this injury does give me a better understanding of the process of regaining strength after a major trauma, but also an appreciation that one can heal with persistence and patience.

Posted in Pilates after Acetabular Rebuild, Pilates in Recovery, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Foundation Exercises for Athletes

I was talking with a friend the other day who is an elite athlete – yes if you think I am talking about YOU, I am. It got me thinking that aren’t we all elite athletes? If we are out there jogging on a regular basis, riding out bikes whether it be a Charity Ride or a Race, swimming any type of distance; we are elite athletes. As such our body needs maintenance.

My friend was telling me about back pain which seems to me is becoming chronic and I realize that it is just too important to do Foundation or Grounding exercises to maintain a happy and healthy body as well as a prevention for injuries. The natural return argument is “I don’t have the time” but if you take the time you will perform that much better. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people not getting out of the saddle for a sprint in a crit because their back hurts or their leg is about to seize. I have seen bike riders get off their bikes during a race just to make themselves comfortable.

A daily exercise routine need not take a lot of time and can be as simple as adding 5 or 8 exercises each morning:

Heel Slides
Bridging
Knee Folds
Knees Side to Side
Chest Lifts
Chest Lifts with Rotation
Side Leg Lifts
Back Extension

These exercises are simple, but they can also be varied to accommodate your needs. Lets do a break down

Heel Slides:
Lie on your back with both knees bent, otherwise relaxed. Straighten one leg along the floor. Pull back on your foot as much as you can (Dorsi Flexion). Now drag your heel along the floor bringing the knee as deep into flexion as you can, then press the heel out getting the leg as straight as you can along the floor. I like to use the image of digging a trench with your heel. Repeat 5 times then do the other leg. The whole time check in with your pelvis that it is staying absolutely still, this requires stabilizing with the abdominals.
The focus here is to drag the heel in with your hamstrings (back of the leg) and use the same muscle to push it back out. When the leg is extended you should feel the quad (front of the leg) fire.

Bridging:
Lie on your back in the Hook Lying Position. Knees bent, hip width apart – feet flat on the floor also hip width. Establish neutral pelvis and engage core: There are a number of cues to engage core, I like to think of Kathleen Stanford Grants Song. Now you can either push into the feel to lift your hips or you can tuck the pelvis and articulate your spine off the floor, hold 5 seconds then roll back down. The focus is your core, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs and the core muscles of the spine. This is a big help for those that are experiencing back pain.

Knee Folds:
Start in Hook Lying Position: Exhale and lift one leg off the floor, inhale lower it back down – Repeat 5 times then switch to other leg
Alternating Knee Folds or Marches: Exhale lift one leg, inhale with no movement and on the exhale change legs – Repeat 5 times.

Knees Side to Side
Hold the knees over the hips in a table top position. On an inhale let the legs rotate from the waist to one side, use the exhale to draw the legs back to center. Alternate side to side – Repeat 5 times

Chest Lifts
Interlace the fingers behind the head: with an exhale lengthen through the crown of the head and focus on using the abs to float the chest up. Careful to maintain your posture as you lengthen the head to keep the focus on lifting with the abs and not using the neck. Repeat 5 times

Chest Lifts with Rotation
Stay lifted on the last Chest Lift. Now as you inhale visualize the air going into one lung lifting that side and generating a rotation to the other side. Exhale as you draw the abs to the center and repeat to the other side. An inhalation facilitates a rotation – you should twist better. Repeat 5 times to each side.

Side Leg Lifts: Follow Link for a video——> Leg Lifts and Leg Changes
Lie on your side maintaining neutral posture. On an exhale engage core and lengthen and lift both legs from the floor – the work is your abdominals top side. – Repeat 5 times, then roll over and do the other side.

Back Extension
Lying on your belly hands by your side, on an inhale slide the shoulders down the back and lift your shoulders, neck and head from the floor, exhale as you come back down. REpeat 5 times.

Childs pose: Finish with a rest.

Some of these exercises you may need instruction from a teacher, but once you have the basics you should have no problem performing the exercises on your own. Once you are down with it you should get through the routine in about 12 to 15 minutes. A small price to have a healthy back and strong core. Please realize that this is designed as a warm up before Cycling, Running, Swimming or whatever.

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Classes with Larry This Week

Tuesday     Noon      Mat Class

Thursday   Noon     Mat Class

Wednesday / Friday 7:00AM Reformer Classes currently full, but starting a wait list.

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Join us for some Pilates Group Fun

Tuesday at Noon – Pilates Mat Class with Larry – Hope to see you there!

Still Space in the Reformer Class Wednesday 7:00AM also with Larry

Our Full Group Schedule: http://www.thecenterstudio.com/schedule/

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