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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Where to Begin?

With the start of a brand new year just around the corner, I have had many people ask if classes will start to pick up with clients making New Years resolutions. Thankfully, I have a wonderful group of dedicated clients that understand the importance of taking class on a regular basis year round. To them, Pilates has become a way of life....not just an exercise fad. If you are planning on starting up with a Pilates program here are a few things to keep in mind.

If you are new to Pilates the best place to start is with private sessions. One on one time is crucial to learning all the different elements in the Pilates method and being able to maintain proper form is important when first learning the exercises. This can also give you an opportunity to ask questions and your trainer can also help you construct a weekly program that will suit your goals and needs.

Pilates is most effective when done 2-3 times a week. Make sure that you vary your workouts with a variety of different classes. Take a mat class, an equipment class and/or a private session. There are over 500 exercises in the method and mixing up the routine will help keep the body challenged. When you stick to just one class like an equipment classes or mat class you tend loose a ton of other exercises that are crucial to the method.

If you can't make it to class for some reason have a few videos on hand and do your workout at home. One of my favorite video series is from "The Method". Precision Toning, Target Specifics and The Lotte Burke Method are on the top of my list for great videos.

Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Have any questions or topics that you'd like addressed in the blog? Feel free to email questions to

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Video of the Week - Scissors

Video of the Week - Spine Stretch

Monday, August 20, 2007

Having problems with the pre-rollup?

Many new students experience problems with the pre-rollup when they first start taking Pilates classes. This is especially common in people that have back problems, weak abs or tightness in certain muscles. Here are some helpful hints to mastering the pre-rollup.

When the knees are in a bent position it is easier to rollup if your heels are further away from the hips. Move the heels closer to create and extra challenge.

Make sure to always exhale at the point control where you get stuck. Make sure to never hold your breath. The exhale helps to contract muscles that help to bring you to seated.

Gently assist yourself by grabbing behind the legs and guiding yourself up to a seated using a little arm strength (while still contracting those ab muscles).

Try weights in the hands. Usually 3lbs. is just right.

Make sure you always have a tennis ball distance from chin to chest. Look to where you want to go. Look down and stay down. Look up...come up.

Try anchoring the feet underneath the couch. This takes the focus off the feet popping up.

Make sure that the pelvis is gently flattening into the mat from the start so the pelvic floor is fulling engaged. Think of pressing every vertebrae into the mat.

Always use controlled movements all the time. Throwing the arms and kicking to get up to seated position are just cause for injury to the back and don't work appropriate muscle groups. Remember it is always ok to just come up as far as you are able. Just because everyone else in class can rollup doesn't mean you have too. Practice makes perfect.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Exercise: The Hundreds

Lie on the mat on your back with knees into the chest. The arm should be straight at the sides of your body and the back should be imprinted (or flat) into the mat. Place the legs in either a table top position, extended straight to the ceiling or lowered on an angle at your point of control keeping the back flat (this is the most advanced). As the head and shoulder roll up of the mat gaze at the belly button and extend the arms long in a hovering position and gently started to pump the arms up and down about 3 inches. Start the breathing by taking 5 quick inhales through the nose and 5 quick exhales through the mouth and repeat this over 10 times total.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pilates Quotes

"The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power."

-Joseph Pilates, letter to clients, 1939

"Patience and Persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor."

- Joseph Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology

"The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being mental calm, and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors....[and] it is only through Contrology that this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind, and spirit can ever be attained."

- Joseph Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology

Pilates helps your body stay young, fit, and full of vitality. As Joe himself once said, "With body, mind, and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person."

- Joseph Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology