The Physical Art of Pilates Control

Pilates Control by Bluebird Pilates in Munich

This is a great example of Pilates control at its best. Bluebird Pilates in Munich uses a variety of studio equipment to demonstrate the ultimate in controlled Pilates movements.

Obviously, not everyone (or most of us for that matter) will achieve this level of precision and expertise. However, we can all benefit from striving to achieve our own personal best, and keeping this video in mind while performing our own practice is a good place to begin.

I hope that you enjoy watching it as much as I did.

Ready For The Pilates Chair?

Your Pilates Lifestyle workouts include the ChairPilates Chair Offers Advanced Students Benefits

One piece of equipment that nearly always invites questions is the Pilates Chair. Because it requires real body awareness and core control, it’s usually not part of a new student’s workout. Here’s an online review that summarizes a Chair routine.

For advanced students, it offers significant fitness benefits, and there are an astounding number of exercises that can be performed. For instance, for those familiar with a regular gym’s stairstep apparatus, the Chair can deliver a cardio experience that’s just as intense while also including balance that can’t be duplicated on a machine.

In the photo above, Jen is using her abs to lift while balancing with her forearms in a move that requires body awareness while building core and upper body strength.

If balance, cardio and toning from arms to legs is on your checklist, ask about YPL’s Chair workout when you book your next class.

Floor Workouts Are Fitness Fundamentals

mat floor class

Beyond Basics – Advanced Floor Classes

When someone thinks of Pilates, more often than not they’re thinking apparatus – Cadillac, Reformer or Tower usually come to mind, along with the cable shopping equipment demonstrations.

In reality, quite a few of us – myself included – were first introduced to Pilates as a floor exercise done on a skinny mat at the local club.

Not to take anything away from equipment classes, but a Classical floor exercise will challenge even the most ardent Pilates student. Add props like Magic Circles, balls and bands to target additional areas and all of a sudden the basic mat class is transformed into high energy fitness routine that stands on its own.

Finally, while a self-paced home session based on a web site dvd is better than nothing, professional coaching and equipment makes sure you’re achieving the desired results with maximum efficiency.

At YPL, we define floor work as mat and arc routines. Take the challenge and experience the difference.

Fall Into Fitness! September Mat, Arc Sale

Pilates makes you stronger every day!Fall Into Fitness – Floor Exercise Special

Feel that? Fall is definitely in the air! And if you’ve been cruising through the summertime heat and humidity, now’s the time to get back on track with your Pilates fitness schedule.

To help ease the re-entry, YPL is having a 15% off all Mat and Arc classes throughout the month! Enter promo code “floor2013” at checkout and you’ll see big savings on all class and package purchases.

Get Strong! Start Today

Offer good on any single class, class packs, and combo packages. But hurry! Offer ends 9/30!

Ever Wonder What Your Fascia Does?

Wonder No More!

Did you know that your entire body is covered in a web of densely packed collagen fibers commonly known as fascia? Well it is…and it’s extremely important to your overall health and wellbeing. We didn’t hear much about it in the past because it’s been difficult to study and describe, but research is beginning to shed new light on it’s importance.

All About Your Fascia

I recently came across this great article in Runners World which explains it in easy to understand language and, more importantly, tells you what you can and should be doing to keep yours in tip-top shape. If you can’t find the time to read the entire thing, at least skip to page 2 which tells you what you can and should be doing on a regular basis.

http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-treatment/understanding-your-fascia

 

What Is Pilates?

what is Pilates?

What Is Pilates?

Between boot camps, dance beat workouts, wall climbing and ultra fit weight catching contests, Pilates remains as the only widely recognized fitness method to be named after its founder, thus fitting into that uncommon category of both noun and verb.

But what does “doing Pilates” really mean? Kevin A. Bowen is a co-founder of the Pilates Method Alliance. His definition of Pilates, below, is the best I’ve read.

Stretch, Strengthen And Balance

Developed in the early 1900s by German-born Joseph Pilates, the Pilates exercise method is a program of physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. In 1926 Joseph and his wife Clara introduced their exercise system, originally called “Contrology”, to New York City.

Pilates exercise focuses on postural symmetry, breath control, abdominal strength, spine, pelvis and shoulder stabilization, muscular flexibility, joint mobility and strengthening through the complete range of motion of all joints. Instead of isolating muscle groups, the whole body is trained, integrating the upper and lower extremities with the trunk.

Practice, Practice, Practice

“Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your mental and subconscious activities.” (Joseph Pilates, 1945)

What I like about Kevin’s definition is that it specifically lists the fully integrated low impact approach to fitness and well-being that separates Pilates from the competition.

NBC News Gives Pilates Shoutout

Pilates Gets National Recognition

Last night NBC News With Brian Williams broadcast a medical report segment by Dr. Nancy Snyderman that called into question how this country defines, diagnoses and treats back pain.

The report points out how common back pain is in our population and the problems that arise because of how it’s currently treated by the medical community. Expensive testing, surgery, and prescription medications are called into question for their effectiveness as well as their expense.

Back Pain Too Often Mistreated By Medical Community

The report correctly points out that most back pain is the result of a weak core – a much more complex region of the body than the infomercials fascination with “abs” – and that readily available physical therapy is often the best treatment for the condition.

Dr. Snyderman specifically mentions Pilates and yoga as healthy, affordable alternatives to the much more common medically prescribed routes handed out by practices and hospitals.

If you or someone you know suffers from back pain in varying degrees, it’s highly likely Pilates can be a very effective part of a treatment plan to properly alleviate the condition.

Pilates for Horseback Riders

@Mike Baird http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/

Kate Spahr, Female Equestrian and Artist, runs her horse Sterling @Mike Baird http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/

Is there any physical activity that doesn’t benefit from the many advantages a strong and well developed core delivers? I’m beginning to think not.

I just discovered the latest group that’s turned to Pilates to improve their personal performance – equestrians! From casual Western to strictly English, barrel racing to rodeo, these athletes are training with Pilates to improve their performance and prevent injuries.

Pilates began as a series of exercises designed to help rehabilitate injured soldiers in World War I, then evolved to condition professional dancers in preventing leg and other injuries. Since then, race car drivers, professional athletes, runners, swimmers, bike riders and many other competitors have learned the benefits of a Pilates fitness routine.

Annette Willson’s blog Pilates for Horse Riders teaches equestrians a special style of Pilates that includes very task specific conditioning that targets saddle riding. She has perfectly identified the parts of the body that benefit most from having a Pilates makeover, and explains the logic behind her training in a way everyone can relate to and can understand.

Even if you’ve never even petted a horse, her site offers several excellent reasons on how everyone benefits from Pilates. And if you do happen to ride, your horse will thank you!

How Pilates Can Improve Your Running Game

Pilates and running are the perfect match.

Pilates and running are the perfect match.  A solid core supplements and improves a number of areas critical for peak performance.

Runners Get Big Boost From Core Strength

The other day I came across a guest blog over on Brooks (shoes) Running that shows several exercises runners can perform after a run to improve their results. The writer says that, “A strong core helps create a runner’s longevity on the road and can help alleviate back pain.” Fair enough – but wait, there’s more!

Most runners don’t realize how important maintaining the correct posture is to peak performance and endurance. Joseph Pilates’ original concept of Contrology – the method of developing controlled movement from a strong core – is even more applicable today, as we pursue a variety of physical activities on a regular basis. And that’s especially true when it comes to running.

Pilates System Connects Body And Mind

His Pilates System stresses the connection between the mind and the body for maximum efficiency and benefit. Along the way, Pilates practitioners learn to focus on (among other functions) breath control while they build that strong, long and lean core by performing the interconnected movements Joe first described nearly a century ago.

Pilates balance chartRunners – and cubicle workers, and frequent flyers – all benefit from a well developed core, first and most noticeably from an improved posture which in turn leads to more efficient breath control, better coordination, extra stamina, and overall strength.

If you’re a runner, Pilates should be part of your workout. It starts with The 100. But it doesn’t stop there.

Should You Be Sweating?

megaformer workout another version of Pilates

Just Don’t Call It Pilates!

This article in the New York Times titled “A Souped-Up Pilates Workout” made me think about what’s behind the comments people make when it comes to their idea of how they should feel after a workout.

In this case the writer, who admits to being a Pilates novice, says, “In reality, however, the few classes I’ve taken have done nothing to work up a sweat or amp up my heart rate — not the best outcome for an adrenaline-seeking exerciser like me.”

I suspect she’s never tried a Classical Pilates class, one that incorporates flow with breath and mind control. Too often the group classes offered at gyms and clubs fall far short of what Joseph Pilates intended and end up like a lazy day at the beach.

Can You Say Jumpboard?

At Your Pilates Lifestyle, I offer classes for all levels from beginners to professionals, and pay particular attention to those who may be physically challenged yet who will still get plenty of benefit from a toned down Pilates routine.

At the other extreme are my superfit clients, the ones who thrive on an intense Pilates workout. One that includes plenty of non-stop flow that leaves everyone short of breath and dripping with sweat! Cardio? You’d better believe it!

Learn How To Walk Before You Start Running

You may not be working to capacity in the beginning as you are learning the exercises and correct body mechanics. However, as you move into intermediate, advanced or even super advanced exercises you should be working to capacity. If you’re not – it’s on you!!

Joseph Pilates was a genius when it came to the order and flow of his exercises to work the entire body in a demanding and efficient way to achieve total body FUNCTIONAL fitness. When was the last time your daily life required you to bench press a desk to fatigue?

There really is no reason to change Pilates as it was designed unless it’s to periodicially shake things up and challenge the client in a totally different way.

Not All Reformer Work Can Be Called Pilates

The reformer is a brilliant piece of equipment that can be used in many ways. If you’re going to use it to perform gym based exercises, then it should be labeled accordingly.

If the workout strays too far from it’s original intent then it shouldn’t be called Pilates. I will sometimes gear a class to more of a gym based exercise session, but I always specify when an exercise is not “Pilates”.