What Is Pilates Controlology?

Advanced Moves Performed On The Reformer

When we talk about Controlology, we’re referring to the connection between the mind and the body. That connection is important whenever we’re performing our Pilates movements, and it’s essential when practicing the advanced moves on our apparatus.

Whether you’re a Pilates professional or a first time beginner, this video from Munich’s Bluebird Pilates Studio is a perfect demonstration of what that connection means and why it’s so critical in our practice. And before anyone asks, no, I don’t teach these exercises at Your Pilates Lifestyle!

I’ve included this clip just for inspiration for your own Pilates practice (but definitely not for comparison purposes!). Whatever level you work at the principles are the same -concentration and control (mind/body connection) being an integral part. Deepen the work by being fully present in each exercise you perform and make it the best that YOU can make it!

 

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.

The Reformer Arc Connection

Pilates Arc Gently Works The Spine For Maximum Flexibility

The Pilates Arc by Balanced Body is a fascinating piece of equipment that took the existing Joseph Pilates original design and adapted it for contemporary use.

Weighing only a few ounces, it’s mostly encountered as part of a vigorous floor routine that focuses on spine flexion. Pair it with the Reformer, and students get an entirely new dimension that’s quickly felt as virtually every part of the body gets a welcome stretch in addition to a new challenge.

If you haven’t yet experienced the Pilates Arc and are interested in the many benefits it can provide, ask about including it in your next Private or Duet. YPL also has a dedicated Arc class – check the schedule for times.

The Pilates Chair Builds Core And Cardio

Of all the strange looking (to Pilates newbies) apparatus you’ll find in a professionally equipped studio, the Pilates Chair really gets a lot of attention.

Designed and developed by Joseph Pilates for double duty as a dedicated piece of exercise equipment that can also be converted to seating in a tiny living space, the Chair is one of my most versatile training aids. As a chair, though, I’ve got to say it’s got a long ways to go before I’ll be using it to sit in.

When combined with a Reformer footboard routine, you’ll get a cardio workout unlike anything you’ve experienced before, challenging both those abs and the big muscle groups in the legs. Did I mention upper body strength? As you can tell, the Pilates Chair is as versatile as it is strange looking.

Pilates Housekeeping

One of the more challenging aspects of owning a professionally equipped Pilates studio is figuring out how to store all the odd shaped and, lets face it, difficult to manage equipment required to customize each students experience. Because floor space is at a premium, just about every studio owner looks to the wall as their first choice for keeping that odd spring or apparatus handy until needed. Continue reading

Ready! Set! Jump!

Cardio? Pilates? Just Add Jumpboard To Your Reformer Practice!

Including cardio in your Pilates practice can be done in a couple of different ways:

1) The traditional way is to move through the classical Pilates routine in a vigorous flow from one exercise to the next. (Of course, this is done without sacrificing proper form!!), or…

2) The addition of a jumpboard session at the beginning of your workout as a warm up or as the grand finale is a more contemporary approach.

Don’t know what a jumpboard is? It is exactly what it sounds like!  A padded board is inserted into the end of the reformer. You lie on your back on the reformer mat with light to moderate spring settings and yep, you guessed it, JUMP!

The jumping can include simple jumping and running or can move into more dance type choreographed routines. The addition of hand weights or Therabands takes the cardio up another notch!

Whether you choose to include either of these options in your session is a personal preference. You can always opt for separate cardio like walking, running, or hitting the treadmill at the gym, but if you want it all in one session – it CAN be done.

Reformers That Fit Your Body Style

When Joseph Pilates designed the original Reformer, students were built much differently then they are today. Today’s typical Pilates student comes in a much wider range of body shapes and styles than those original pioneers.

One of the major drawbacks of the original Reformer design is that it doesn’t easily allow for adjustment to the wide variation found in a modern studio’s clients’ height, which can mean a difference of a foot or more!

Solution: the Revo Adjustment System

Our custom built Balanced Body Reformers feature the innovative Revo Adjustment System (see photo inset), a multi-position locking mechanism for quickly and accurately moving the carriage (mat portion) of the Reformer in or out on the chassis, based on a student’s height and range of motion.

This allows the spring bar (which offers the resistance) to move in unison with the carriage to maintain the proper no-load (neutral) initial spring tension while performing the exercises and providing the adjustability needed to create the best ergonomically correct position for every client.

Why Is This Important?

Without the Revo Adjustment System, the client that’s 6’2″ and the client that’s 5’3″ must both begin from the same position relative to the foot bar, creating imbalance and an unequal range of motion and spring tension.

This unique feature means our students get the full benefit of a reformer class without having to compromise form over fit. It’s a perfect combination of comfort and efficiency.

TV News Reviews Pilates

“I feel like I’ve been slapped with a basket full of energy!”

That’s what the reporter in this video said is a primary benefit of her newly discovered Pilates practice. I thought this short (five minute) news report was interesting, informative, and might help take some of the scary out of Pilates. Not everyone will reach the level of a master instructor (and there aren’t that many that reach that level) but everyone can feel stronger, more flexible and physically fit, and achieve an overall sense of wellbeing through the practice of the Pilates method.

If your browser doesn’t display the Flash video, just follow this YouTube link.

Get Ready. Get Set. Now Scoop Those Abs!

How Do I Scoop My Abdominals In And Up?

You may have attended a class and heard the Pilates phrase “scoop your abdominals.” The “scoop” starts with the engagement of the pelvic floor, and the pull in and up begins just above the pubic bone and progresses upward to the navel and upper abdominals.

The pelvic floor is the foundation, or basement, of the core. It supports the lower abdominal cavity, bladder and uterus as well as the deep muscles of the abdomen and back, just like a backyard hammock cradles a napper on a summer afternoon.

Building Core Strength

These pelvic floor muscles, tendons and ligaments help to stabilize the pelvis and form a supportive sling at the base of the pelvic bowl. They also assist in developing the Pilates goal of core strength.

Weak pelvic floor muscles often lead to attempts by other parts of the body to compensate for core weakness, resulting in a domino effect of structural imbalances throughout the body which could result in abdominal or back pain.

It is important for both men and women to do exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. But how?

1) Pilates uses the pelvic floor muscles to assist with muscular support during exercise. One of the verbal cues is to engage the muscles to “draw in and up”. How do you do that? Try squeezing the “sit bones” together and up and imagine the flow of energy hugging the center line of the body, traveling up the spine, and exiting the top of the head.

The sequence is not as easily defined as you might think. In fact, you may not feel it the first few times, but with continued practice and body awareness you will begin to perfect your scoop.

Practice Pilates To See Results

Remember, Pilates is a practice. The more you do it the the more you begin to identify and activate the muscle or muscle group that needs to be engaged to perform the task.

Note: the pelvic scoop should not occur with such an emphatic “pull in” as to result in a loss of the natural curve of the spine or create a forward flexion of the upper spine. When you are able to isolate the appropriate muscles, you should still be able to expand the ribcage and back for the deep breathing required to flow through your workout.

2) Kegel exercises also help to recover muscle tone. While Kegels are most commonly associated with women they can be beneficial for both men and women alike.

Don’t overdo this. Just use the technique to find the muscles you need to engage. Too much Kegeling can weaken rather than strengthen the pelvic floor.

Integrate your newly found scoop for a more effective workout.  Happy scooping!!!