Contrology – The Heart of Pilates

Pilates balance chart

Getting the Most Out of Your Pilates Practice

Joseph Pilates developed his breakthrough Contrology fitness concepts nearly a century ago. To explain his revolutionary exercise workouts he diagramed the importance of a physical and mental practice that, when followed, results in superior conditioning.

At YPL, the Classic Practice focuses on achieving the rhythmic harmony that naturally occurs when mental clarity and physical conditioning are in synch. The feeling you experience after powering through a challenging workout is one of accomplishment, control, and exhilaration.

Join me for a class or session and discover how Contrology can dramatically improve your workout experience and level of fitness.

Pilates For Men? Seriously!

Tony demonstrates excellent Teaser form on the tower apparatus.

Tony is an excellent student determined to wring every possible advantage from his Pilates fitness program. His dedication has certainly paid off as can be seen from his excellent Teaser form.

How Men Benefit From A Pilates Fitness Plan

Unlike running, swimming, weight lifting or many other fitness pursuits where you’re likely to find men working out, Pilates doesn’t immediately come to mind as an option for male physical training. In reality, Pilates is perfect as a solo activity or as the focal point for a broad cross training regimen.

While other exercises are easy to picture, Pilates doesn’t immediately conjure up a physical image. Ha! As we know, when done correctly Pilates thoroughly and completely challenges virtually every single part of the anatomy. And these days you’re seeing more and more Pilates being practiced at the highest levels of professional sports by athletes whose contracts depend on the flexibility and specific strength found in the program.

Balance, Strength, Endurance, Flexibility

Generally speaking, Pilates focuses on building, strengthening, and developing the core. But there’s much more than that, in a progressive training program that at the highest levels approaches the impossible.

Men’s major structural weak points are tight hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders, and chest. Pilates incorporates stretching these areas in both basic and advanced workouts, with exercises designed to loosen and lengthen the muscles and tendons that cause so much trouble for so many men spending too much time at a desk.

At YPL, I don’t train a lot of male clients, for reasons that mostly stem (I think) from unfamiliarity with the routines and an overall impression that it’s mostly just for women. On the other hand, some of the biggest compliments I’ve received have come from that small percentage of men who are exploring the benefits of a full Pilates training schedule.

If you’ve got a man in your life who could use a low-impact fitness program that delivers positive results quickly and safely, encourage him to check out Pilates.

Eight Ways Pilates Improves Your Life

Pilates is the perfect low impact fitness workout for any bodyEight Pilates Benefits For Everyday Health

This short list of my most popular Facebook posts explains why Pilates is the perfect low impact, all around fitness workout for young and old of both sexes and just about every interest.

Whether you’re a woman dealing with osteoporosis, a professional athlete focused on improving his or her game, a casual runner trying to get the most out of a 5K, or just interested is improving your brain power, there’s something here for anyone who wants to improve their quality of life.

  1. Exercise May Help Knees More Than Glucosamine And Chondroitin This NPR article questions dependence on supplements for joint health.
  2. 6 Ways Pilates Can Improve Your Running I love it when I can show how Pilates may be the best go to all around workout for improving your running routine.
  3. How Your Spine Changes As You Age For women, here’s a look at what you might experience as your spine ages – and tips for prevention.
  4. Pilates For The Professional Athlete Flexibility and stretching are just as important as strength and speed to one NFL player.
  5. Strong Women Make Stronger Women This YouTube video from the International Osteoporosis Foundation offers five ways to decrease the risk of contracting the disease.
  6. Sweat Your Way To A Healthier Brain Is exercise good for the brain? You bet! NPR article proves you can sweat your way to a smarter you.
  7. The Art of Pilates Control This gorgeous video by Munich’s Bluebird Pilates studio is an inspirational example of Pilates control.
  8. Why Pilates Belongs At The Forefront Of American Fitness A well reasoned argument on the low impact benefits of a PIlates fitness routine.

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.

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”.

 

 

Make Your Pushups Count

correct form for pushupsGet The Best Results By Using Correct Form

Despite what we learned back in elementary school, doing a pushup correctly requires a little thought in order to prevent injury and get the most benefit.

For men especially, avoiding injury while getting the maximum benefit isn’t as simple as it looks. These five pushup tips can help prevent rotator cuff damage while maximizing the results.

Steelers WR Antonio Brown does Pilates

Pilates is just for girls – NO WAY! I’ve included a short video clip of Steelers WR Antonio Brown doing a couple of his Pilates moves. Pilates can benefit most people of any age, level or gender. In fact, anyone who wants to improve how their bodies move and perform even every day tasks can benefit from the practice. Granted, not everyone is an athlete capable of performing exercises at the highest level. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive to make your body function better and move more efficiently.

 

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.