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
Cardio AND Pilates? Just Add Jumpboard To Your Reformer Practice!
Pilates enthusiasts seldom associate cardio with Pilates, but the truth is a complete Pilates workout will get your cardiovascular system working just as efficiently as any treadmill, stairstep, or elliptical trainer, and with more core control as a bonus.
Including a complete cardio experience as part of your Pilates practice can be accomplished in a couple of different ways:
1) The traditional approach is to move through the classical Pilates routine in a vigorous flow, moving 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.
If you’re not familiar with a Pilates jumpboard, it’s exactly what it sounds like! A slightly padded custom designed 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 training like walking, running in the park or at the beach, or hitting the treadmill at the gym, but if you want it all in one low-impact session, a Pilates jumpboard is the ticket to a healthy, beneficial cardio experience.
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.
“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.
Just think about it. Golfers always favor one side of the body when approaching the ball and taking their swing (I assume you’re no different), which leads to a consistently lopsided game. Do you hold your breath? Lose your concentration? What is your body alignment?
All of these things are addressed in the Pilates Method which focuses on concentration, centering, core strength, posture, alignment, breath, flexibility (including rotational flexibility) and a uniformly developed body.
Stability in the pelvic and shoulder girdles translates into better balance.
A strong core coupled with stability and increased rotational flexibility leads to a better balanced golf swing and increased power to the club head.
Add in proper breathing, increased body awareness (i.e. posture, alignment and which muscle groups are being recruited to perform the task at hand) as well as a more focused approach, and it all adds up to a more biomechanically correct stance, swing and, ultimately, improved efficiency of movement for a lifetime of enjoyment on the course.
Newbies: It’s Not What You Think
No doubt about it, one look at some of the Pilates equipment (reformer, tower, cadillac, chair, etc.) can strike fear in a newbies heart. Don’t be afraid! It’s not as scary or intimating as it looks. After all, Joseph Pilates created the piece of equipment called the “cadillac” as a result of working with patients in a hospital bed.
There are exercises for all levels of fitness as well as modifications. However, when in doubt – leave it out, should be the mantra.
That’s not to say “don’t challenge yourself,” but if there is a valid concern about fitness level, safety or injury because of a pre-existing condition, any exercise can either be modified or omitted. In short, Joseph Pilates created a wonderful system of exercises that can be modified to achieve positive results in almost any instance.
While Pilates may not be appropriate for or appeal to everyone, most people can safely and effectively incorporate it into their workout regime. Even in a group setting, Pilates is an individual practice utilizing YOUR BODY and YOUR MIND! Just ignore your classmates, “put your blinders on”, and work with what your mind/body can do that day. Most important of all – have fun!!
Making Sure It’s A Pilates Class
What people may not know about Pilates is that not all Pilates classes are the same. After a four-year trademark dispute that ended in 2000, the term “Pilates” was ruled to be a generic term for an exercise method and the Pilates trademark was ruled to be invalid in the US. While this allowed qualified instructors and studios to use the name Pilates without a monetary payment for it’s use, it also opened the door to widespread unregulated use of the term.
As a result of that decision, Pilates has become so broadly interpreted that any exercise routine that incorporates a few Pilates moves or principles can now be called “Pilates”. Other spinoffs can include workouts that incorporate “core work” implying a connection to the Pilates Method that may or may not be true.
Some of the instructor certification programs that have cropped up can be completed in a weekend. Aquiring the knowledge required to teach the true comprehensive Pilates Method as Joseph Pilates intended takes a great deal of time, study and practice. In most cases an apprenticeship is also required.
The Classic Pilates Method (or Traditional Method) uses the unaltered exercises developed by Joseph Pilates himself. He originally called his method “Contrology” to emphasize the importance of accurately performing the exercises.
Modifications are available to the instructor for purposes of tailoring the workout to meet a client’s specific needs; however, the exercises are still taken from Joe’s original workouts and are performed in a specific order. Whether working on the mat, reformer, cadillac, tower, chair or barrels, all of the Classic Pilates exercises are performed the way Joseph Pilates intended.
Any exercise program is good for you but, if you want a true Pilates experience, you may want to do a little research or ask a few questions to ascertain the background and qualifications of the instructor and/or studio.
Help Us Celebrate With Your Free Class And A 15% Pilates Day Sale
Pilates Day is an annual international community event celebrated on the first Saturday of May each year. Its mission is to foster public appreciation and awareness of the Pilates Method through local events produced and hosted by Pilates Method Alliance members. This year it falls on Saturday, May 7, 2011.
As a PMA member studio, Your Pilates Lifestyle is participating by giving away free mat classes all morning (see the class schedule here.) Attendance is free, but because space (four students per class) is limited reservations are required.
Mark Your Calendar for Saturday, May 7th
It’s easy: we cancelled the regular Saturday schedule to make room for our Pilates Day free classes (below). Just head over to our Mindbody online scheduler and look for the May 7th Complimentary Mat class session – there are four to choose from – you’d like to attend, then click the “Sign Up Now” button. You’ll be asked to log in (existing clients) or create a new account. You’re done!
You’ll also be able to take advantage of our 3-day only Pilates Day Sale. Buy any class, session, or package for 15% off Friday, Saturday and Sunday only! Use the promo code: “Pilates” at checkout.
Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 7. We’ll see you at the studio!
For heaven’s sake – BREATHE! Sounds simple, but most people don’t do it. We tend to take short, shallow breaths that are not optimal for purposes of effectively and efficiently performing our daily tasks much less what we ask of our body during exercise.
For the maximum benefit of air/oxygen exchange in the bloodstream we must fully expand the ribcage to inhale and then totally empty the lungs on the exhale – all of which is a vital part of any Pilates program. For more info and instructions on an exercise to help you on your way to better breathing, you’ll enjoy this article by Power Pilates instructor Deborah Slade.