Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bring Out Your Inner-Athlete with Pilates Classes

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A lot of professional athletes depend on Pilates to improve their overall performance. But athletic improvement is not just for the pros. In addition to the multitude of health benefits Pilates provides it can also give weekend warriors like yourself a next-level boost.

Pilates improves strength and flexibility. The different movements and positioning help muscles grow stronger and more flexible over time. And not just specific muscles or muscle groups, as you would get with a gym workout. Pilates is a full-body workout. No matter what your sport of choice there isn't a twist, bend or jump you'll make that Pilates won't leave you better prepared for.

Lung power is not exclusive to cardio workouts. Sessions at a Pilates studio will teach you to breathe deeper and use your breath to improve focus and to control your body and mind. Pilates breathing techniques can benefit blood flow and increase the amount of oxygen your lungs receive. As a result of these improvements your stamina will increase allowing you to play your sport of choice longer and harder.

Concentration is one of the core principles of Pilates. The work you do in class to center your body and mind will spill over into other areas of your life. You will find yourself better able to cope with stressful situations, including the anxiety that comes with competition. A more relaxed, focused approach will help you avoid injury and keep your eye on the ball so to speak. Whether you are an avid cyclist, gymnast, golfer or football player your game will be improved compliments of Pilates.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pilates = A Pain Free Psoas

You may be familiar with the health and fitness benefits Pilates has on the big names; hamstring, quad, back, abdominal. But, what about the less heralded muscles beneath? Pilates helps those too. One of the most critical muscles to take care of is your psoas (pronounced SO-AZ).

Many consider the psoas to be the most important core muscle in your body. It is located behind your abdominal muscles providing a shelf that supports your organs. The psoas reaches from your solar plexus all the way to your inner thigh, one of the primary muscles connecting your upper and lower body. The psoas is activated with every step you take.

When you're scared your abs automatically tighten, right? That is your psoas reacting to an urgent message. A healthy psoas is essential to the movements associated with fight or flight reactions and by extension to the health of your spine. A post-Pilates psoas will help prevent painful injuries such as herniated discs and pinched nerves.

A sedentary lifestyle can be hell on your muscles elasticity. Moving from the office chair to the couch can cause your psoas to shorten and lose flexibility greatly increasing the chance of injury. No one wants to be laid-up and unable to walk because of a preventable injury.

Pilates is not just for your health and fitness today. It's for your health and fitness tomorrow. Our bodies are a series of interconnected parts. By stretching and elongating essential core muscles such as the psoas we can help ensure an upright and pain free future.

We would love to see you at our South Bay Pilates studio. But, even if you practice at home or attend Pilates workshops be sure to be consistent. A firm commitment to the practice of Pilates will improve your quality of life and have a huge impact on pain reduction and the avoidance of nagging or debilitating injury.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Powerhouse: A Core Concept

Joseph Pilates started his exercise regimen and philosophy with the aim of getting practictioners to focus on their core; the area of the body comprised of the muscles between the upper pelvic bone and the bottom of the rib cage including the abdominal, lower back, glute and hip muscles. He referred to this zone as The Powerhouse.

The muscles in the powerhouse zone work in harmony to create a protective band that stabilizes your core. Every motion in Pilates from basic stretching to more complex positions begins and ends with a strong core.

Whether you are new to Pilates or a seasoned veteran it is vital that you concentrate on the powerhouse zone. It will give you the energy, strength and control needed to progress to more intense reformer Pilates workouts.

The benefits of powerhouse conditioning extend beyond the Pilates mat. A strong core will help you improve in a variety of physical activities, it will help you avoid injury and it will give you improved posture.

And of course as one of the six guiding principles, concentration is of the utmost importance. Concentrate on your powerhouse and will see improvements in your Pilates routine and in your overall health.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

If you have ever been to a Pilates Studio, chances are you have worked out with or at least seen a reformer. This innovative machine is equipped with springs and leverage points that increase resistance for a challenging and intense workout. The machine has so many different uses and variations; it allows you to not grow bored of the old routine.

You can use the Reformer Pilates machine to perform a wide range of exercise positions. Whether it be lying down, sitting, or even standing Reformer Pilates classes will allow you to target specific muscle groups to significantly increase your strength. These workouts consist of flowing movements that are controlled through full range motion. You can add or decrease resistance by alternating springs. This allows you to make progress with each level and workout.

When working out with a reformer you are truly reforming your body as the benefits are incredible! You will experience an increase in connective tissue that will increase strength, muscle endurance and stamina. Your tone will also improve will elongating your muscles to avoid that bulky look by staying toned and fit.

Proper form in Reformer Pilates increases your core strength and will ultimately bolster the effectiveness of any other exercises and physical activity you may do. By exercising on a Reformer you can also improve your spinal alignment. Your spine will have greater stability and overall better posture. Since this machine uses a full range of motion, you will also notice your flexibility will increase making your muscles more efficient and your joints subject to less stress.

The next time you visit our Pilates studio, try one of our Reformer Pilates workouts, either with a private session or a class. It will deepen your practice by increasing your knowledge and understanding of Pilates as a whole and boost your mat work as well.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Principles of Pilates classes —Precision

This week our focus is going to be precision. In the past couple weeks we have gone over the fundamentals of Pilates. Hopefully you can apply this new information to your breathing and control techniques and apply them together and continue your practice in classes and at home.

Pilate’s movements are meant to be executed with precision and a attention to detail. It doesn’t matter if you practice at home, at a gym, or in a studio, every movement should be purposeful and clean. This attention to detail will make you sustain an awareness of every move you take enhancing your fitness and making you more present with your body.

Precision, in Pilates, has to do with the appropriate placement of the body’s parts as well as their alignment. It’s a very detail rich work out that depends on precision. Taking Pilates classes or having a private lesson can ensure that you are instructed of the correct form and ensure you are connecting with your muscles properly.
The precision of your practice is meant to grow and benefit you as the reps increase. There are many muscle groups that will be sitting perfectly still, but the movements must be executed with clarity and exactness.

The more you work out at a Pilate’s studio the more precise your practice will be. You should see more dramatic results if you are stronger in your technique and execution of the six principles of Pilates. Study this principle of Precision and integrate it into your practice! Good Luck!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Control: A Key Principle of Pilates classes

One of the main things that we're trying to discuss on this blog are the "six principles of Pilates". A thorough understanding of these critical techniques will not only enhance your personal practice, but also give you a better idea of how signing up for Pilates classes will affect your body while you do other physical activities. Hopefully, you’ve read the other principles we’ve blogged about and are using it to benefit your practice at home and at our Pilates studio. If not, you can find our previous articles here.

Whether you participate in group Pilates classes, private one on one sessions or practice on your own, the principle of control is crucial to both preventing injuries and ultimately transforming your body. All Pilates exercises should be done with complete muscular focus, leaving no muscle group unattended.

At most Pilates Studios, the exercises are not based on momentum—they are performed with the goal of complete control of your muscles and burning calories through natural resistance and gravity. Even when utilizing tools like the Jump Board, the objective is complete focus and control. For this reason, it’s sometimes more beneficial to get private instruction at a studio so that the instructor can supervise you and give you tips on how to improve.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pilates Classes and Awareness

Most clients at our Pilates studio have relayed their happiness to us over the increased body awareness they enjoy as their Pilates studies progress. No matter your current physical abilities, from your average Joe looking to shed a few pounds to professional athletes, Pilates classes are one of the very best ways to improve your range of motion, flexibility, posture, strength, and of course, body awareness.

Doing simple Pilates exercises at home is enough for you to get these great health benefits. However, when a student is properly supervised during a private one-on-one session or at a Pilates class, their awareness will increase almost exponentially. This is because, when we're on our own, many of us exercise the wrong way utilizing incorrect posture. More often than not, this could actually have a negative effect, resulting in injury or weak postural muscles. Pilates instructors will teach you the correct way to develop your core muscles and to correct that posture, using your own awareness. This way, you'll perform every physical activity in a way that more beneficial for your body overall.

When you work out at a Pilates studio regularly, you’ll find that your efforts to center your body will develop into a daily routine that you utilize in nearly every activity. You'll be inclined to engage your core when doing everyday tasks like sitting at your desk, cooking, washing dishes and cleaning. By increasing your focus on the way your body moves at all times, you’ll retrain your mind and muscles to build more symmetry and coordination.

Ultimately, Pilates will affect both your physical and mental awareness. You'll see a noticeable increase in the focus on your movement, making you more present in every aspect of your life and carrying over to every fiber of your being.