Pilates While Pregnant

Pilates and pregnancy are a great fit, as long as you are having a normal pregnancy and consult with your doctor first. One reason why pilates during pregnancy is a good idea is because the workout is designed to make your core stronger. Having good abdominal muscles, makes your back stronger and less likely to hurt. This form of exercise helps strengthen your abdominal, back and pelvic floor muscles. All of which are important during labor and delivery.

Pilates Classes and Privates

It is important to find a small class or work with a private instructor where possible. Certified instructors are trained in pre-natal. If you can find one in your area, that would be wonderful.

Prenatal Pilates Exercises Change Each Trimeste
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Pilates exercises are easy to modify as your body changes. Your instructor will be able to help you with that, as your belly grows and your center of balance changes. After your first trimester you will need to talk to your doctor about performing exercises on your back. Every woman and every pregnancy are different. The great thing about Pilates is that there are plenty of moves that you will still be able to do.

The Benefits of Pregnancy Pilates

When you are exercising during your pregnancy, remember that you are helping your baby as well as yourself. Studies have shown that when a mother exercises, the baby benefits from increased blood flow, the babies also feel the vibrations, movements and sounds. This can make babies more advanced, developmentally, when they are compared to babies of Mother’s who are not active.

Post Natal Pilates Advice

Once your baby is born, Pilates can still be a help to you. Many women have stated that Pilates helped them quickly regain the figure that they had before pregnancy. It’s a great workout to help tighten everything back up again. Of course every Mom knows it doesn’t happen overnight, but keep at it, and it will happen. Don’t rush or be hard on yourself, you just brought a new person into the world, so give yourself a break. Keep working your Pilates routine and your abs, legs, and back, will get back into great shape.

Source: selfgrowth.com

The Core- How STOTT Pilates Teaches You to Engage

“The core” is a pair of words that have dominated the fitness industry as well as sports as of late. Everyone is selling “the core” exercises. So what is the core and are you engaging it?

Many people confuse doing pilates exercises with engaging the core. It is very possible and common for people doing pilates to perform the exercises without engaging their core. How is that possible, isn’t pilates synonymous with core? It isn’t and you have to be taught how to engage your core properly. Some people do engage the core naturally but even they should be taught to recognize the feeling of the engagement.

Many pilates teachers give students cue such as, to turn on your powerhouse, the original word that Joseph Pilates used for core. But students may not have any idea what that really means. STOTT Pilates instructors are trained to teach students a systematic way to engage the core, so that they know what it feels like. STOTT ncludes this information in their instructor training, so you can be sure that if an instructor has been through the STOTT training, they’ve competent with this information.

When you ask someone what they think their core is they will inevitably say their abs. This is one-fourth right because of the four abdominal muscles; the pelvic floor and the lumbar multifidi make up the rest of the core. Core muscles only action is to stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine.

To make sure your core is engaged, you have to take the time before you even get into the position of the exercise, to engage it. All three groups must engage together. Core conditioning must be very light, slow and mindful work.

The core can only train at low loads and intensities until it gets stronger. That’s why your first pilates session while not a “tough” workout in the traditional sense of exercise, is the most important lesson of your core foundation.

Source: selfgrowth.com

Where Are Your Shoulders?

Have You Ever Experienced A Painful Arm or Shoulder Injury? Do You Carry Tension or Stress in Your Neck and Upper Back?

It’s no surprise that a lot of people these days are dealing with this, or several of these shoulder problems. To hold our vertical human posture we have a couple of options – excellent core support and good posture, or the reliance on our deltoids, upper traps, and shoulders to support us.

Consider this … Your posture will either be similar to a coat on a hook (shoulders up), or a circus tent with a tall pole up the middle and the corners sloping down (abdominal support & relaxed shoulders.. Coat on a hook posture habits will create a great deal of neck and shoulder pressure. You might experience frequent headaches, or find yourself more susceptible to shoulder strains and rotator cuff issues.

On the bright side, things can change fairly quickly with the right body awareness, good shoulder mechanics, and improving core support & posture.

To start, the most essential tip for strong, healthy shoulders is to strengthen your core.

The more powerful your abs and back are, the more it will help keep you sitting and standing with tall posture. With a strong core your shoulders can loosen up. However simply relaxing the shoulders sometimes may not be enough. Active muscle work to pull the shoulders down away from your ears and is often necessary.

An easy cue to remember for strengthening the lower trapezius muscle (the part of the Trapezius muscle that assist in pulling the shoulders down) is “Diamond Down.”

The Trapezius muscle is the broad diamond shaped muscle which includes fibers functioning in three distinctive directions. The top fibers elevate the shoulders. Middle fibers aid in pulling the shoulder blades together, and the lower fibers pull the shoulder blades down.

In most cases, the most basic and most important action for shoulder foundation and balance would be the downward action of your Trapezius, thus my cue of “Diamond Down” in preparation to attempt any exercise that consists of using the shoulders and arms.

Advantages of Conditioning the Lower Trapezius Muscle with “Diamond Down”

• It offers counter-leverage essential to elongate and open joint space for your upper thoracic spine, head and neck, resulting in improved alignment and upper spine mobility.


• It puts the shoulder joint at a more optimal position for movement of your shoulder and arm during workout. Greater movement increases strength and flexibility and minimizes injury risks.

Tips for Practicing “Diamond Down”

1. Begin standing with good posture and core support. The upper back needs to be to curved for normal posture to ensure that the shoulder blades can lay level on the back. Just allow the your arms to hang by the sides.

2. Breathe in into the back to lift the ribcage and lengthen the spine, exhale and from the bottom tips of the shoulder blades and draw the “Diamond Down” gently pulling the shoulder blades down towards the back of your waist.

3. Perform your “Diamond Down” exercise 3-5 times as a warm-up exercise before your workouts.

4. Initiate every arm and shoulder exercise with the “Diamond Down” action first.
5. Or do this as a stand-alone shoulder strengthening exercise throughout the day to call remind yourself to keep your shoulders away from your ears!
What To Watch For:
• Make sure that when the shoulder blades pull down they stay flat against the ribcage. Be sure the shoulder blades don’t pinch together.

• Watch your posture, allow the blades to move, and keep the rest of the body still.
• Make sure the lower abdominals are engaged for core support and remain lifted while you draw your “Diamond” down.
Get More Out of Your Core:
Great Pilates workout techniques results in a healthy body. If one has a poor, weak core, odds are the shoulders are likely hiked up around your ears. With stronger core muscles it’s quicker and easier to improve shoulder mechanics, decrease joint pain, and get the maximum benefits from your Pilates workouts.
Focus on core strengthening exercises for your abdominals and back, in addition to practicing your “Diamond Down” shoulder blade cue and you’ll be well on your way to acquiring strong and healthy shoulders with every workout routine you do.
Source: www.selfgrowth.com

Have you considered Pilates this New Year?

Doctors and physical therapist have been recommending Pilates to those who suffer with back, knee and shoulder problems. It’s extremely popular in remedial treatments and patients who’ are rehabilitating from surgery.

In recent years Pilates has become much more mainstream. So, what is all of the fuss about? Why do Pilates and what can it do for you personally? Lets review a few good factors to get you fired up.

1. Low Impact
Pilates is really a low impact workout and places virtually no strain on your knees, ankles and wrist.

2. Weight Loss and Toning
Pilates is not really a cardiovascular workout it’ll will work up a sweat and increase your heart rate. It’s particularly good for toning and tightening your muscles.

3. Affordable
Pilates workouts can be performed in small group sessions or in classes so that you can go easy on your wallet and tough on your abs.

4. Core Strength
One of the main focuses is core strength. The core muscles are the heart of most people’s back problems and with Pilates you focus extensively on this important muscle group. When you enhance your core power you not only make your back more powerful you also enhance your posture and overall power. Best of all you tight abs look as good as they feel.

5. Improved Breathing
Pilates exercises focus on technique and form. To achieve the perform form you are taught specific breathing patterns. Many of the exercises will help to open up your breathing channels and it will leave you feeling invigorated right after every workout.

Source: selfgrowth.com

Top 5 Benefits of Pilates

Pilates has been made known around the globe because of the many benefits it can bring. Regardless of your age or activity level, you can always begin the practice of Pilates. It is not the typical exercise that most of us have imagine, it can be varied to achieve your goals whether they be tone, weight loss, improve strength, improve posture, gain joint stability or increase flexibility. Pilates can accommodate you.

With the many things we can get out of this impressive exercise, below is a summary of a few of these great benefits. Here are top five of them.

• Pilates strengthens the core of our bodies. Our core is composed of the muscles found at the back, tummy and hips Pilates can help you become steady and strong.

• This exercise can help improve posture. People who have back problems will definitely find it relieving when practicing Pilates because it helps lengthen the spine thus providing a strong foundation for you whether you are sitting or standing. Perhaps the reason why this exercise provides relief for people with aching backs is because it relieves pressure or compression in along the spine.

• It improves your mental and physical connection. What makes this exercise stand out. Because of the precision required to perform the exercises properly it involves the mind and body. When we gain control of our mind we better able to control our body and when these two collaborate, things are much easier to do in our daily tasks.

• Pilates creates long, toned muscles through exercises that teach you how to lengthen your body as you move through controlled exercises.

• Pilates is the type of exercise that will make you become more efficient with your body. This basically means you can do things without having to worry about pain and with less of a chance of injury.

These are just a few of the many benefits of Pilates. Because it is the type of exercise program that involves low impact workout, whatever activity level you have, you do not have to worry about joint and muscle pain after a pilates session. This is why both young and old are encouraged practice pilats.

Source: selfgrowth.com

The Magic Circle

STOTT Pilates teaches students to move through exercises with control and precision. STOTT Pilates is built on foundational principles and techniques to improve posture and perfect the balancing of muscles.

Once you have learned the fundamentals, you might feel the need for a challenge, one which will not strain your muscles, but will enrich the your workouts Stott Pilates.

One way to kick it up a notch is with the Stott Pilates fitness circle. Also called as the magic circle or exercise rings, this fitness circle is developed to assist you improve your fitness through light resistance exercises. These circles increase tone in your arms, hips and thighs.

The circle can be used on the mat or with STOTT pilates apparatus. Talk to your STOTT Pilates instructor about incorporating this amazing tool in your workouts.