Core Strength: The Core Foundation in a Pilates Workout

The Christmas holidays bring in more than just excitement. With so many festive parties this season, we are all eating more ‘naughty’ foods and drinking more alcohol than we usually do. It’s no wonder that so many people gain extra weight during Christmas. But you can keep your core tight this holiday season with a little core training through Pilates workouts.

International celebrities love Pilates because it works the “core” muscles with a series of slow, controlled movements. STOTT Pilates instructors guide you through these precise movements helping you to achieve maximum benefits.
So who loves these amazing Pilates benefits? The secret to Pippa Middleton’s perfect figure – lean, long body and a sough to after bottom – is a weekly Pilates session. Kate Winslet says no matter how busy her schedule is she always squeezes in at least 20 minutes of Pilates every day. David Beckham was introduced to Pilates while he was with AC Milan in 2009, and he has been in the best shape he ever has been since he started doing a one-hour daily routine.

If you’re interested in looking good, feeling great and living healthy, contact a STOTT Pilates instructor.


Pilates and Barre Combo Workouts

Pilates and dance conditioning have a long history, and they make for a highly effective combination. Joseph Pilates himself was well-known for working with many prominent dancers during his lifetime. Barre-style workouts combined with pilates give clients a killer leg – particularly inner thigh workout not to mention the balance, core strength and coordination needed to perform the exercises. Dance conditioning can be a breath of fresh air for Pilates students.

Barre Classes

Barre classes combine traditional fitness workouts where your body weight is used to perform exercises such as leg lifts, kicks, squats for lower body. For upper body instructors utilize body weight exercises such as dips, push-ups and planks as well as light weights to tone and strengthen.

Barre Exercises to Try

Here are a few moves to try on your own, adapted from the Bar Method Accelerated Workout.

Thigh Work: Stand near a barre or a sturdy piece of furniture that you can hold onto, with legs parallel and hipbone-width apart. Raise your heels up; bend your knees, lowering the hips about 12 inches. Your hips should float over your heels. Now comes the fun part. For the next 60 to 120 seconds, lower and lift your body one to two inches in tiny, pulsing movements. Just as in Pilates, momentum is not your friend. Don’t bounce, stay in control of the movement, as this will focus the work into your thighs. You’ll feel this move intensely working your thigh within five pulses.

Fold-Over Seat: Stand in parallel; hinge at the hips to grasp the barre, arms fully extended. Keep your spine long as you float one leg behind you; your goal is to work leg that’s parallel to the floor. Movement A) With a straight leg, pulse your heel toward the sky in one- to two-inch movements. Continue for 60 to 120 seconds, then switch legs. Movement B) keeping your thigh parallel to the floor, bend the knee, and pulse your heel toward the ceiling in one- to two-inch movements. Continue for 60 to 120 seconds, then switch legs. Again, be careful to avoid momentum and control all of your movements.

You’ll notice a theme here: small, isolated movements that exhaust a muscle group, while other muscles work to stabilize the body.

Barre work on the Reformer Footwork Barre Style: Using all springs, with toes connected to the bar, perform 10 full-range presses. Then press halfway out (so that the knees stay bent) and perform 10 tiny pulses without bouncing. Move on to the heels in a similar fashion. You can also use a small squishy ball between the knees for added inner thigh emphasis. Too much? Those with sensitive joints can use lighter springs or dial their movements down to isometric muscle contractions.

5 x 5’s: Using one heavy and one medium spring, assume the Arabesque position with your hands on the footbar. Part 1) Hold your Arabesque position for a count of five. Part 2) Maintain your piked hip position as you pulse your lifted leg toward the ceiling five times. Part 3) Maintain your Arabesque position as you open and close the carriage five times. Part 4) Maintain your piked hip position as you tuck the extended knee in toward the chest, and back up toward the ceiling five times. Part 5) Draw the free leg forward to the footbar, and press out in a front split five times. Switch legs.

Source: Pro Pilates

Balance partners with Ellwood Thompson’s

We are excited to be a part of the brand new Community Room program at Ellwood Thompson’s.  The mission of the Community Room is to provide a community space dedicated to learning, teaching, gathering and sharing.

In April, we will be offering our Core Barre classes on Thursday mornings at 9:30 in their newly expanded location.  Our classes will be free to the public!

Join us for a high energy, low impact, fat burning workout that sculpts the thighs, tones the glutes, flattens the abdominals and defines the arms. Then stop by Ellwood’s new coffee and juice bar to fuel up for the rest of the day.

To sign-up for our April Core Barre classes follow this link