Why do people need Pilates?
Becuse the core has become weak.
Why does the core become weak?
Modern sedentary lifestyle, particularly long periods of sitting (often badly!)
What happens when the core is weak?
Poor posture, weak back, protruding stomach, sore neck, shoulders, lower back, any or all of these and more!
How do we strengthen the core muscles?
By performing (Pilates) exercises slowly, at a fairly gentle level, paying attention to posture, and particular muscle recruitment and keeping it going for 2 mins.
Where they are?
Around your trunk .
We concentrate on the Transversus Abdominous (TVA) which is below your belly button and wraps around like a corset or wide belt supporting your lower back particularly.
What they do?
Support (your trunk) in the anatomically correct position.
The TVA also helps to flatten your tummy below the belly button.
What do they feel like when they are working?
Some people cannot feel them so thats what makes Pilates quite challenging!
Most people get to feel them with certain specific exercises in my class.
Others only feel them 2 days later when they cough, sneeze, or laugh!
The paradox is, if you try too hard the TVA may not be able to cope and will give the 'job' to other stronger muscles eg the back, legs, Rectus abdominus.
The 8 principles of Pilates
- Centering – engaging the core (TVA)
- Precision – holding the body in the correct posture (neutral or rounded)
- Isolation – relax dominant muscles so as to work weaker ones
- Movement – slow, flowing and continuous
- Breathing – lateral (thorasic) in order to keep TVA engaged.
- Control – always able to stop at any point. Should avoid injury.
- Concentration – monitoring the body to ensure good technique
- Routine – regular practise by applying the skills to all body movements including other sports, hobbies, work, gardening, sitting & walking as well as practising exercises at home which address your muscle imbalances.
You will learn how to apply these principles to the exercises learned in the class.
Posture – the ‘set up’ before you begin
Neutral spine (small hollow in lower back)
Pull in lower abs/TVA/Core/ pelvic floor (tip – full bladder)
Shoulders (away from ears)
Chin position (long back of neck)
Breathe in – (Thorasic) Before you start to move
100 – strength 2 min
Clam or side balance - strength 2 min
Chalk circle – flexibility 5 reps
Sphinx – strength start with 30 secs, build up to 2 mins
Swimming – shoulders down, hips on floor. Strength 2 mins
Dart – keep head still, legs & arms relaxed. Squeeze shoulders “V”
Rolling back – rounded spine (hug the beach ball) strength - 5 reps
Spine twist – relax legs, sit tall, twist waist, lead with the ribs 5 reps
Shoulder bridge – strength & flexibility 5 reps.
Roll the spine up from the tailbone. Relax legs to start. Begin with TVA, then glutes, then legs. Start and finish in neutral going in to rounded on the way up and down. Begin with inbreath and at top.
Students will be advised on adaptations to moves required if unable to do particular moves due to medical problems or injuries.
Practising some exercises at home (ask the tutor for suggestions on the ones best for you) will greatly increase the benefit to you.
Apply the techniques to your daily life; sitting, driving, working, sport, gardening, walking, eating, decorating, will improve the quality ease and efficiency of everything you do.
Benefits – Improve posture, reduced back pain, flatter stomach, improved pelvic floor, calmer mind, better concentration, general improved sense of wellbeing. Reduce risk of injury.
Expectations – you will need to concentrate during class and let me know if you don’t understand or anything hurts.
Bad Habits – the longer you have spent acquiring your bad habits, the harder you will have to work to undo and correct them in order to get back the posture and flexibility you desire.
The more you practise and apply the techniques to your life the sooner you will embed the new habits into your muscle memory and change the way you look and feel permanently.
Try to think about your posture regularly throughout your day. Tummy in, shoulders down, tall, long neck, & stop slouching!