Pilates Excersise Programs

pilatesPilates is a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, which emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement. Pilates is one of the most popular exercise systems in the country.

 

 

It seems like everyone is either doing Pilates, or interested in starting a Pilates exercise program. Indeed, one of the best things about the Pilates method is that it works so well for a wide range of people. Athletes and dancers love it, as do seniors, women rebounding from pregnancy, and people who at various stages of physical rehabilitation.

 

PILATES IS AN ADAPTABLE METHOD

Modification is the key to Pilates exercise success with a variety of populations. All exercises are developed with modifications that can make a workout safe and challenging for a person at any level.

 

CORE STRENGTH

Core strength is the foundation of Pilates exercise. The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and doing their job, as they are trained to do in Pilates, they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and movement.

As you develop your core strength you develop stability throughout your entire torso. This is one of the keys to how Pilates helps people overcome back pain. As the trunk is properly stabilized, pressure on the back is relieved and the body is able to move freely and efficiently.

 

THE SIX PILATES PRINCIPLES

Centering, Control, Flow, Breath, Precision, and Concentration.

These six Pilates principles are essential ingredients in a high quality Pilates workout. The Pilates method has always emphasized quality over quantity, and you will find that, unlike many systems of exercise, Pilates exercises do not include a lot of repetitions for each move. Instead, doing each exercise fully, with precision, yields significant results in a shorter time.

 

BACK & STRETCH, STRENGTHEN PROGRAM

In Pilates there is a lot of attention paid to the abdominal muscles, but it is important to remember that The front and the back of the body support each other front flexion exercises should be balanced with stretch and extension in the back. Here are a series of Pilates mat exercises that stretch and tone the back.

 

EXAMPLES OF PILATES

In Pilates there is a lot of attention paid to the abdominal muscles, but it is important to remember that The front and the back of the body support each other front flexion exercises should be balanced with stretch and extension in the back. Here are a series of Pilates mat exercises that stretch and tone the back.

PLANK

plankPlank is a well-known exercise that we see in both Pilates and yoga. It is one of the most popular exercises for developing core strength and stability.

While Plank really targets the abdominals and shoulder stability, you will find that plank is an excellent way to get a full body challenge. In order to do Plank properly there must be integration of all the core stabilization muscles. The arms, gleuts, and legs are active as well.

Plank can look like the variation of a regular push up. But, in most cases, a regular push up entails much more strain in the upper body — especially in the shoulders and neck — than plank in Pilates or yoga.

You may want to begin with a modified version of Plank and work up to the full version, especially if you are weak in the upper body or have neck strain issues.

 

SAW

sawSaw is an intricate back and hamstring stretch. I like it a lot because it is a wonderful way to experience oppositional stretch – with the chest and upper back pulled open by the front and back arms reaching in opposite directions. As you become more familiar with the exercise, the oppositional dynamic between the front shoulder and the opposite hip is also very interesting.

Saw is an important lesson in pelvic stability as well. While there is a lot of activity in the upper body, the abdominals must keep the hips still and even throughout the exercise.

 

 

Saw Preparation

Sit up straight on your sit bones.
Your legs are extended in front of you, about shoulder width apart. If you have tight hamstrings you may need to prop your hips up on small lift, like a folded towel.
Arms are stretched out to the side, even with your shoulders.

 

SPINE STRETCH

Pilates mat exercise, spine stretch, is useful anywhere in a workout. It is a great stretch for the back and the hamstrings, as well as a moment to center oneself before moving on to more challenging exercises.

 

pilates_spine_stretch_1Sit up tall on your sit bones

 

Your legs are extended about shoulder width apart, and your feet are flexed.
Reach the top of your head to the sky but let your shoulders stay relaxed. See image at right.
Inhale and extend your arms out in front of you, shoulder height.
A modification here would be to place the fingertips on the floor in front of you between your legs.

 

Exhale as you lengthen your spine to curve forward. You are going for a deep C-Curve. (Click the image to your right, and click “next” to see image two of the c-curve.)
Allow a deep release in the hips as you keep your shoulders down and reach your fingers toward your toes.
Inhale and reach a little further as you enjoy the fullness of your stretch.
Exhale and initiate your return by using the lower abdominals to bring the pelvis upright. Roll up through the spine to sitting.

 

WALL ROLL DOWN

Wall roll down is a simple way to practice using your abs to achieve the articulated curve of the spine that we use so much in Pilates. It stretches the back and the hamstrings, as it works the abdominals, and teaches good posture. What’s better than that?

rolldownThis is a good way to train for more challenging exercises like the roll up, where you also use the sequential activation of upper and lower abs to curl and un-curl the torso.
Modify wall roll down by only going down as far as you are comfortable, bending your knees slightly, and leaving your arms at your sides.

To Start:

Stand tall against a wall. Leaving your body on the wall, walk your feet six to ten inches away from the wall.
Pull your abdominals in.
Keep your shoulders away from your ears, your chest wide and your ribs down as you raise your arms straight up over head.

 

THERE ARE MANY OTHER VARIATIONS ON PILATES. PLEASE DISCUSS THEM WITH YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPIST.

Your physical therapist may also suggest a personalized exercise program for you. This can help reduce the likelihood of your back pain recurring and can also improve your overall health.

We have close working relationship with Proactive Physical Therapy, Body Central, & Athlon Physical Therapy. Please contract their respective offices for more information on how to get started on your low back program.

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