Get a Stronger Core, Improve Body Awareness and Enjoy Better Support for a Healthy Back and Better Body Mechanics with the Foam Roller Fitness 1 Knee to Chest Core Challenge Exercise
Foam roller exercises are excellent opportunities to improve body awareness and activate the deep muscles throughout the core (Abdominals and Back) that provide stability and support for good posture and healthy movement.
The foam roller is a fun and useful fitness tool that can be used as a warm-up, workout and cool-down! It’s easy to adjust the challenge by making small adjustments to your alignment and technique so you can work at a pace that’s appropriate for you. This how-to exercise video is an excerpt from the Foam Roller Fitness Core Challenge Workout Virtual Training Program.
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Johanna Quaas: Guinness World Record: Oldest Gymnast of the World
Enjoy this moment of movement motivation and inspiration! If you’ve been considering new recreational sports, but think that perhaps you’ve waited too long in life and you’re too old to participate, check out this video clip of gymnast Johanna Quaas who currently holds the Guinness World Record as the oldest gymnast in the world!
Continue Reading ‘A Moment of Movement Motivation and Inspiration – You Are Never Too Old to Take Up a New Sport
Practicing hanging exercises and handstands can be a valuable part of your Pilates (and Fitness) workouts. We typically spend a lot of time developing strength for the arms and shoulders. Are we really making progress with this goal? We may have nicely toned arms, but do we have good functional movement and an upper body we can depend on for a healthy, active life?
· If you were being chased by a bear in the woods, do you think you have enough upper body strength to climb up a tree?
· Do you have the hand and grip strength to hold on to a tree branch and dangle in mid-air?
I realize that for most of us we’ve got a pretty low probability of running into a bear in the woods, but does that mean we should skip out on the important training benefits of hanging? And for the arm and shoulder strength that hanging exercises develop right-side up, handstands help develop upside down.
Continue Reading ‘Are You Ready To Start Incorporating Hanging Exercises and Handstands Into Your Pilates Workouts?
Rotisserie Pulse: A Core Training Exercise from Pulse Power™ The Daily Dozen – 10 Minute Workout
This is one of my favorite twisting exercises to strengthen the oblique abdominal muscles and improve body awareness for efficient, sequential rotation of the spine. A lot of the times I see clients initiate rotation for Abdominal exercises by pulling with the head, arms and shoulders. BUT, the arms have nothing to do with getting stronger Abs! Yes, perhaps if you do enough repetitions, eventually you’ll start to feel that your Abdominals work too, but they’ll work better if they initiate the movement. Watch this video demo for twisting exercise tips to improve your core support.
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Hinging exercises for healthy hips are an important part of Pilates training to develop healthy movement habits. We have lots of joints that hinge – our elbows, knees, and hips are the big three, (and then lots of little finger & toe digits…) and while they’re ALL important, I believe understanding how to get a great HINGE from the Hips is crucial for good Pilates technique, and really good movement habits for the pelvis, hips, and legs, for everything we do.
So many people are “grippy” at the hips because the muscles they’re using, and the way they think about hinging is actually restricting movement instead of helping it.
When you’re doing Pilates (or any other activity) where is your focus to lead the movement of the hips to hinge forward?
- Do you hinge forward by pulling the front of the hip (ASIS) closer to the thighs?
- Do you lead by moving the shoulders and upper body first?
These seem to be the two most typical methods clients use thinking they’re doing a great hinge. But neither of these really helps you execute fabulous functional movement from the hip.
Here Are 3 Training Tips to get a great Hinge from the Hips:
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Improve Your Foot Fitness to Stay Safe and Injury-Free with Better Ankle Movement
Healthy feet and ankles aren’t just for athletes… Everybody needs to pay attention to foot fitness to stay healthy, active, and pain-free, and having a good hinge from the ankle is what helps us balance better, and push off the ground to propel the body forward when we move.
Yes, calf stretching plays a part in effective ankle hinging, but if you think about it, getting a good stretch is a side benefit of finding a good free hinge action from the ankle joint. Using the springs on the Reformer, Tower and Chair in Pilates is a great way to free up the ankle and get your “hinge” moving well. Pilates exercises like Footwork, Stomach Massage, Running, Tower, Monkey and even some Matwork are perfect opportunities to practice a good flexed foot!
Here is ONE Simple Secret to Improve Your Ankle Mobility for a Better Hinge:
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As I was writing my Top 5 Tips for Gardening without Back Pain article, I realized how important talking about squatting and lunging is for gardeners. You can’t safely get up and down off the ground to dig in the dirt without being able to get up and down off the ground! And in some form or fashion this will involve the hips, legs and back having both the strength and flexibility to do a full, deep squat and deep lunge.
Are you training your deep squat muscles and lunging muscles in the gardening off-season? Or just expecting them to kick in and start working when you start doing the million-and-one deep squats and lunges you have to do when Spring arrives and it’s time to get out to the yard to start planting and pulling weeds?
Continue Reading ‘Getting Ready for Gardening Season: The Importance of Deep Squat Exercises and Lunges in Your Pilates Training Program
Top 5 Pilates Training Tips to Stay Healthy and Help Avoid Knee, Hip and Back Pain While Having Fun Working in the Yard and Gardening
It’s that time of year again; Mother Nature is calling us outside to play in the garden. It’s time to pull weeds, plant and clean things up so that we can enjoy a lovely yard and watch things bloom and grow.
I know that even with my small city lot, it usually takes me two or three full weekends of solid effort for Spring clean-up, just to get the weeds pulled, shrubs trimmed and everything ready for the planting and growing season. I wish I had more space for fruit trees and a big vegetable garden, but right now my yard is filled with perennial flowers and herbs – things that don’t require too much time and effort for me to maintain and enjoy.
But even so, after a day in the yard, my feet, hands, legs and back always seem to remind me that I’ve done something out of the ordinary and found and used a few muscle groups that don’t get worked in my normal everyday Pilates and weight room workouts. So how do we stay healthy and avoid knee, hip and back pain while having fun working in the yard and gardening?
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Fight boredom, have a blast challenging your body and improve your Pilates technique with a foam roller. This workout will boost your fitness and help you make the most of your Pilates workouts.
We are only limited by our imagination when it comes to modifying exercises to challenge the body. When I teach Pilates I do not add “toys” to distract from the work, but to enhance the understanding of how to tweak the body and improve Pilates technique.
When using a foam roller, magic circle or any other prop the goal is to find, feel and fine-tune muscle activation for better stabilization or movement so that when you get back to doing the “traditional” exercise without the prop you will be able to do it even better with all the right muscles working!
I thought it would be fun to see how many different ways I could find to use the Foam Roller for the Pilates Mat Roll Up exercise. I have one or two ways I always use it when I teach a Roller-themed Mat class, but was confident that there were probably a lot of other ways it could be used. So I grabbed my roller and a piece of paper and plopped myself down on the mat to play. With about 5 minutes of thought, and about thirty repetitions (it was a nice Ab workout!) I came up with 10 different ways to use the Foam Roller for the Roll Up.
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A Mind Shift to See Your Beautiful True Self
Awareness is such a cool thing! We all know the world is a little warped when it comes to looking at physical beauty. Our perception on beauty and perspective needs a serious mind shift.
Models in magazines are itty-bitty, making us regular-sized gals feel like the curves that we’ve got or the “meat on our bones” makes us ugly and gives us the perception that we’re “fat.” Or worse, that without breast implants, Botox, or other beautifying surgeries to change how we look, we’re not pretty.
Maybe we were teased growing up about our freckles, dimples, color of our hair, how our legs looked….
I can remember in Junior High having to scoot around in the lunchroom because one of the popular boys was always making comments about my butt!
What we see in ourselves and what others see in us is sometimes is quite different. I recently wrote an article about Features vs. Flaws. Take a moment and think about what you see when you look at yourself?
Continue Reading ‘Beauty and Perspective