What’s the difference between Level 1 and 2 Pilate’s class?

They say knowledge is power.

The more knowledge you have about how your body works and the Pilates method the more effective your training will be.

Level 1 Pilates covers not only the fundamental exercises it reviews anatomy, alignment and breathing techniques.  If you don’t understand how to identify and maintain neutral of the lumbar spine and pelvis then you definately should be in Level 1.  If you haven’t taken a Pilates class before then Level 1 is recommended.

There are several principles which takes a little time to sink in:

  • Connecting with your breath to activate the core, each exercise has an exhale and inhale phase, often beginners fail to breath effectively, even hold their breath;
  • Knowing what navel to spine means – it doesn’t mean draw navel toward your back as this triggars a spinal imprint, it means meet your navel and anterior aspect of your spine opposite the navel (L3-4) in the middle of your body – this encourages neutral alignment and activates the transverse abdominus;
  • How to move sequentially through the vertebrae – it’s surprising how most of us have chunks of spine that are stuck together, each vertebrae should move freely from it’s neighbour like a string of pearls;
  • With the above point, most of us have very stiff necks, learning how to initiate an ab prep with a head nod – moving chin to chest, lifting the head first then the shoulder blades off the mat – is often really complicated;
  • How to keep the ribcage and thoracic spine from ‘popping’ with arm/shoulder movements;
  • Keeping the thoracic spine and ribcage quiet or not moving it to achieve neutral of the lumbar;
  • Most of our shoulder blades or scapula are stuck from habitual posture and/or repetitive movements – getting the scapula to move, as well as, knowing how to anchor them so that the shoulder girdle is strong, properly aligned and stable takes a bit of time before attempting the advanced full body weight exercises;
  • How to achieve the proper range of motion of the limbs for your body during the dynamic Pilate’s exercises – if you push beyond your body’s limit, alignement is compromised and the exercise is lost one doesn’t feel the proper stretch or muscle engagement – it’s all about method – not aimlessly following your neighbour or instructor – you gotta feel it;
  • all of the above assists the body into achieving better agility (range of motion / flexibility) while holding and developing a rock solid core – we now know how and begin to move from a strong, stable center – flowing from one exercise to the other.

Once you understand the above and begin to move from a strong centered core then Level 2 is a snap!   Even those with injuries or medical conditions can eventually progress in the Pilates repetoire – keeping the movements within their body’s ability.  The point is if you’re not feeling it and Pilate’s is stressing your body instead of making it feel energized, just step it back and learn the fundamentals.  It shouldn’t hurt – it should be challenging, gentle and mindful exercise for profound results.

For further explaination of the above principles (if you are one of those cognitive learners versus a kinesthetic one) read the Stott Pilates five basic principles attached pdf document:

Pilates5-Basic-principles

To your health and wellness – Do Pilates – You will feel the difference.

Anatomically aligned posture - standing

Anatomically aligned posture – standing

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Pilate’s for Athletes

After playing hockey, golf or coming off the mountain do you ever feel like your body’s been through the ringer?  Like most athlete’s you just push yourself through the pain, test your limits and not worry too much about the after affects.  You’re tough and just accept some sore muscles and achy joints.  No pain no gain right?

You don’t have to feel like that – always in need of a good massage or hot tub.  Did you know Pilate’s training can help you move more efficiently so that whatever your sport you expend less energy, put less wear and tear on your spine and joints, so that  you have better endurance and focus.  WHAT?  Yeah.  Stop exercising to feel exhausted and beat up – exercise, play sport and feel energized.

Pilates is a revolutionary full body conditioning program, which focuses on training the mind and body to work together more effectively and efficiently. Pilates dramatically transforms the way the body looks, feels, and performs. It incorporates modern exercise science and rehabilitation principles, eliminating contraindicated movements while emphasizing neutral alignment, core stability and peripheral mobility. It builds strength without excess bulk. It teaches body awareness and good posture. Pilates improves flexibility, agility and economy of motion, and is a safe form of movement.  These factors are what also make it optimal for clients that need to rehabilitate injuries, thus why most good Physiotherapists are now trained in it.

Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, you can actually re-train your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion – invaluable for optimal sport performance  and optimal health.  In fact, all other forms of current exercise training now borrows from the Pilates principles and system.

Leg_Pull_Front

I have been an avid athlete for most of my life.  Growing up on a farm definitely contributed to the development of a natural athleticism – from building tree forts, picking rocks out of the fields, bringing in hay,  to chasing escaped cattle, fixing fences and tractors.  Attending a small school in this farming community, enabled me to participate in all of the sports offered. I eventually found my niche with Basketball.  After being offered a scholarship to a college in New York city and recruited by several Canadian universities, I chose to attend University of Toronto – mainly because they had the most number of players on our women’s national team and was one of the strongest teams in Canada.  And so I played competitive Basketball for the next 5 years of my life which truly was my job along with studies.

Of course playing within a varsity system with a demanding coach and trainer we competed, pushed ourselves to our limits, got our share of injuries and continued on thinking it was all good.  Not until graduate studies did I find the Pilates system and it rocked my world.

I thought I was a fit athlete – a basketball player, snowboarder and Ultimate player by that time – yet after training in the Pilate’s system I was humbled.  It changed my body.  My alignment morphed – my bones actually shifted and I was able to maintain neutral of the low back and pelvis in my sports and daily activities.   I developed incredible core strength, while my superficial muscles relaxed, lengthen and got leaner.  The years of holding a ready stance (i.e. defensive or athletic stance) took a toll creating a pattern of tight hip flexors and hamstrings with compensating low back muscles.  My shoulders and neck improved mobility and lost chronic tension.  It was a different world I was experiencing.

Now when I played sports I felt incredible.  I had seemingly boundless energy; could run faster, play longer, experienced less injury and no longer felt exhausted or sore afterwards. Not only could I  move better, I could focus more on the task at hand and that, to any athlete, is golden.

What I couldn’t at first grasp about the Pilates training is how subtle the exercises were.  It wasn’t pumping out push ups or burpees, running, cycling or cardio-ing to exhaustion.  Each exercise is seemingly gentle, yet when done correctly, creates a deep connection to the target muscle where a mere 8 reps are sufficient to make those muscles tremble. (1) (2)(3)(4) If you’re not feeling that muscle shake a slight readjustment in alignment and cueing will produce results.  As they say; it’s all about method!

Ab_Prep

That’s what I found so powerful about the Pilate’s method.  It makes you focus on your own body and how it’s suppose to work.  One is not just aimlessly imitating an instructor.  It focusses you on proper muscle sequencing, breath, contraction and relaxtion – producing a re-newed, re-organized body.  Try it I guarantee you will feel the difference.

Pilate’s classes now being offered at Revelution

Schedule a class for your sports team
& feel the difference!

 

1) Functional adaptability of muscle fibers to long-term resistance exercise  Shoep,e T.C., Stelzer, J.E., Garner, D.P., et al. Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA. Medicine and  Science in Sports Exercise. 2003 Jun;35(6):944-51.

2) Muscle fatigue: what, why and how it influences muscle function. Enoka, R.M., Duchateau, J. Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. Journal of Physiology. 2008 Jan 1;586(1):11-23.

3) Measurement of voluntary activation of fresh and fatigued human muscles using transcranial magnetic stimulation  Todd G., Taylor JL., Gandevia SC. Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. Journal of Physiology. 2003 Sep 1;551(Pt 2):661-71. Epub 2003 Aug 8.

4) The neurobiology of muscle fatigue: 15 years later. Barry, B.K, Enoka, R.M. Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado at Boulder, CO. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 2007 Oct;47(4):465-73. Epub 2007 Jun 6.

Pilate Revelution – Revelstoke’s new studio

Revelution_Logo

 

I just wanted to let you know about the new Pilates studio – Revelution.

Grand opening this Saturday.  Final finishing construction details are in the works.  Saturday at 1 pm is a free 1/2 hour Pilates demonstration with yours truly.  I hear it is already full with newbies.  You are welcome to drop by anytime and see the new place.

The stationary bicycles, TRX suspension systems, mats, foam rollers, thera-bands and all the other equipment are in place for a class of 15.  I trust the Pilates classes won’t have that many but there is enough equipment for that many bodies.
Go to: http://revelution.ca/classes/prices/ 
to see pricing details, classes offered, to schedule yourself into a class and even pay on line.

This is going to be the best location in Revelstoke for Pilates mat training.  See you there.

Best regards;

Samantha