PILAT-EASE: How Does ‘Core Work’ Work?

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If I had to choose one primary focus of Pilates that differentiates it from other forms of exercise, I would say that it is the focus on core strength or working from the core.
By increasing core strength we are often able to:

Improve our posture – because if your core is strong you might not ever need a corset
Increase or at least maintain our balance and stability – because balance comes from our core

Your core is essentially everything a corset would cover. It includes your abs, parts of your chest, your glutes and your back.

Decrease low back pain – because low back pain often comes from imbalances/weakness that working from the core can strengthen/correct

Strengthen and tone our abs – it takes a combination of aerobic activity and diet to get rid of belly fat and if you don’t do that the difference might not be visible, but core exercises will help to tone abdominal muscles

Improve your golf game/baseball swing – because if you swing from your core you should find you not only have more control, you also have more power in your swing

One of the great things about core work is that you can do much of it at home without the expense of any exercise equipment. Chest lifts, chest lifts with rotation, planks and push ups are great examples of challenging core work you can do on your own.

Today’s Exercise

Modified Chest Lift with Rotation (in Tabletop)

One sometimes overlooked muscle group is our obliques. Oblique exercises target what many refer to as “love handles.”

  • Begin lying on your back, bring your legs in to tabletop (a 90 degree angle).
  • Lift your head neck and top of your shoulders off the floor rotating your torso so that the right side of your chest comes toward your left knee (knees do not move) on an exhale. Come back to center but do not lower your head, neck and shoulders back onto the mat on an inhale. Rotate the left side of your chest toward your right knee and exhale.

(On your exhale imagine you are wearing a corset and the corset is getting tighter, on the inhale imagine the corset is still and you are not allowing your rib cage to expand up toward the ceiling)

  • Alternate between right and left sides, 10 times on each side for a total of 20

Modification – you can rest your head between sides, allowing your neck to rest and reducing the challenge to your abdominal muscles slightly

Pilat-Ease: How is Pilates Different From/Similar to Yoga?

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There are many differences/similarities between Yoga and Pilates. Here are just a few:

  • Pilates focuses on the mind, body connection as well but it does not usually have a spiritual aspect to it.Yoga focuses on the mind, body, spirit connection, sometimes including meditation. Pilates focuses on power coming from the core. Yoga can but does not always do the same.
  • There are many different types of yoga and styles of Pilates and both continue to develop as people learn more about the human body and spirit. There are Pilates instructors who believe there are wrong ways to practice Pilates and I’m sure there are yogis who believe there are wrong ways to practice Yoga, but while Yogis accept there are many methods of yoga practice, there are many Pilates teachers who believe there is only one way to practice Pilates and it is their gurus way. Continue reading “Pilat-Ease: How is Pilates Different From/Similar to Yoga?” »

Pilat-ease: “The Hundred” to Warm Up

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One of Pilates most popular exercises is “The Hundred.” It is a challenging exercise that in classic Pilates is used as a warm up for the abdominals and lungs.

Preparation

Do this exercise on a solid surface – think the floor, not a couch or a bed – you will likely want to use an exercise mat or a couple of towels for padding Continue reading “Pilat-ease: “The Hundred” to Warm Up” »

PILAT-EASE: Some Basics in Breathing

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What is breath? According to dictionary.com, the first three definitions of breath are as follows; 1. the air inhaled and exhaled in respiration, 2. respiration, especially as necessary to life, 3. life; vitality. Functionally, breathing oxygenates your blood.

In order to function properly, your body needs a constant level of oxygen circulating in the blood to cells and tissues. When this level of oxygen falls below a certain amount, hypoxemia occurs and you may experience shortness of breath.  So, the most important thing to remember while doing anything is to breathe. Continue reading “PILAT-EASE: Some Basics in Breathing” »

Pilat-ease: Take Your Triceps to Work

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Take 1# or 2# weights to work and leave them under your desk. If you forget your weights, try using two bottles of water.

It may sound silly, but many of us don’t make time to do simple things for ourselves throughout the day and a few minutes can make a big difference over time, so I suggest using your scheduling software to schedule an regular appointment for your triceps – could be just before lunch and just before you leave for the day. Continue reading “Pilat-ease: Take Your Triceps to Work” »

Pilat-ease: Build Your Biceps at Work

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Take 1-lb or 2-lb weights to work and leave them under your desk. If you forget your weights, try using two bottles of water.

It may sound silly, but many of us don’t make time to do simple things for ourselves throughout the day and a few minutes can make a big difference over time, Continue reading “Pilat-ease: Build Your Biceps at Work” »

PILATE-EASE: Build Your Biceps & Triceps

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When you have to sit at a desk most of the day, how do you build your biceps and triceps?  We’ve got a few tips that you can at the office or at home.

Take 1-lb. or 2-lb. weights to work and leave them under your desk. If you forget your weights, try using two bottles of water.

Use your scheduling software to schedule an appointment for your biceps. It  could be just before lunch and just before you leave for the day. Continue reading “PILATE-EASE: Build Your Biceps & Triceps” »

Pilates Beginner Techniques

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Grab a mat and hit the floor! Heather shows you how to do 4 basic moves at your home. Follow right along with the video! Continue reading “Pilates Beginner Techniques” »

PILATE-EASE: A Wrist Workout for Work

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Sitting at a computer all day is hard on bodies, particularly your hands. Just a few minutes a day can help prevent damage and injury. All you need to do is take 1-lb. or 2-lb. weights to work and leave them under your desk. If you forget your weights, try using two bottles of water.

Use your scheduling software to schedule an appointment for your wrists – maybe just before lunch and just before you leave for the day. Begin by doing stretching daily and strength exercises every other day. Continue reading “PILATE-EASE: A Wrist Workout for Work” »

PILATES: Who and What Is It?

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(This is the first in our new blog series on Pilates that we’re going to call Pilate-ease. Pilates teacher Heather Neff will offer her simple training and tips so that you can do the moves wherever you are — at work, at home, in the park or while visiting your mother-in-law.)

Pilates is a system of exercise that focuses on strength coming from the core. The system was created by Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara and began as “contrology.” Since his death Continue reading “PILATES: Who and What Is It?” »

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