Shave the Head, Forward Reach, and Boxing with Rotation are 3 of my favorite arm exercises. They are nothing new or terribly innovative, but they are dynamic and they feel great. Shave and Forward reach are especially great because they really challenge your back extensors and Boxing will provided a surprisingly good workout for your quadriceps and gluteals. The finger flip I incorporate during Forward Reach is not a component of the classical choreography, but rather hints at my early gymnastics background, muscle memory ya’ know.
Did you know that the original Trapeze Table was a modified hospital bed? Here’s the proof!
This is a great article that goes over the importance of a well balanced diet and exercise routine. So many of us get stuck into eating limited food groups, i.e. limiting our mineral and vitamin intake. The same goes with exercise, I often notice people who just do cardio or just do strength training when both forms are important to complete health. This article reviews one of the key benefits of strength training, increased resting metabolic rate. Also, it reports on a study of a high protein diet. It’s important to note that this high protein diet was not high in protein because it was low in carbohydrates. I’ve mentioned this in previous articles, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains are a necessary component to cardiovascular health. Rather than a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, the diet was low in fat and high protein.
Check out this really cool vintage Pilates video featuring JP himself! Clients at Bodytonic will recognize some variation of most of these exercise with exceptions at 4:18, 5:43, and 14:30. However I am strongly consider adding 5:43 too the mix. 🙂
“There’s good evidence that saying motivational things to yourself can benefit your running, cycling or swimming performance,” McCormick said. “Planning what to do if you encounter various problems can also be very valuable.”
At times all of us find ourselves hitting the wall while exercising. It feels like you just can’t go on, you just can’t focus, or you can’t stop thinking about what’s for dinner.
This NYT article, while directed towards distance athletes, provides some good tips on pushing through the wall that can be applied to any form of exercise. Do note that optimal long-term performance requires self awareness which involves interfacing these visualization techniques with listening to and honoring your body’s limits. Finding this line is no easy task, but is very rewarding in the long run as it allows you to push yourself towards your goals without increasing risk of injury.
What do you do to prepare for your workouts? Do you fuel up on a certain type of snack, listen to energizing music, or hydrate with water or an electrolyte drink. Along with having regularly scheduled work outs, also having pre exercise rituals helps to increase exercise adherence. For ballet dancer’s preparing point shoes can be a big part of their pre dance ritual. Check out this video of PNB’s Kaori Nakamura working on her point shoes.
The Stomach Series is one of my favorite Pilates exercises. It is dynamic, fun, invigorating, and easily modified to suit different strength levels. The exercise involves practicing 5 or more abdominal exercises consecutively. While this exercise does wonders for strengthening all of your abdominal muscles it is also practiced in a very safe position for the vertebral column.
This video is of an advanced variation of a crowd favorite Pilates exercise, Short Spine. I think Pilates practitioners love this exercise because it allows for a deep stretch and elongation of the back muscles. Like many classic Pilates exercises, the movement in this exercise involves vertebral column loading while in flexion. It should be noted that loading in flexion IS NOT the safest position for your spine. Therefore, exercises that involve loading in flexion should not be performed by everyone, and when performed they should be practiced sparingly, cautiously, and with focus. Furthermore, exercises in vertebral column flexion should be balanced with those performed in extension. During your next workout, note how many exercises involve vertebral column loading.
P.S – Please forgive my fly-aways and early 2000s workout attire. This video was made in 2014 and was originally produced for my eyes only so that I could check out my own form from various angles.
“When Canadian tenth-graders in a recent study began volunteering at an after-school program for children, the high schoolers lost weight and had improved cholesterol profiles compared to their non-volunteering peers. (Even in Canada, teenagers have cholesterol problems.) In the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers concluded, “Adolescents who volunteer to help others also benefit themselves, suggesting a novel way to improve health.”
In another randomized controlled trial at Washington University in St. Louis, older adults who began tutoring children through a program called Experience Corps demonstrated improvements in stamina, memory, and flexibility, as well as levels of depression. When I spoke with Kim last year, he attributed at least part of those gains to the effects of a sense of purpose in life.” (Hamblin, 2015)
Read more here.
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