Bodytonic Pilates

Vintage Pilates Video

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Advanced Short Spine Variation

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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.

The Keys to Health – Diet, Exercise, and Altruism?

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altruism“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.

Holiday Special! $50 off all Intro Packages!

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Just Breathe!

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whale-just-breathJust breathe! But, how, what does this look like, and why should I do it?

We will go over the how and what in a bit, but let’s start with the why.

Why Breathe? (Aside from the obvious)

Focused, deep breathing has been associated with a multitude of health benefits:

  • reduced stress
  • reduced depression
  • reduced anxiety
  • reduced insomnia
  • enhanced immune system
  • decreased pain

Here is a NYT article that briefly reviews some of the benefits of breathing. My favorite part of this article is at the end where it explains 5 deep breathing techniques that you can easily practice. Also, here is another article from Harvard Health Publications that again briefly reviews the benefits of breathing and provides some tips to incorporate a breathing practice into your daily life.

What does proper breathing look like.

In general, when you inhale (inspiration) your rib cage draws upward and expands three dimensionally. When you exhale (expiration) your ribcage drops and deflates 3 dimensionally. When I say 3 dimensionally, I am referring to the anterior, posterior, and lateral surfaces of your ribcage.

How do I breathe? What muscles are involved?

Did you know that there two different levels of inhaling and exhaling. These levels of breathing are known regular or passive inhaling/exhaling and forced or active inhaling/exhaling. Inhaling and exhaling, both in regular and forced forms require different structural movements and therefore different muscular actions. The following video summarizes these concepts nicely. Note how transversus abdominis facilitates forced expiration and how the neck muscles, sternocleidodmastoid and the scalenes facilitate forced inspiration.

And here is another video the reviews the mechanics of breathing in a more detailed fashion.

Enjoy and breathe on!

Vlog – Ab Series!

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This vlog post is of one of my favorite abdominal series. For my advanced ladies this series usually serves as a warm up, while a modified version might serve as an exercise in a beginner or intermediate class. Notice how slow and controlled these ladies are moving. The results of this style of movement are enhanced neuromuscular connection, more opportunity for healthy skeletal alignment, increased muscular endurance, and increased physical awareness/mindfulness. Additionally, slow and controlled movement is generally a safer method of moving compared to quick and sloppy. No sloppy Pilates here!!!

More on the Sacroiliac Joint – SI Joint Dysfunction

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More Arabesque!

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Yes, I am a dancer. Yes, I have an affinity for exercises that incorporate lengthening one’s self and balancing in odd positions. With that said, here is another arabesque variation, this time on the Stability Chair. This variation can be easily modified with increased/decreased resistance and repetitions to make for either an intermediation or advanced exercise.

Enhance your Running Performance with Pilates

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eve's lungeAccording to Christine Carbo, of Women’s Running, Pilates cross training enhances runners performance for the following reasons:

  • Increased core strength
  • Improved postural balance
  • Reduced injury risk
  • Increased muscular endurance and speed
  • Quicker and more comprehensive recovery
  • Improved breath control
  • Improved balance

Read more details here.

Arabesque/Bicycle Mashup

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This vlog is sort of an extension of my previous vlog post on Upstretch. Arabesque is a dynamic exercise and one of my favorites because you achieve both strengthening and stretching during practice of it. Also the dynamics of the movement provide tons of areas where one’s alignment can go wrong, so there is always a lot to focus on. Bicycle is also one of my favorites simply because it is challenging and can get your heart rate up. For those of you who are familiar with conventional gym exercises, Pilates Bicycle on the reformer, is kind of like a really ramped up mountain climber. We see a bit more Arabesque in this mashup than Bicycle, so I’ll have to make a post of Bicycle and some fun variations of it in the future.

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