How Posture in the Work Place Effects your Workout


This Washington Post Article provides some great tips for easily creating a more ergonomic work space. Generally, the primary benefit of an ergonomic work environment is that it assists workers in correcting posture which prevents the types of aches pains which tend to nag people, such as neck, back, shoulder, and hip pain. In conjunction with reduced aches and pains, improved posture also facilitates more biomechanical efficiency.

“One of the things that separates elite athletes from the rest of us is that they move efficiently, Fidler says. Top athletes can generate twice the force with the same body. Or they might use half the energy to stand up straight. In other words, they can use the remaining energy for the task at hand, such as winning an NBA title.”

Achieving postural integrity and biomechanical efficiency are two of the core tenets of Pilates. In addition to a Pilates class, You can check their website and try these tips for creating a more ergonomic work environment:

  • Sit/lean back in chair, remind yourself to maintain a lumbar curve.
  • Keyboard placement should allow for straight wrists and elbow at sides while typing
  • Place monitor so that it allows good neck posture, not too high, not too low, straight ahead. Hint, most laptops sit too low, shortening the anterior neck muscles and lengthening the posterior neck muscles.
  • Move around! Don’t stay in one position for too long.

The 5 Primary Roles of Muscles


In my previous post there was brief mention of agonist versus stabilizing muscles. When referring to agonist and stabilizing muscles we are referring to the type of action the muscle performs. When it comes to this level of functionality, there are five primary roles that are referred to:

  • Agonist
  • Accessory
  • Antagonist
  • Stabilizer
  • Neutralizer


Agonists are the primary muscles responsible for movement via isotonic or isometric concentric contractions. Isotonic contractions create a movement, isometric contractions maintain a position. A concentric contractions refers to a muscle that is producing power as it’s fibers shorten versus eccentric contractions where a muscle produces power as it’s fibers lengthen.

Example: The hamstring isotonically and concentrically contracts to flex the knee joint.


Accessory muscles assist agonist muscles.

Example: The quadricep is an agonist knee extensor and an accessory hip flexor.


Antagonist perform the opposite action of the agonist.

Example: If the hamstring is the agonist for knee flexion, it acts antagonistically to the quadricep as it eccentrically slow down knee extension. Think about what it feels like to slowly rise up from a squat.


Stabilizers prevent movement of a joint, usually via an isometric contraction

Example: the quadriceps may stabilize the knee in an extended position of permit plantar flexion of the ankle. While standing, rise up on to your tippy toes, do you feel how your quadriceps work to stabilize your knees.


Neutralizers prevent a motion, so another specific motion can occur. Unlike stabilizing muscles which act on joints, neutralizers act of other muscles.

The example found at http://www.JointHealthGuide.org is fundamentally important: The biceps can flex the elbow and supinate the forearm. If only elbow flexion is wanted, the supination component must be ruled out. Therefore, the pronator teres, which pronates the forearm, would contract to counteract the supination component of the biceps, and only elbow flexion would occur. Neutralizers act to cancel out an unwanted movement. Try doing some biceps curls in your palms facing up versus facing down, notice the difference.

Stabilizers and Neutralizers both use co-contraction to prevent motion and have an antagonistic relationship.


Is Pilates Easy? Will Pilates Give Me a 6-pack. Plus More, Answered.


“I read an article several months ago where a few celebrity trainers were spouting off about workouts that they hated. Pilates made the list with one trainer even claiming that most Pilates teachers wouldn’t be able to handle the monkey bars. Well, as a physical therapist and Pilates teacher, I’d wager that he’d probably have difficulty handling my resistance bands and 1 pound weights because I can pinpoint someone’s weak-spots pretty quickly, but that’s besides the point.” (Wells, 2016)

Yes. So much Yes.

Wells discusses some interesting Pilates/fitness misconceptions in this article. She defines the core, static versus dynamic stretching (holding a stretch versus moving stretches), and agonist/accessory muscles versus stabilizing/neutralizing muscles.

Read more here!

The Benefits of Pilates – Move Like a Cat, Plus More


According to this Time article Pilates has a multitude of benefits:

  • MOVE LIKE A CAT, i.e., increased sensory awareness or mindfulness
  • improved posture
  • improved overall body control (ever knock yourself over by kicking or punching too hard in kickboxing class?)
  • reduced low back pain
  • increased flexibility
  • increased trunk stability
  • increased athletic performance
  • reduced injury risk
  • improved mood
  • reduced stress (tip: break up your workday and swing by BTP for a midday pilates class, AKA – stress buster)
  • more symmetrical body
  • weight loss (strength training elevates your resting metabolism rate, burn more calories while you sleep!)

Pilates not painkillers the best cure for backache


According to the World Health Organization the lifetime prevalence of low back pain is 60-70%. This is significant. Unfortunately, for too many people the first intervention for back pain are NSAIDs. While these drugs may help temporarily, they do little to address the underlying issues that cause back pain. A Sunday Times article recently reviewed a study that suggests that the most effective treatments for back pain are exercise and psychological therapy, with exercise being used to treat the underlying condition and psychological therapy used to assist with pain management.

“Anti-inflammatory pills such as ibuprofen are widely used as a first choice for patients with lower back pain. However, scientists found that they made so little difference that most people would not notice the effect. Exercise is usually recommended instead, which for some patients could include Pilates, yoga or stretching.”

Read more here.

Transversus Abdominis Tutorial


Those of you who have taken Pilates at Bodytonic are use to receiving lots of cueing for Trasversus Abdominis (TVA). TVA is the most frequently referred to “core muscle”. BTP students know that TVA wraps laterally around ones abdomen from the bottom of the ribcage to the crest of the pelvis and that it works to stabilize the spine by compressing the abdomen and also aids in forced expiration. For some, this description “clicks” quickly, but for those of you who would like a more thorough description with visual aids, here is video that may help:


Tips for exercising in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s



  • “Exercise in intense bursts at 80 to 95 percent of your max, interspersed with recovery pauses to allow your heart rate to return to normal.”
  • “Aim to exercise five times a week with one day reserved for high intensity cardio (at least 45 minutes).”
  • “Your exercise regimen should also include balance and flexibility training.”


  • “Continue training with weights three to four times a week, and up the cardio to five times a week, reserving one day for rest.”
  • “In terms of strength training, remember quality over quantity. Focus on doing the movements slowly and with control.”
  • “Maintaining or improving flexibility will be crucial in the years ahead.”


  • “Focus on saving your back by strengthening your core muscles and keeping good posture. Yoga and Pilates are helpful for both.”
  • “You will also need additional recovery time after a hard workout and a dose of supplements (click over here for details about the latter), so go easy — aim to exercise more frequently but with a moderate level of intensity.”
  • “Ideally, get in a half-hour of cardio every day.”


  • “Weight training is a must, ideally three times a week, alternating between upper and lower body muscle groups and using light weights.”
  • “Incorporate balance exercises and stretch, stretch, stretch.”
  • “Aim for three days a week of moderately intense cardio.”

Read more here.


In case of any emergency situation during exercises call Coast2Coast First Aid/CPR – Scarborough.


Vintage Footage – The Wunda Chair


Make More Time – Become a Morning Person


In theme with our recent articles on making time for exercise in our busy lives, is a recent Huffington Post article with 6 tips to become a morning person. If unlike myself, you don’t have a toddler who wakes you up between 5:00am – 6:00am, these tips may come in really handy.

  1. Calculate your ideal bedtime.
  2. Identify your stay-awake triggers.
  3. Create a morning to-do list.
  4. Reward yourself.
  5. Exercise
  6. Ask yourself, “Why do you want to do this?”

Read more here.

The Power of 30-minute Work Outs


“We were surprised when we found out that the 71 minutes a week not only prevented a loss of fitness,” Church says, “but it actually resulted in an increase in fitness.”

One of the biggest obstacles to exercise adherence is lack of time. Now that I am mother to an on-the-go toddler I understand this so much more than ever. Juggling family time, work obligations, your children’s health and education needs, plus your own health and self-care needs can sometimes seem like an impossible scheduling dilemma. However there is good news; some researchers have found that your workouts don’t necessarily need to be an hour plus in duration to receive health benefits. The study referenced here followed a group of women who exercised for 25 minutes, 3 times per week.  At the end of this study all of these women saw improved cardiovascular fitness and decreased blood pressure.

Are you among the many people who have a hard time fitting in your work outs. If so, consider trying 30-minute Private Training Sessions at Bodytonic! Not only are these sessions easier to fit into your busy lives, they are also easier on your wallets.

30 minutes sessions at Bodytonic range from $40-45 per session.

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