The regular host was away at a funeral and Jennifer the weather gal was kind enough to step in and do Pilates while wearing a pencil skirt. Thank-you, Jennifer for being such a good sport! It was really fun!!
Posts Tagged ‘ab exercise’
Your Beach Butt Workout! Get your summertime legs ready for those short shorts. A quick workout to burn calories and tone the legs. And best of all? Stronger legs give you more endurance to do what you love to do. That’s how you can Healthy Your Way to Sexy! Enjoy!
You’ve been sitting too long and your back is aching. Go for a walk later but for now, with deadlines pending, take a few minutes (5 to be exact) and give your spine some TLC. And a happy spine is also a strong spine, so in case you need to get into something strapless soon it’s good to start with Healthy Your Way to Sexy!
Core strength has been a buzzword in the fitness world for quite a while but now we
are hearing that same buzz from the medical field. Clients are being referred to a Pilates program by their medical doctors who know that increased core strength can only mean decreased physical pain. So how do you know if core strengthening is for you?
Will Core Strengthening Help YOU?
- Have you experienced muscle spasms?
- Have you suffered an injury that has affected your ability to do everyday activities?
- Do you find it difficult to maintain excellent posture?
- Is it difficult to sit for long periods of time or does doing the same prolonged activity exacerbate your symptoms?
These are just some questions that are strong indicators that core strengthening could help you. Here’s why:
- Muscle spasms happen in the large muscles, turning the small, core muscles off.
- Injuries tend to make us rely on our largest muscles because they are the strongest, again, turning the small core muscles off.
- If you can maintain excellent posture throughout the day then your core strength is intact. Excellent posture uses your core muscles all day, every day.
- If sitting still hurts, that pain indicates that your spine is collapsing while you sit; pushing bony structure onto nerves or other bony structures instead of being lifted and supported. Pain while pursuing activities indicates that you lack core endurance.
Core strengthening, while beneficial to all, is especially beneficial to anyone who has every suffered an injury. As an interesting side note, core strength is not just about the spine and the stomach muscles. Every joint has core muscles; all the smallest muscles in charge of the balance and control of the joint are the core muscles. So any injury throughout the body benefits from core strength. Cool, huh?
At Pilates Teck we are able to accept your health insurance through our partnership with Santa Clarita Valley Therapy Services, a physical therapy clinic that offers the most up-to-date and thorough care in traditional therapy as well as occupational and aquatic therapy. Need to know more? Please call us! 661.260.1609.
I had two new clients today. I spent almost the entire hour with each of them working on standing up
straight. Both of them are post-rehabilitative clients that are coming to me for pain relief so there is no way of moving them forward without getting their alignment pretty close to perfect.
It is impossible to retrain any muscle if it is already too long or too short because of poor posture. For example, using the picture of a typical sway back posture to the right, the pectorals (chest muscles), the gluteals (tushie muscles) and the upper trapezius (back of the neck) are all going to be tight. And even though they are tight, they won’t be strong.
Also, using the picture can you determine which muscles are going to be over-stretched? The hip flexors (fronts of the hips), the abdominals, the lower trapezius and rhomboids (mid-back muscles) and the scalenes or the muscles at the front of the neck will all be over-stretched and saggy and weak.
So what is working to keep this woman vertical? This posture, along with other poor postures, pretty much allows one body structure to rest on top of the next without much muscular support. What happens to the muscles if you pull the alignment back where it should be? The short, tight muscles are lengthened and stretched. The over-stretched, weak muscles strengthen. In fact, the two women I worked with today had this sway back posture that we are talking about and after working on the improved alignment for just 5 minutes they both complained of muscles fatigue in their spinal muscles. Very normal. Those muscles will strengthen quickly and they won’t feel that muscle fatigue for long.
A quick word about the abs before I have to exit to wrangle a couple of dogs… In all poor postures, the abdominals are generally saggy and weak. While we have a nice bony structure towards the back of our torsos, the abdominal muscles are entirely responsible for keeping the fronts of our torsos intact (read: holding your guts in). Your tummy will be flatter with better posture because you actually made room for your organs by standing up straight. If you aren’t standing up straight, there is nothing holding your guts in.
The moral of the story? Stand up straight. When facing side to the mirror your ear should be in line with your shoulder, which is in line with the hip, which is in line with the ankle. No crazy curves with hips and spine and chin breaking that nice straight alignment. And then…. Suck in your guts. Literally.
Okay, so sit-ups cannot make you fatter but they can make you look fatter. omigosh…. who knew? (smiling smugly, giggling behind my hand, raising my hand, ooh, ooh, pick me: ‘I Did! I Knew!”‘)
So, I thought I’d share my non-rocket science info with you so you can do your sit-ups and NOT have to buy a larger pant size as you get stronger. It’s the little things in life that make us happy, right?
Next week, I’ll share the secret of life but for this week: plain old flat-tummy creating sit-ups. Here’s the deal. Your muscles will form in the shape you put them. If you pooch your tummy while doing a sit-up then you are forming a permanent poochy tummy. If you flatten your tummy while doing a sit-up you create a flat tummy. See? Not rocket science. Just a well-kept secret. It makes me, as a Pilates Instructor, feel important and needed.
Here’s how you do it. Engage your transversus abdominus muscle. (Yup, that muscle you were just talking about with your girlfriends at lunch today.) The transversus works like your mother’s girdle. It sucks everything in and streamlines and makes everything flat and sexy.
How do you engage it? That’s a little trickier.
First you have to find it. Cough. Laugh. Feel your stomach engage? That’s your transversus.
To engage it without hacking or guffawing then you can imagine that a 2-year-old is getting ready to punch you in the gut. So you tighten. Like a girdle. Remember this is a 2-year-old we are talking about so just a little tightening. You aren’t practicing to be the new circus act where they shoot cannon balls at your gut so don’t overdo it.
Now add this to your ‘girdle tightening’: Pull your abs away from your panty line at your hip-line. We are talking about the new ‘lower’ panty line here; not the panty line when you were pregnant or six-years-old. This isn’t something you do just when you do sit-ups. You can do this all the time and then never do a sit-up and still have flatter abs. cool, huh? But it is very important to do this when you are doing sit-ups or you are going to create poochy, bunchy ab muscles. I don’t want to hear it when you have to wear sweats everywhere because you have GINORMOUS ab muscles. Do ‘em right. Flatten your tummy. Look great. Teaser: secret to life in the next post…