Pilates is a unique set of principles and movements done mainly of the floor, focusing on alignment and strength of the shoulder and pelvic girdle. Pilates create long, lean, strong and perfectly alignment bodies.
The Pilates A,B,C
Whether you are side lying, prone, supine or on all fours it is essential that you are in your neutral spine.
Aim to keep the head stacked correctly on top of your spine (chin in to keep the back of the neck long) and relaxing the tops of your shoulders away from your ears, so the shoulder blades slide down your ribs cage and back, this will also activate the stabilizing muscles in the shoulder girdle.
Then focus on finding a natural curve in your lower spine, in most people this creates a small gap between lower back and the floor in a supine position (lying down - face up).
The correct breathing takes time to master. Always breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth (through pursed lips). Feel your breath travel in to your rib cage almost like you are breathing into your arm pits, during the breathing cycle you should feel the chest rising and falling more than the belly. In Pilates we use the inhalation to prepare the body for movement and exhalation at the point of greatest effort of the exercise.
In Pilates we center the body by mainly focusing on the Pelvic Floor and Transversus Abdominis.
Pelvic floor is located low down in the pelvis and is like a sling under the base of your pelvis, the Transversus Abdominis or TA is locate higher up around the lower abdominal area and acts like a corset around the lower torso.
The pelvic floor muscles also inhibit the bladder - to activate, create the sensation you are stopping yourself passing urine (drawing up from low down in the pelvis). The transversus abdominis muscles activate when we create a slightly hollowing or drawing in at the lower abdominal area, like a corset being tighten around your waist.
When activating these muscles you are looking to master a level of around 30% of the maximum contraction possible (100%). This is optimum and most effective in spinal stabilization and your body can also, over time learn to activate these muscle groups subconsciously.
5 simple exercises to help with mobility and strength.
To further benefit from Pilates check out Gareth's teaching schedule and try a class.
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Gareth is a UK born fitness guru, presenter and blogger based in Toronto. He has been working in the fitness industry for the past 12 years.
In addition, he has been helping people overcome negative thought patterns and beliefs that limit them from achieving their goals.
Gareth currently teaches group exercise classes and coaches small group training at Goodlife Fitness. He also works in fitness education with the Kbell Training Academy.
Find his class schedule here.
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Pam is a registered Yoga instructor, Thai Yoga Massage practitioner and Personal Trainer based in Toronto. With six years experience in the field of fitness, she specializes in working with pre and post natal clients, seniors, rehabilitation and those with specialized needs.
She believes every moment should be embraced and loves helping others live free of physical, emotional and mental limitation. She also loves to cook!
You can check out her food blog recipes and Yoga class schedule here.
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