Stay Fit before Wedding with Pilates- Intro

Pilates is a series of exercises built on the principles of Joseph Pilates to develop a strong “core” or centre of the body. The core consists of deep abdominal muscles and the muscles closest to the spine. Pilates elongates and strengthens, developing muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured – helping you to enjoy daily activities and sports with ease.

Pilates is a gentle, but deeply effective, safe, low-impact exercise program. Whereas other forms of exercise target the body’s stronger muscles, Pilate’s exercises work to strengthen the weaker ones too. The support muscles deep inside the body are strengthened, supporting the lower back and holding the body upright. The result is a strong balanced body, with better joint mobility and effortless natural posture. Some more aggressive forms of exercise can stress the body causing injuries, Pilates is an excellent tool for rehabilitation as well as prevention due to increased body awareness which enables you to make changes in your postural and movement habits enabling you to avoid the same injuries or problems recurring in the future.

Practiced faithfully, Pilates will produce numerous benefits. Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep, healthy breathing is a primary focus. Strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles, coordination-both muscular and mental, are key components in an effective Pilate’s program. Posture, balance, and core strength are all increased. Bone density and joint health improve, and many experience positive body awareness for the first time. Pilates teaches balance and control of the body that will dramatically improve all other areas of life.

The Eight Principles of Pilates

Pilates is a system of slow continuous movements which strengthen the deep structure of the body improving the way we sit stand and move around. The following principles are always applied:

-CONCENTRATION: The mind body connection helps build body awareness and control over our body.

-BREATHING: Lateral thoracic breathing (wide and full into the sides and back of the ribcage) is necessary to maintain our core connection. Breathing out on the effort helps to prevent injury.

-CENTERING: Building a strong centre or ‘powerhouse’ improves all our actions in a safe and efficient manner.

-CONTROL: The slower the movements the greater the strength we gain developing mastery over our body.

-PRECISION: Exact execution of the exercises is necessary to target specific muscles to gain maximum benefit.

-FLOWING MOVEMENTS: Working in this way targets the muscles eccentrically and concentrically resulting in balanced functional muscle training.

-BALANCE: Is an essential functional requirement. It requires our postural muscles to work effectively without excessive muscular effort.

-ROUTINE: ‘Practice and perseverance’ only with continual regular practice can the truly amazing benefits of the Pilates method be gained.

How to start Pilates- To align the body before the exercise:

NEUTRAL:

Neutral spine is the optimum position for the spine to be in to work most efficiently and safely. By strengthening the body around a neutral position we develop equal muscle strength increasing our power to perform everyday activities and reducing the risk of injury/back pain/posture deterioration. The principle is the same lying down, sitting or standing. Imagine your pelvis as a bowl of water.

Tilt it forwards the water will spill out of the front (the bottom sticks out)

Tilt it backwards the water would spill out the back (flattening the lower back)

The midpoint in between the two is your neutral spine, the water would be level and neither spilling out the front or the back.

CORE MUSCLES:

For the purposes of this CD we will focus on the Transverses Abdominus. (TA or belt muscle) The core muscles are stabilising muscles they hold your body upright. If the core muscles are weak, your body won’t work effectively, and other muscles have to overwork causing us to slouch and our backs to ache. Research has shown that the core muscles are endurance muscles and therefore the optimum contraction of this muscle is 30%.

SOFT V

In a good posture the shoulder blades remain flat against the ribcage and nestle down in the back into a soft ‘V’ position. These days of increasing stress and pressurised lives we tend to ‘carry’ our shoulders up around our ears. This creates loads of unnecessary tension and pain. Lift the shoulders up to the ears, draw them back slightly keep the shoulder blades flat (without pinching them together) as they slide down the back. (be careful not to force them as this will create more tension) Imagine they are made of ice cream and they are melting down into a soft ‘V’ position.