Apr 30

The foundation of the Pilates Method is the Pilates Mat Work that can be progressed to address the functional needs of the most elite athletes and regressed to address the functional needs of their extended family.

The Pilates Mat work leverages your body weight to emphasizes kin-esthetic awareness, the ability to focus on the sensation of muscular contraction and movement to improve control. Although this technique may be unfamiliar at first, with practice, anyone can master this mind-body focus. Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara developed a series of Pilates mat work exercises, and Pilates introduced 32 of them in his book “Return to Life Through Contrology” in 1945.

In the Pilates technique, movement begins from the abdomen. The central muscles of the abdomen and back we now call the core, he referred to as the Pilates Powerhouse.

Holding muscular contractions — beginning with the abdomen — is a key to the technique. Learning to control the muscles Pilates called “the powerhouse” creates a foundation for strengthening the entire body. Performing these exercises improves flexibility and joint mobility, according to the American Council on Exercise.

Other Pilates techniques use specialized equipment, and were designed to strengthen the body from the inside out. and include: The Pilates Reformer, Pilates Chair, Pilates Barrel, Pilates Cadillac, Pilates Wall Unit, Pilates Arc,

The Original Pilates Mat exercises are designed to balance muscles, build perfect functional symmetry, prevent injury and require nothing other than an exercise mat.

Pilates Technique

Pilates emphasizes kinesthetic awareness, the ability to focus on the sensation of muscular contraction and movement to improve control. Although this technique may be unfamiliar at first, with practice, anyone can master this mind-body focus. Pilates and his wife Clara developed a series of mat work exercises, and Pilates introduced them in his book “Return to Life Through Contrology” in 1945. In the Pilates technique, movement begins from the abdomen. The central muscles of the abdomen and back we now call the core, he referred to as the powerhouse.

via Holding Muscular Contractions With Pilates | LIVESTRONG.COM.

written by palmbeach

Apr 01

SPINAL ARTICULATION:  FLEXION                                                                            

Basic to Advanced

Contraindications:  Neck and lower back injuries; osteoporosis

Starting Body Position:  Seated

  • Basic:  Neutral Spine with feet or toes in contact with floor; hands behind the thighs
  • Intermediate:  Neutral Spine with toes off of floor; hands clasp the shins above the ankles
  • Advanced:  Spinal Flexion with forehead to knees and heels to buttocks; feet off floor; balance on buttocks; hands clasp the shins above the ankles
  • Scapula protracted and depressed

Action

  • Regression:  (Omit rolling back) Exhale to tilt pelvis posteriorly by flexing the lumbar spine; inhale to axially elongate into neutral spine
  • Basic & IntermediateInhale to axially elongate into neutral spine; exhale while rolling back through vertebrae no further than to the scapula; hold onto core engagement to back up into seated position
  • Inhale to axially elongate while balancing on buttocks
  • Advanced:  Inhale to roll back; exhale to roll up

Repetitions  6x

Purpose

  • Articulates spine and massages the paraspinal muscles; reduces lumbar hyperlordosis
  • Strengthens powerhouse muscles
  • Stretches muscles of the upper back between scapula
  • Improves balance

Watchpoints

  • Shoulder elevation
  • Lack of core strength:  Unable to roll-up completely with fluidity or kicks legs for momentum
  • Lack of spinal flexibility:  Unable to roll through the vertebrae (back thumps against floor)
  • Avoid rolling onto neck and head

 Cues

  • “Imagine your spine rocking like a rocking chair.”
  • “As you roll up put on the brakes and balance on your buttocks.”
  • “Smoothly roll through your spine as if it were a wheel.”
  • “Use your powerhouse to get you back up.”

 

written by palmbeach

Jan 10

Intermediate to Advanced

SPINAL ARTICULATION:  FLEXION WITH HIP DISASSOCIATION

Starting Body Position:  Supine

  • Basic: Knees bent with feet flat on floor; legs neutral; arms by sides with hands behind thighs for assistance through “sticking” point
  • Intermediate:  Legs parallel with flexed knees and feet flat on floor; arms by sides
  • Advanced: Legs extended along floor with feet in Pilates First Position; arms lengthened behind head

Action

  • Basic & Intermediate:  Exhale while lifting the head, neck, and shoulders with chin positioned over chest
  • Articulate the spine from the floor one vertebrae at a time rolling up to seated; lengthen arms toward feet
  • Inhale to axially elongate to prepare for the roll down
  • Exhale while engaging the core and articulate the spine down to the floor one vertebrae at a time
  • Advanced:  Inhale to lift arms and head to ceiling, exhale to articulate spine up to seated maintaining

c-curve.  Inhale to initiate roll down maintaining c-curve, exhale to complete articulation lengthening spine along floor into neutral, reaching lengthened arms over and behind head to Start Position

Repetitions  5 – 8x

Purpose

  • Articulates spine
  • Strengthens powerhouse muscles and neck flexors
  • Shoulder Disassociation
  • Stretches the paraspinals, scapula adductors, and hamstrings (advanced level)

Watchpoints

  • Chin jutting or neck strain
  • Shoulder elevation or protraction
  • Hyperlordosis of lumbar spine during roll up
  • Lack of core strength:  Unable to roll-up completely with fluidity or lifts feet from floor
  • Lack of spinal flexibility:  Unable to roll through the vertebrae or unable to control the rate of descension
  • Lack of ribcage stabilization when arms extend over the head (spine arches from floor)

Cues

  • “Anchor your legs to the floor and grip your buttocks as you roll up and down.”
  • “Imagine your spine as a wheel and roll it up and down one bone at a time.”
  • “Feel your lower back being pressed into the floor as you roll up and down.”






written by palmbeach

Jan 06

Shelly Power co-founder of the Polestar Pilates Center, in Miami FL

PROGRAM DESIGN Choosing the best possible sequence of exercises for your clients’ specific needs is addressing how to layer the intensity of the program. United Pilates’ Mat  Blog will provided you with the knowledge and skill to design a program that dresses the lifestyle need of each individual client.

Client Assessment is key to obtaining the necessary information to design a client’s program and to guide the client toward their goals in the safest and most effective manner.

New clients should start with a solid foundation upon which to then layer movement patterns to build intensity.   Of course, the Principles of Pilates must be thoroughly understood by the client and then continually reinforced throughout each and every session.

Clients come from many different backgrounds, levels of fitness, health histories, physical abilities, and personalities. Even the most elite of athletes will need to start their first session with the fundamentals. Once the groundwork has been laid, then the unique program design will reveal itself depending upon the client’s goals, abilities, and health history.

As a general rule of thumb, teaching the client alignment and trunk stability via Core Control would be the safest way to begin the first session. Trunk stability encompasses maintaining neutral spine with core engagement (or core control) and then layering movement from the legs while emphasizing hip disassociation, and then movement from the arms while emphasizing shoulder disassociation, and eventually, integrating core engagement with leg and arm movements simultaneously.

written by palmbeach

Jul 24

Pilates-Mat-The-Hundred-AdvancedThe Hundred is a classic Pilates Mat exercise.   It is one of the first exercise performed at the beginning of many Pilates Mat class to warm-up the abdominals, lungs, muscles and get your blood oxygenated.

It requires that you coordinate your breath with the pulsing  movement of the arms (100 times 10×10) while engaging your core and extending your legs away from your body.   Be warned the Pilates Mat exercise  it is much to difficult for beginners in its classical form with the legs lengthened out at a 45 degree angle to the floor for 10×10 = 100 reapportions.

Pilates-Mat-Hundred-BeginnerA qualified Pilates teacher will modify the Pilates Hundred  to address the fitness level of each student.

If you begin to shake and loose control you need to modify the exercise to prevent strain and possible injury.


SPINAL ARTICULATION:   FLEXION WITH SHOULDER DISASSOCIATION

Contraindications:  Neck, shoulder, lower back injuries, and osteoporosis

Starting Body Position:  Supine

  • Basic:  Knees and hips flexed 90 degrees with feet off of the floor (“table top”)
  • Intermediate: Knees extended with 90 degrees hip flexion
  • Advanced:  Legs extended 45 degrees or less hip flexion (eyes and toes on same level)
  • Trunk flexion; top of the head to the ceiling; eye gaze to the lower abdominals
  • Arms by sides of trunk with palms facing the floor
  • Basic students or special populations may need to imprint lumbar spine to mat (classical) or place feet on floor to begin with.

Action

  • Pump arms firmly from the shoulders up and down 6 – 8 inches above the floor
  • Inhale for five pumps of the arms
  • Exhale for five pumps of the arms

Repetitions Build endurance to “100 Breaths” (10 sets of 10 pumps for 10 breath cycles)

Purpose

  • Warm-up:  Pumping of the arms increases circulation of freshly oxygenated blood
  • Strengthens powerhouse muscles
  • Shoulder Disassociation; conditions posterior shoulder musculature
  • Pelvic-lumbar stability
  • Strengthens neck flexors

Watchpoints

  • Chin jutting or neck strain
  • Shoulder elevation or protraction
  • Hyperlordosis of lumbar spine for intermediate and advanced levels
  • Flapping from the wrists or elbows vs pumping from the shoulder joint
  • Lack of core strength/control:  No height from the upper trunk or head; movement from head and trunk

Cues

  • “As you exhale, pull your navel through your spine.” 
  • “Top of your head to the ceiling; look at your belly and scoop it behind your hip bones!” 
  • “Imagine you are slapping your arms and hands into water.”
  • “Use your powerhouse to squeeze every atom of carbon dioxide from your lungs!”
















SPINAL ARTICULATION: FLEXION WITH SHOULDER DISASSOCIATION

HUNDRED

Basic to Advanced

Contraindications: Neck, shoulder, lower back injuries, and osteoporosis

Starting Body Position: Supine

  • Basic: Knees and hips flexed 90 degrees with feet off of the floor (“table top”)
  • Intermediate: Knees extended with 90 degrees hip flexion
  • Advanced: Legs extended 45 degrees or less hip flexion (eyes and toes on same level)
  • Trunk flexion; top of the head to the ceiling; eye gaze to the lower abdominals
  • Arms by sides of trunk with palms facing the floor
  • Basic students or special populations may need to imprint lumbar spine to mat or place feet on floor

Action

  • Pump arms firmly from the shoulders up and down 6 – 8 inches above the floor
  • Inhale for five pumps of the arms
  • Exhale for five pumps of the arms

Repetitions Build endurance to “100 Breaths” (10 sets of 10 pumps for 10 breath cycles)

Purpose

  • Warm-up: Pumping of the arms increases circulation of freshly oxygenated blood
  • Strengthens powerhouse muscles
  • Shoulder Disassociation; conditions posterior shoulder musculature
  • Pelvic-lumbar stability
  • Strengthens neck flexors

Watchpoints

  • Chin jutting or neck strain
  • Shoulder elevation or protraction
  • Hyperlordosis of lumbar spine for intermediate and advanced levels
  • Flapping from the wrists or elbows vs pumping from the shoulder joint
  • Lack of core strength/control: No height from the upper trunk or head; movement from head and trunk

Cues

  • “As you exhale, pull your navel through your spine.”
  • “Top of your head to the ceiling; look at your belly and scoop it behind your hip bones!”
  • “Imagine you are slapping your arms and hands into water.”
  • “Use your powerhouse to squeeze every atom of carbon dioxide from your lungs!”

written by palmbeach