Add power to your push-ups with Pilates and ActivCore©

We’re sure you’ve all heard some version of the phrase “if you’re stranded on a deserted island, how do you keep your muscles bulging and ripped? Push-ups, of course!”

When push-ups are done correctly (i.e., pulled in abs, strong gluts, energized legs, etc.), they really do tackle every major muscle group. Even if you start with your knees down and progress to more advanced versions, push-ups help strengthen your core. But don’t forget, a strong core can help strengthen your push-ups!

Whether you already have excellent push-ups and are looking for a challenge or are looking to gain strength to be able to DO a good push-up, the ActivCore FEX© system can be your solution. Our clients from weight lifting men to willowy women have seen dramatic strength improvements using ActivCore©.

The instability of the cords adds two new and important dimensions to your push-ups: 1) keeping the cords still as you perform the push-ups triggers deep stabilizers of the shoulders and torso to fire, increasing both shoulder stability and core strength and 2) maintaining alignment of the torso three-dimensionally (preventing sagging or piking hips, rotating pelvis and rocking side-to-side) further strengthens the core and creates important muscle memory for proper alignment in other endeavors. Exercises range from simple, rehabilitative movements to intense, core strengthening workouts.

As dancers, both of us have always struggled with upper body strength and neither of us has ever enjoyed working on upper body strength. Thus it has remained our “weakest link” all our lives! We got the ActivCore FEX© system for our studio on January 9th and WOW! The increase in strength is dramatic, and we’re both enjoying the journey, too!

And for you men out there, if you want to see some “real men” practicing on ActivCore©, click on this link and watch the video of Norwegian skier Kjetil Andre Aamodt, the only Alpine skier to win 8 Olympic gold medals in addition to many other titles, using ActivCore© to train.



March 10, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. Leave a comment.

ACTIVCORE…. Versatile, Adaptable, Remarkable!

After introducing ActivCore to our studio in early January, we have been both amazed and swept away by how swiftly we are getting stronger, correcting bad habits, and seeing amazing results.  Our clients are seeing significant results too, and as more clients and instructors try ActivCore for the first time, two new questions are emerging:

1) Do you have to be really strong to do this?

2) How is ActivCore different from TRX??

We decided to answer both questions simultaneously, as they actually are interrelated. In a nutshell, the answer to the first question is a big “NO”! And in response to the second question, the two biggest difference between ActivCore and TRX are the following:

1) The Scientific Knowledge of Neuromuscular Activation (Neurac.)

2) The Bungees (See video Japanese PT.)

However, it’s not that simple.

For starters, ActivCore has a presence in three markets:

a) Rehabilitation (using the Neurac Technique)

b) Wellness/Pilates/Fitness

c) Athletic performance

In a rehabilitative setting, there is obviously no expectation of a certain strength level, and this extends to the Pilates and wellness applications as well. With ActivCore as well as Pilates, we can just as easily train someone who has very weak core strength as we can someone with a super strong core. TRX is comparable to ActivCore only in the area of athletic performance. Some of the exercises even look similar. Just after watching a few TRX exercises, you can see how the core is continually challenged by lifting the body’s own weight while combating multi-directional forces with the suspension system. There is no doubt that TRX practitioners will get SUPER strong, but it IS up to the user to know his/her own “edge,” and hopefully to know ahead of time whether he/she has the appropriate strength of any given exercise. With ActivCore, however, trainers have the luxury of a system that allows for off-weighting so that the right muscle is engaged in the right amount at the right time, with no risk for injury. Because of this, ActivCore will increase core and muscle strength (which will of course enhance athletic performance) while being mindful of limitations or weakness in any joint.

Refer to the chart below for the comparisons.



Multi-planar movement harnessing body’s own weight enhances core strength

Multi-planar movement harnessing body’s own weight enhances core strength

Workouts can be customized quickly by adjusting the system

Workouts can be customized quickly by adjusting the system

Able to isolate & stimulate impaired neuromuscular connections, usually stabilizing muscles

No applications for neuromuscular dysfunction

Bungees allow for “off-weighting”, which permits 100% pain free exercises while stimulating the target muscles

No off-weighting option available, and pain is often present if core muscles and stabilizers are not strong and functioning optimally

No risk for injury, as the muscles never hold more than their load threshhold and key stabilizers are activated for optimal results

Great risk for injury, as weakness may cause the load threshhold to be too low for a given exercise, and fear or neuromuscular dysfunction can cause the wrong muscles to engage

Movement targeted at the neuromuscular and physical level

Movement targeted at the physical level only

System includes tests to discover “weak links” in muscle chains

System not designed to include muscle impairment tests

ActivCore has spent the past 10 years specifically developing a technique that, combined with the Redcord tools, is able to isolate and stimulate impaired neuromuscular connections, usually in stabilizer muscles. TRX is not designed to nor has the scientific research behind it to do this. While it may get into some closed kinetic chain exercises, it is extremely limited in the loading and unloading compared to the bungee, and it does not feature an application for neuromuscular dysfunction.

So How Do these Bungees work?

The bungee itself allows any patient or client to do these exercises or stimulate the specific muscles in a pain free environment by un-weighting themselves. Once they isolate the specific muscle and do the exercise pain free, they immediately begin stimulating the brain to fire those muscles again. Then they can continue their progression to strengthen that restored neuromuscular connection even more. We have heard through the grapevine that the TRX can and has actually hurt people if their core strength and joint stabilizers are not strong enough to perform the exercises. With the ActivCore system of Redcord, the bungees to make it very easy and pain free, eventually strengthening the body (both physically and on a neuromuscular level) to the point where it doesn’t need the bungees anymore. Moreover, the muscle imbalance tests which are part of the ActivCore system allow the instructor to assess the weak links and thus choose exercises to restore and strengthen the weak or dormant muscle on a neuromuscular level, so now those stabilizers are firing at 100% instead of 40%, for example.

For more about the scientific knowledge of neuromuscular activation (Neurac):

Neurac is an innovative stabilization exercise and muscle activation therapy technique developed in Norway. Experience in 22 countries is a testament to the effectiveness of Neurac in the identification of muscle imbalances and activation of deep stabilizing muscles to restore core stability and address a wide range of neuromuscular dysfunctions. The Neurac technique utilizes highly specialized Redcord equipment and its unique and highly effective because it allows trained professionals to evaluate core and joint instability in clients of ability levels and facilitate precisely graded stabilizing exercises that activate and strengthen weak or inactive muscles, restore proper function, and reduce muscle pain or discomfort.

It’s no wonder that the Pilates world has embraced ActivCore with open arms!!! ActivCore is AMAZING at filling in the gaps that Pilates leaves, which makes Pilates and ActivCore so complementary. ActivCore is a fabulous addition to Pilates on Fifth, and to any Pilates studio! For information about ActivCore certification in New York, email or 212-687-8885. Outside New York? Email



January 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. Leave a comment.

Top 10 Reasons Pilates on 5th clients love ACTIVCORE®

So, after two wonderful weeks of ActivCore® integration at Pilates on Fifth, we thought that we would survey our clients and see what they had to say about it.

For starters, everyone “loves it”! Because the same comments kept popping up over and over, we’ve compiled our own Top Ten List…. TOP TEN COMMENTS WE HEAR ABOUT ACTIVCORE®:

10. “Wow! I really feel my core!”

9. “It’s so intense!”

8. “I didn’t know I had those muscles!”

7. “It’s like my lower back pain just dissolved”!

6. “I can feel myself getting stronger!”

5. “It’s so intense!”

4. “Why am I shaking after only 4 reps?”

3. “I’ve never felt my inner thighs work like this!”

2. “I feel like it’s correcting all my bad habits!”

1. It’s so intense!”

And there you have it. With one system, you get a core strengthening, ab flattening, muscle targeting, inner thigh shaping, lower back pain relieving, super-intense workout. Who could ask for anything more?

January 23, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. Leave a comment.

We have a new love in our lives: ActivCore. It’s AMAZING!!!!

Many of us here at Pilates on Fifth just went through the training, and the system is truly revolutionary — you can’t escape your core! Gone are the days of “I don’t feel this at all”, or “Where am I supposed to feel this again?” The nanosecond we performed even one exercise in the ActivCore repertoire, we knew—beyond a shadow of a doubt—what muscle was being targeted. And this is the same with everyone…. No one has to tell you!

activcorefex-029It may sound a little hokey, but watching people experience ActivCore for the first time is a little like observing evangelical ministry. Across the board, there is an “I BELIEVE” moment at which people either discover a muscle that has been dormant all too long or feel a muscle being worked more intensely than they ever have. Read more testimonials here!

We Pilates folk naturally love ActivCore because of its incredible focus on, you guessed it, the core! We also love that it emphasizes the deep stabilizers of each joint to reinforce proper biomechanics. This attention to alignment and proper firing patterns makes us very happy, but others have a different reason for loving ActivCore. The rest of the bunch love it because the work is so incredibly intense. SUPER intense. Because the target muscles as well as the deep stabilizers of both the joint and the core work synergistically in any given exercise, the muscle work feels compounded — exponentially! Click here for some videos!


In the essence of safety, your instructor will start you off with a very do-able version of an exercise. However, think before you say, “That’s too easy, can you make it harder?”, because the answer is “YES, WE CAN! AND WE WILL!” And you will feel it! It’s an intensity that we rarely get to experience – so targeted, so “core-centric” (our new word for the blog), and so different from anything you’ve ever done before!

activcorefex-053In fact, with ActivCore, the possibilities abound. Even with one simple exercise, there are dozens and dozens of ways to make it easier, harder, more intense, less intense, etc. Because of this, users build strength very quickly! Charting progress is fun and easy, because it’s both swift and remarkable.

We now have three ActivCore stations  at our studio, so if you’re in or around New York, come on in! Just mention that you would like to include ActivCore in your session. You can even mix and match and do a little Pilates spiced with a little ActivCore. We will customize it for you.


If you are not in NYC, just visit There they list the other studios that feature this amazing new system, and they also have all sorts of groovy information and videos about the entire program. If you would like your studio or the studio you attend to look into acquiring ActivCore, we’d love to hear from you and will be happy to answer questions! Just reach us at or call 212-687-3787.



January 16, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, Postings. Leave a comment.