MELT Your Body Workshop at Pilates on Fifth!!

Pilates on Fifth is proud to be hosting our first MELT Method workshop at our New York Pilates Studio on Monday, March 22 at 11am!  The MELT Method was created by Sue Hitzmann, and she and the MELT Method were just featured on LIVE with Regis & Kelly with resounding success.  View the clip of the presentation here (www.meltmethod.com).  The class will be held in our spacious, sunlit, penthouse Pilates studio from 11am-12:15pm.

Now you can experience  this amazing method for yourself!  Discover the benefits of MELT Your Body:

  • Prevent pain
  • Heal injury
  • Erase the negative effects of aging
  • Improve efficiency and performance
  • Reduce stress

Register in advance and save!!  Only $15 if you register in advance, $19 on the day of the workshop.  Purchase your spot in the workshop online here (link to http://shop.pilatesonfifth.com/category_s/36.htm) email us at workshops@pilatesonfifth.com or call 212-687-8610.  Space is limited, so register soon to reserve your spot.

Join advanced MELT instructor Karen Wells from Karen Wells Fitness.  Karen teaches at Georgia State University and has taught MELT to the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the American Dance Festival, and Atlanta’s Several Dancers Core, just to name a few!  To learn more about MELT, go to www.meltmethod.com or check out www.facebook.com/karewellsfitness.

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March 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 1 comment.

How to maximize your Pilates personal training and group class revenue during a recession

During this tough economic climate, Pilates instructors find themselves with a smaller client base than they did two, even three years ago.  For instance, at our New York studio, Pilates on Fifth, our numbers are still down about 30% from what they were two years ago.  Ouch!!  But we are not alone.  We are fortunate to know Pilates studio, Yoga studio, and even spa owners around the country, and most are experiencing a similar situation.

So then, the big question is “how do we Pilates instructors retain our clients and thus maximize our revenue?”

Let’s start with what NOT to do!

1)  Take your discouragement with your personal financial situation with you to the studio, the home of your clients, the gym, etc.  After all, it’s PERSONAL training, and your personality is a large part of what helped you retain the client in the first place!  So remember, it’s your personality that could lose them as well.

2)  Talk about yourself and your personal life.  Now is the time to make sure that you are focused entirely on your client or the students in your class in their hour.  Phoning it in will not gain you clients or help you retain them either!!

3)  Raise prices unnecessarily in your attempt to make up for the decrease in clients.  While it might be necessary to raise prices due to increased costs you might be incurring, make sure you know exactly why you are raising the prices, and if you do, make sure that the service you are delivering eclipses the percentage increase tenfold!

That being said, let’s talk about the more positive side of what you SHOULD do!!

1)  Be completely invested in your clients’ progress in results.  If you don’t invest in them, how can you expect them to invest in you?  Take a moment to ask yourself if you’ve seen them make progress in the past two months.  If the answer is no, then think of what you can do to program more effectively.

2)  Mutually re-evaluate your clients’ goals.  Let them know that you want them to reach their goals, whatever they may be.  Additionally, by setting goals together, you can motivate your clients to make their appointments and show up both in body and mind to each and every lesson.  After all, we don’t want our clients phoning it in either!  Goal setting also allows you, the instructor, to create benchmarks which you can then use to chart your clients’ progress.  Once they see their own records of improvement, they’re more likely to keep at it.

3)  Bring your A++ game to the table every lesson or class, every time.  No excuses!  We recently had a conversation with our top instructors at Pilates on Fifth, and across the board, we noticed that regardless of teaching style, our best instructors are the ones who are excited about the hour, keep the energy up, and keep their clients moving.  Ironically, in doing so (and we all agreed on this!) the hour FLIES by… and that’s never a bad thing, right?

4)  Make it ENJOYABLE!!!  Exercise is one of the BEST forms of stress relief, so keep that in mind!

All in all, we’ve noticed that our best instructors have not only retained, but GAINED clients, even with this crazy economic climate.  Hopefully these tips we’ve provided will help others gain and retain lots of clients, both for group mat classes and for private lessons!!!

March 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

PILATES ADVANCED CHAIR EXERCISES

Kimberly & Katherine recently taught the PAI’s Advanced Chair Course, Chair Progressions & Challenge to a group of fabulous Pilates instructors here at our Pilates studio in NYC.  This was an in-house course for our newer and most promising instructors.  For Katherine & Kimberly, it was an absolute blast to teach, and the instructors thoroughly enjoyed it as well.  We currently have quite a few Pilates Reformer & Chair classes on the schedule at the studio, and so now participants can anticipate even more exciting variety with new chair exercises being introduced in almost every class.

Handstand 3 with Haley

(continued)

Pilates Chairs today have all been developed from Joseph Pilates original design of the Wunda Chair.  All chairs have a platform, with a pedal to which springs attach to either support body weight or create resistance.  Joseph Pilates original chair also double as actual furniture.  Click here for more information.

Torso Press Sitting 5 with Chie

(continued)

Advanced Chair exercises are a FABULOUS way to increase strength and power training in a Pilates workout.  Because chair exercises involve lifting your own body weight and a lot of isometric contractions, your heart rate escalates…. And we know what that means… more calories burned!!!  A skilled instructor can pace the workout appropriately, infusing chair exercises throughout to keep the heart rate at an elevated level throughout the workout.

Side Leg Extension with Katherine

Anyone interested in Pilates for upper body strength will LOVE the chair, as there are great exercises for the triceps, pecs, deltoids and shoulder girdle stabilizers.  The one arm push up, hand on chair is an excellent triceps exercise (and pec!), and the Twist does wonders for the deltoids and the shoulder girdle stabilizers.

We always get questions about the best abdominal exercises and best core strengthening exercises… Enter the Chair! Exercises like Tendon Stretch, Single Leg Extension and Handstand are AMAZING for both abdominal strength and core strength. More importantly, they work your body in different planes of motion, with forces coming from a different plane than usual, giving your neuromuscular system an extra workout as well!

Tendon Stretch with Kimberly

If you have a chair & don’t yet know the advanced exercises for the Pilates chair, visit www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com.  From the shopping cart, you can download full Pilates Chair Workouts or download Pilates Teacher Training Videos on the Pilates Chair.  For a monthly subscription, you can enjoy anytime, anywhere online Pilates workouts on the chair.  In the not too distant future, we’ll be focusing our energies on a “Build a Workout” feature, with blocks of exercises on all Pilates equipment, including the Pilates chair, that can be mixed and matched to create your own unique workout.

And don’t forget that for free Pilates workouts online simply sign up at www.ultimatepilateworkouts.com as a Basic Member and the Pilates videos will stream directly from your computer!

January 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 1 comment.

Katherine and Kimberly Corp on Ella Speakes!

Kimberly and Katherine Corp were guests on the Ella Speakes show on Monday, January 11, 2009.  They spoke about Pilates on Fifth and what is was like to own a small business in 2009, complete with the challenges and opportunities for growth and change that 2009 did provide.  You can find more information about her radio show, which is broadcast in the Oklahoma City area, at this link: http://radiotime.com/program/p_124073/Ella_Speakes.aspx .

Ella is one of the most gracious hosts we’ve worked with, and she generously informed her listeners of not only our studio, Pilates on Fifth, and our Pilates video podcast, but also our Ultimate Pilates Workouts website. We were able to speak in detail about everything our Pilates workouts site has to offer, and especially how to do Pilates correctly as well as Pilates for beginners.  We highlighted Pilates exercise routines such as the Pilates Morning Low Back Care Workout, My First Pilates Workout for Pilates beginners, as well as the Pilates Pink Ribbon workout, for survivors of breast cancer.  We stressed that the sort function on the site allows users to sort not only by duration, but also by LEVEL.  If you’re doing Pilates at home, you can select the level that’s completely right for you!

Finally, we encouraged Ella’s listeners to utilize our podcasts so that they know if they’re doing an exercise correctly.  From our podcasts page, look on the right side of the page for the list of exercises that have been covered.  From there, just look for the name of the exercise that you’d like to review!  It’s really that simple.

Ella was also kind enough to encourage her listeners to send in their testimonials, and even send us “before” pictures so that once you’ve embarked on your Pilates journey, you can follow it up with a fantabulous “after” picture with a story of your Pilates experience!  Feel free to friend us on facebook or send us an email at info@ultimatepilatesworkouts.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Many, many thanks to Ella Speakes for having us on her fabulous show!

January 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . 1, ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

Ground Reaction Force: The source of your power!

Newton's third lawDo you remember learning Newton’s third law in a science or physics class?  Don’t worry, we didn’t think so!  This is the law that states “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Well, in a nutshell, Newton’s third law explains ground reaction force.  When we run, jump, throw something, etc., we push against the ground to get power, and the ground returns the exertion of the force to help us get that power.  If this doesn’t make sense at first, imagine trying to throw a ball while treading water in a deep pool.  Clearly, without a stable surface to push against with the legs, a person in a pool could not propel the ball the distance he could if he were standing on firm ground.  In a pool, the legs and torso can do relatively little to help, so the shoulder, elbow and wrist joint must produce the majority of the force necessary to throw the ball.

If muscles in the hips and legs, particularly the gluteus medius, are weak or injured, then the scenario on land is not much better than that in water!  When we push against the ground and the ground returns the exertion, the joints of our bodies must transmit this force in the best anatomical and most efficient way possible.  In other words, all the muscles of the body must be recruited at the right time to accomplish the task at hand.  Muscles must “fire” sequentially to prepare the body to hit the ball, leap the hurdle or perform the double back flip with a twist.  Thus, if any muscle along the kinetic chain is weak, underused or injured, then the transmission of forces will be inefficient and faulty, and other body parts must take on more work to make up for the “weak link.”

Using the tennis serve as our example (see chart below) 54% of the ball’s speed should come from the trunk and back, hips and legs.  Fifty four percent!  This means that before the shoulder even becomes involved in the serve, the body from the shoulders down generates more than half of the power that gives the ball its speed.  Of course the remaining power comes from the upper body:  the shoulder joint is responsible for 21% of the power, the elbow, 15% and the wrist, 10%.

Ground Reaction Force for Tennis Serve_Pilates

If the gluteus medius is weak, the torso, back, shoulder, elbow and wrist compensate for the lack of power by taking on more of the force.  As discussed in a previous blog, the gluteus medius is a key stabilizer of the hip, especially when the weight is on one leg.  When “winding up” for the serve, the body’s weight is on the same leg as the serving arm.  The muscles are loaded with power and funneled into an explosive serve.  A weak gluteus medius results in decreased power and INCREASED potential for injuries.  In fact, research shows a weak gluteus medius contributes to shoulder and elbow injuries not only in tennis but in baseball, swimming and golf as well.

What can you do?  Well, strengthen your gluteus medius of course!  In our previous blog, we listed all the Pilates exercises that are great for doing just this, “Side Leg Lift Series,” “Side Lying Scissors,” “Side Lying Clam and Book,” etc.  But, unfortunately, if the firing pattern for hip abduction is faulty, the TFL (tensor fasciae latae) fires BEFORE the gluteus medius.  Ideally, the gluteus medius fires before the TFL, but the reverse is true for many people.  No matter how fabulous a Pilates instructor you are, teaching someone NOT to use a muscle is far more challenging then teaching them to use one!

This is where ActivCore is absolutely ideal!  Because the Redcord system allows for the off-weighting of clients, chronic “misfiring” during hip abduction can be remedied without complex imagery, vocabulary or body awareness.  The reduced load enables the client to perform hip abduction with the proper sequencing of muscle firing. Pictures 1 and 2 below shows the regular Side Lying Abduction exercise and pictures 3 and 4  shows the same exercise off-weighted. For more information on ActivCore or the Redcord system, please visit their respective websites at www.activcore.com and www.redcord.com.  If you would like to enroll in the teacher training for ActivCore, please visit our teacher training page for upcoming training dates!

activcore sidelying abduction Picture1activcore sidelying abduction Picture 2

activcore sidelying abduction Picture3activcore sidelying abduction Picture 4

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

The “other” Glutes!

side leg liftsIn our last blog, we discussed the merits, both aesthetic and anatomical, of a well developed gluteus maximus (click here to read!).  But since the “glutes” do get lopped together often in cueing, today’s blog will discuss their differences and similarities.

First of all, the gluteus maximus is the most superficial of the three and gives the buttocks is lifted, curvy shape (when well toned, of course.)  Underneath the gluteus maximus lies the gluteus medius and underneath that lies the gluteus minimus.  Their sizes are in the name: large, medium and small respectively.  If the gluteus maximus gives overall shape to the buttocks, then the gluteus medius and minimus can be said to give shape to the hip.

The gluteus maximus extends and laterally rotates the femur at the hip, and is responsible for bringing the torso upright from a stooped position when standing.  The gluteus medius and minimus ABduct the femur, but primarily stabilize the body when standing on one leg.  In fact, an often used “weak link” test to determine a weak gluteus medius is to see if the subject can balance on one leg.  If the gluteus medius isn’t firing properly, the subject can not stabilize the body on one leg at all.  Additionally, both the gluteus medius and minimus assist in medially rotating the femur.  However, once the hip is flexed to ninety degrees, the action of the gluteus medius shifts and it aids in laterally rotating the femur.

In Pilates mat work, the gluteus medius and minimus get their moments in the sun during the Side Leg Lift series of exercises.  This includes Side Kicks, straight forward Side Lying Abduction of the femur, Side Lying Scissors, Side Lying Bicycle, Banana, and the side lying exercises with the exercise band, Side Lying Clam and Book. However, this pair of muscles is always stabilizing in any standing exercise on the chair or cadillac and in footwork on the reformer, to name a few.

Because the Tensor Fascia Latae also abducts the hip, targeting the gluteus medius and encouraging it to fire first (as it should) can be challenging.   ActivCore and the Redcord system offer fabulous exercises for strengthening the gluteus medius safely and effectively.  Because of the unique off-weighting system, ActicCore provides direct, acheivable gluteus medius conditioning exercises that can help even the most body UN-aware person isolate the gluteus medius and strengthen it.  A strong gluteus medius improves Ground Reaction Force which helps distribute forces evenly through the body during actions such as the tennis serve (click here to read more) and the baseball swing.

More on the gluteus medius and Ground Reaction Force next time!

July 3, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 2 comments.

Tired of your Exercise Routine?? TRY SOMETHING NEW!!!!

stretchAt our Pilates Studio, we hear people complain often about being sick and tired of their workout regime.  There is actually a really easy remedy to this problem:  quit your typical workout regime for  a week or two, and try new things!!  With the beautiful weather comes the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, so why not take a walk, ride a bike, etc?  Better yet, why not try something you’ve never tried before?

Trying new things not only refreshes your mind, but also gives your overworked muscles a break, while introducing movement and stimuli to often dormant muscles.  Moving the body in planes of motion different than what you typically do can reap lots of benefits, including balancing out muscle groups as well as exposing you to a weakness that you may have not known that you had.  With that knowledge, you’ll have something new to target when you return to your regular fitness routine.

You will be amazed with the outcome if you give your mind and body a necessary break.  You’ll come back to your usual Pilates routine refreshed, revived, and invigorated!!

May 28, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

Shape Up for Summer – Best Pilates Exercises for the Butt

pilates blogThe season of shorts, short skirts and bathing suits begs one question: How do we get buns that defy gravity? Or, better yet, how do we get a well-toned butt quickly? We’ve listed our favorite Pilates exercises for beautiful backsides. Read on…

As far as Pilates exercises go, there are PLENTY that will help shape up your backside, as well as give you super flat abs in the process. The following “Butt Blaster” routine can be done in as little as ten minutes!

1) Hip Rolls

2) Hip Rolls with Heel Lifts

3) Shoulder Bridge (any variation will do…. Start with #1 & work up to the full exercise)

4) Watchdog

5) Short Plank with Leg Lifts

6) Swan Dive #2 (Slow Rock – One Leg)

7) Swimming #1 or #2 … your choice!

End with a nice cat stretch just to relax the muscles that have been stabilizing your spine throughout! If you have a question about any of these Pilates exercises, just watch any of our podcasts at www.pilatesonfifth.com/video.

For a great workout featuring the stretch band, try our “Strong, Svelte & Savvy – Legs & Butt with Band workout” on ultimatepilatesworkouts.com!

And to top it off, don’t forget your cardio!! The only way to truly reveal the beautiful muscles you’ve sculpted is to get rid of the superfluous fat that might be lying on top. And you don’t have to go crazy…. Just adding 20 minutes of cardio a day can do wonders! Click here for more information on 20 minute cardio workouts!

May 20, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

Shape Up for Summer – Legs

summer-legsWe had a glimpse of warm summer weather just ten days ago, and shorts, shorter skirts, and even bathing suits suddenly popped out of storage and onto people’s unsuspecting bodies.  Were your legs ready???  Here are some tried and true classical Pilates exercises, as well as a few new Pilates exercise variations to get your legs ready to meet summer head on.

Let’s start with the outer thighs.  For this area, we LOVE the Side Leg Lift Series.  It’s simple and easy, but oh so effective!!  For maximum results, keep your knee cap pointing straight forward so that you are targeting the outer thighs and not the front of the leg.  We feature this amazing leg series in many of our mat workouts, and even in our Bosu workouts too!  For some variety, try doing the series with an Exercise Band, as we demonstrate in our Stretch and Strengthen Workout

Next, let’s move to the inner thighs.  These little suckers are hard to tone, but they do respond VERY well to exercise, when we remember to use them.  One big hint for the inner thighs……  KEEP THEM ENGAGED IN ALMOST ALL YOUR PILATES EXERCISES!!  Truly, if you do Hundreds, Roll Up, Rolling Like a Ball, Side Leg Lift Series, Breast Stroke, etc. etc., concentrating on keeping your inner thighs engaged throughout, you will hardly feel the need to do a separate exercise just for them.  As we are all built differently, it is often helpful to think of squeezing a ping pong ball between the upper inner thighs rather than squeezing the knees or ankles together, as this may often take the femurs (thigh bones) out of optimal alignment.  If you love Pilates equipment like we do, try incorporating a small ball or a Pilates Ring into your workout to experience firsthand the wonders they can do for your adductors.  We recommend our Small Ball Workout, and our Sculpt and Shape Workout!!

And last, but certainly not least, we have the tops of the backs of the thighs, undoubtedly the hardest part to tone.  Exercises to tone the upper hamstrings will inevitably involve the gluteus maximus as well, so performing these exercises regularly will help your butt defy gravity too!  From our arsenal of classical Pilates exercises, we have Swan Dive, Swimming, One Leg Kick and Double Leg Kick to name a few.  For maximum effectiveness, make sure that you keep your knees straight when they are supposed to be straight!  It may help to imagine your leg growing longer as you lift the leg.  Additionally, for this hard to target area, incorporating an exercise band into your routine can reap rewards tenfold!!  The exercise band can provide extra resistance and create increased awareness to that stubborn little area.  Two suggestions:  Try our Strong, Svelte & Savvy Sculpt Lean, Lithe Legs Workout or our Strong, Svelte & Savvy Legs and Butt with Band Workout and you will see for yourself.

May 6, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.