Watch Ultimate Pilates Workouts on television!

tvUltimate Pilates Workouts is today’s leading internet resource for instructional Pilates exercises and full-length workouts. The website was designed to promote cost-effective Pilates with convenience. Ultimate Pilates Workouts offers an ever-growing library of full-length, well-rounded workouts accessible to a variety of levels of Pilates lovers. Since membership accounts exist online, users can login from any computer and pick the perfect workout for their day. Enjoy professional Pilates instruction from the convenience of your own laptop or desktop computer! Or, better yet… enjoy Ultimate Pilates Workouts on your own television screen!

Laptop and desktop computers come in all shapes and sizes these days. In fact, it has become increasingly more impressive just how skinny, compact, lightweight, etc, etc… (you name it!) computer designs have evolved. However, as a do computer screens. Compact computers are excellent for those of us on the go! It’s easy on the back and shoulders, and paired with wireless internet it brings modern convenience quite literally to our fingertips. However, all of us at Ultimate Pilates Workouts understand that this can bring extra challenge to your Pilates workout. The Pilates method is already difficult, with a myriad of details to recount while supporting our pelvis, circling our arms, softening our ribs, connecting our inner thighs and relaxing our shoulders down. We’re not interested in exercising your vision. Why add extra challenge with a miniature computer screen to follow along with for your favorite Pilates mat workouts?

Forget the inner thighs! Well, not entirely… Rather, let’s also connect our laptops! Let’s connect our laptops and desktop computers to our televisions to make Ultimate Pilates Workouts come to life in our living rooms! Connecting computers to television screens is quick and easy! Follow these simple steps:

1. First you need a video cable for making the physically connection.

Most computers have an S-Video port that can be connected to the S-Video input of your TV screen using a very cheap S-Video cable (it’s round with 4 or 7 pins).

For better picture quality, you should connect the computer to the TV using standard VGA ports or via the DVI to HDMI cable provided your TV supports these ports.

2. Open the “display settings” in your Vista computer and activate output to the TV screen. You can either mirror content of your computer on the TV or extend the display just like a dual monitor screen.

3. Pick up your TV remote and switch to “External Inputs” from the menu. You will need to change the default “Video 1” to a different selection which may be “HDMI 1” or “Video 2” depending on how you have made the connection.

Important: Make sure you connect the cable to the TV before turning on the computer as sometimes it may fail to recognize external display.

For easy-to-follow instructional videos on how to connect your laptop to your computer, check out these two fabulous clips!

Click here for laptops!

Click here for desktops!

May 11, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

Key to the Core II: Core is more about just the Abdominal Muscles

core-strengthThe other day we googled “Pilates and lower back pain”, expecting to find a myriad of articles about how Pilates helps alleviate lower back pain.  To our surprise, the article which really captured attention was titled, “Is Pilates Bad for your Back?” (click here for the entire article with comments.) Most of us know that if Pilates is done incorrectly, then it may exacerbate lower back pain, but this article delved further, into Pilates’ emphasis on the role of the Transversus Abdominis and Multifidus.

When we first read the article, our initial reaction was a bit of incredulousness, as we thought that surely Pilates instructors both realize the importance of the full gamut of core muscles and cue accordingly, but the writers of this article seem convinced that Pilates instructors ONLY cue the transversus abdominis.  NOT SO, we say!!  Let’s face it, can you do ANYTHING just by engaging your transversus abdominis and deep pelvic floor muscles?  Aside from “drawing in” your abs and drawing up your pelvic floor muscles (as in Kegel exercises), the answer is unequivocally “no!”, as neither the Transversus Abdominis nor Pelvic Floor Muscles have any directional pull on bones.  They are muscles of endurance and contract tonically.

Now, as Pilates instructors, we all get in the habit of cueing the Transversus Abdominis, Obliques and Pelvic Floor Muscles in lieu of the Rectus Abdominis, Gluteus Maximus and other musculature because oftentimes our clients are often overusing those muscles anyway.  They simply don’t need to be cued…. that doesn’t mean they are not needed to perform the exercise!  Take the core challenge test, which we featured in our first, Key to the Core Blog (9/14/2008), and try to use ONLY your Transversus Abdominis and Pelvic Floor Muscles…. IMPOSSIBLE!!

There are quite a few AMAZING articles about core strength on the internet, so we could not possibly highlight all of them at once.  So, we’ll start with one of the more popular sites, about.com.  They feature a GREAT article on core strength, entitled, “Core Training -Good Core Training Takes More Than Ab Exercise” (click here to read article.) Once again, we encourage you to read the whole article, but, in summary, this article supports the concept that pure core stability consists of not only strengthening the core abdominal muscles, but also strengthening the muscles that improve the functional coordination of the spine, the pelvis and the hips.  Specifically, in addition to the abdominal muscles, multifidus and erector spinae, the writer mentions the hip flexors (yes, all of them), the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus,  the hip adductors, the hamstrings, and piriformis.  The article states “In other words,

“the goal of core stability is to maintain a solid, foundation and transfer energy from the center of the body out to the limbs.”  Fiona Troup, a physiotherapist and qualified Pilates instructor at the Sports & Spinal Clinic, Harley Street, quoted in the first article, concurs, stating, “a strong back means a combination of strong muscles in the buttocks, spinal area and shoulders not just a well-developed core area”.

So, with this new knowledge, as you’re doing your Pilates workouts, think not only of the muscles of the abdomen, but also all the surrounding musculature, working on balancing the muscle groups and creating a well-functioning body with a strong core as well as strong hips, shoulders, arms and legs!!  We recommend “Power and Precision Mat Workouts 30 or 45 minutes,” “Challenge Your Core Reformer Workout,” and “Power Chair Workout” on Ultimate Pilates Workouts (www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com)!

April 3, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

Why core strength training relies on instability

my_first_pilates_workout_watchdogWhether using balls, BOSUs or balance discs, athletic trainers and personal trainers alike know that instability is the key to training the core.

The deep muscles of the core are involuntary muscles that engage automatically when subjected to instability.  In other words, one can go through a lengthy traditional workout involving elaborate weight machines, free weights, etc., but unless instability is introduced into the training regime, the core musculature may not be targeted at all.

Given the right cues by a qualified trainer, one can learn to activate his/her core musculature in traditional abdominal work.  For instance, most Pilates mat exercises do not involve instability (unless you’re doing Pilates on a boat), but you can activate the core by deliberately engaging the muscles of the pelvic floor.  (Think “kegel exercises” if you are not familiar with the term “pelvic floor muscles.”)  Activating the pelvic floor triggers the deepest abdominal muscle, the transversus abdominis, to fire.

good-for-website-4Another key core stabilizing muscle is the multifidus.  The multifidus is comprised of a series of short fibers that act as scaffolding for the spine.  The exercise shown above, the “Watchdog“, targets the multifidus because the spine is challenged to remain straight and NOT rotate as opposite arm and leg lift.  Almost anyone who has ever been to physical therapy for a back injury has been given this exercise because it targets the multifidus.

Keep checking back for more information on this unique muscle and the exercises that strengthen it!  In the meantime, if you just can’t wait, try our “Get on the Ball“, “Meet your Core” and “Small Ball Toning Workouts” on www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com as all provide ways to introduce instability into your workout and target your multifidus!

March 3, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 1 comment.

A Great Review of UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com

As we embarked upon the world of blogging, we started reading other fitness blogs just to see what the whole thing was about.  We stumbled upon a number of blogs, and one that we really loved is Every Gym’s Nightmare (www.everygymsnightmare.com), written by Kelly Turner.

Her fitness blog is fabulous…. It’s not a Pilates blog per se, but it’s a super fun read and very informative.  She offers a great perspective to the fitness world on the sometimes delicate balance between a healthy focus on diet & exercise as opposed to a fanatical one.  Because we liked her blog so much, we asked her to review www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com on her site.  Happily, she didn’t take as much convincing as others that we really offer free Pilates workouts online!  She jumped right in, and here’s an excerpt from her blog:

“I started with the beginner video, because I am a beginner at Pilates. I know I’m in shape, and am usually prone to jumping into advanced things before I know the basics, but decided to do this properly and learn the fundamentals.

The cueing was perfect. Instead of becoming confused trying to figure out on my own if I was doing an exercise properly, I knew exactly where I should be feeling things and what motion I was trying to achieve. I’m a trainer, I know how hard it is to cue for the core, but with Katherine’s direction, I knew exactly what to do.

…Pilates is perfect for focusing on your core, and how to engage, and keep it engaged, throughout all the exercises. It’s a full body, low impact, flexibility and strength workout. I’m hooked.

It’s the perfect melding between a good sweaty workout and yoga. I get my flexbility and calming effect, while appeasing my gym side with reps and muscle fatigue.

I really recommend this site for all levels: beginners to test the waters for free and see if they like it, and the most advanced Pilatuers (pronounced pi-la-tooooooors) for great downloads of workout with equipment and the Reformer…”

But don’t just read this!  Go to Kelly’s blog and read the entire review.  While you’re on her site, make sure you bookmark her site and sign up for her email alerts.  Kelly holds weekly give aways (yes, free stuff!), and she makes it very easy for her readers to submit to win.  You also might learn something in the process!

February 9, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.