Programming for Results Workshop on February 17 at Pilates on Fifth, NYC!

The second annual Pilates Programming for Results Workshop was held at Pilates on Fifth in NYC on Wednesday, February 17.  We had a great group, all of whom are certified Pilates instructors interested in spicing up their routines.  As our NYC Pilates studio offers Pilates mat classes, Pilates Reformer & Chair Classes and well as private instruction in Pilates, we had a lively discussion about designing workouts for maximum effectiveness for each of these groups.

Pilates Reformer and Chair Class at Pilates on Fifth

August 2010 will mark the tenth anniversary of Pilates on Fifth, and over these ten years, Katherine & Kimberly have learned that programming successfully is the key not only to the clients’ progress, but to client retention as well.  It’s the delicate balance of the clients’ needs vs. their wants, the art of testing the threshold of their abilities without pushing too far, combined with the talent of making the workout both fun and effective at the same time.  We talked about how the different pieces of Pilates equipment relate to each other in terms of strength, coordination, stability and body awareness required, and we also highlighted the different attributes of each.

Danielle Russo, certified Pilates Instructor and Artistic Director of The Danielle Russo Dance Company, had the following to say about the workshop:

“Programming for Results pulls together everything you’ve gained as an Instructor with PAI, and applies it to the reality of client retention. With today’s reality of personal fitness and finance, it’s even more important to understand how to approach the field not only as an intelligent instructor, but as a business-person. You want to give your client a safe, smart and beneficial workout, and you want them to come back for more! This course helps you create a fitness program that will both foster healthful improvement for your client, as well as a loyal instructor-client network.”

Because of the fabulous reception, we will be holding another Programming for Results workshop on April 9, 2010.  Contact chie@pilatesonfifth.com for more information!

February 22, 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

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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

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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.

Why We Love Props For Pilates

yespilateshundredswithband-articleFrom exercise bands to BoSUs to stability balls, props can add challenges, assistance or variety to a regular Pilates workout.  The right prop can make a hard exercise easier and a simple exercise extremely challenging! Targeted use of props can also help spice things up for clients who have been practicing Pilates for years and need a little pizzazz thrown into their workout.

So why do we love props?  The first reason is simple and perhaps the most important: props help facilitate the proper execution of an exercise. They help clients achieve neutral, fire into the “right” muscle group and activate dormant muscles that have not been doing their job!  Pads and cushions help clients begin an exercise in as close to neutral alignment as possible, which is essential for a biomechanically correct, pain-free Pilates practice.  We would not survive at our New York studio without pads to place under clients’ heads to bring the cervical spine into proper alignment when supine or cushions for them to sit on to bring the pelvis into neutral.  Pilates Rings and Small Balls between the ankles or knees on certain exercises can help engage inactive inner thigh muscles and help clients deepen their abdominal contraction.  Arc Barrels or BoSUs can be effective teaching tools for prone spinal or hip extension exercises.  Placing the lumbar spine in flexion on the barrel helps deactivate the often over-active erector spinae of the lower back and can help clients isolate the erector spinae of the upper back or activate the hip extensors without going into lumbar extension.

Second, props help build the strength or awareness necessary to perform the “real” exercise properly.  The original Pilates exercises are fabulous and effective on their own, but some people just can’t do them right….yet!  Props can be the stepping stone a client needs to succeed in a Pilates mat environment.   The “Roll Over,” for instance, can be challenging for many individuals who lack either abdominal strength or spinal flexibility (or both)!  By performing the “Roll Over” on an Arc Barrel and beginning with the hips elevated, the client can build the strength necessary to execute the exercise properly without using momentum and jeopardizing the lower back.  Similarly, for those with tight lower backs (such as the authors here), the “Roll Up” can be absolutely lovely holding a 4 lb mini-body bar.  Of course one needs to be careful with the shoulder girdle given the extra weight, but this little bit of extra weight adds leverage where it is needed to assist with articulation of the spine through the tight spot.  As another example, those clients seeking to transition from “Hundreds” with bent knees to “Hundreds” with straight legs but still find maintaining a strong imprint challenging benefit from using an exercise band around the feet.  The band helps support the weight of the legs, and thus allows the abdominal muscles to build the strength necessary to maintain imprint, protect the lower back and support the lower body simultaneously.

Finally, we love props because they introduce muscle confusion training into a Pilates mat workout, which helps any body get more out of their Pilates routine.  Simply put, the muscle confusion training principle states that muscles adapt to a specific type of stress and need to be challenged in varied ways in order to continue experiencing results.  Muscles improve from being subjected to new and different stresses and challenges which is exactly what props can provide.  Athletes cross train for this very reason, as the body benefits overall from allowing certain muscles fibers to rest and others to engage.  Moreover, incorporating props into a Pilates workout can help prevent the well-known plateau effect and even boost clients over a “road block” that keeps them from progressing.  Use of props can kick up the intensity of the workout quite effectively without placing undue strain on the body.  In fact, research shows that something as simple as performing a bench press on a stability ball is 62% more effective than a bench press with the same weight conducted on a regular bench.  (Source)

Pilates props with Katherine and Kimberly CorpFurthermore, muscles performing the same action day after day “get bored” just as clients get bored with the same workout!  Varying a workout ensures that clients continue to see results and stay interested.  Pilates enthusiasts who regularly work out on the Pilates equipment already benefit from the muscle confusion training practice as integrating all equipment into sessions over the course of a week or month allows muscles to perform in different ways each workout.  Thus, just as “Side Bends” activates different muscles groups on the Ladder Barrel, Cadillac and Mat, so to does “the Hundreds” challenge the body in different ways using the Stretch Band, the BoSU and the Pilates Ring.  Focusing on different muscle groups and adding variety will not only enhance core stability, but also turn your Pilates routine into a fabulous cross-training program, which will improve your overall fitness and decrease your risk of injury.  (Source)

With all the props available today, one can quickly become overwhelmed when deciding which props to choose. Is your goal to challenge your client?  Help her do an exercise correctly?  Target his core?  Facilitate better alignment?  Knowing the merits of each prop and which ones best suit your clientele’s objectives is the first step to integrating props successfully into your Pilates workouts.  We have included a chart below to highlight the various benefits, but please keep in mind that the categories are exercise specific!  The exercise band, for example, can assist the “Roll Up” but challenge the “Double Leg Stretch.”  Also, one very dangerous trap to fall into is watching others use props and then copying them in your sessions.  Never EVER use clients as guinea pigs!  Incorporating a prop often changes the emphasis of the exercise, so be sure to try the exercise with the prop first before teaching it to an unsuspecting client.

In conclusion, we offer three basic rules of thumb to follow with regard to incorporating props into Pilates workouts.  First, choose a prop with a specific goal in mind for the client or class you are teaching.  (In other words, do not choose a prop because you, personally, are bored and need some entertainment!)  Second, remember that most clients can focus on one thing at one time.  Thus, multiple props used simultaneously tend to destroy — rather than enhance — the integrity of the exercise.  Though the picture to the right is humorous, you clearly want to avoid this scenario with your clients.  Finally, because props do change the original exercise a bit, be mindful of what is gained — and what could be compromised — with the addition of a prop.  Shoulder Bridge on the BoSU, for example, helps activate the core because of the instability, but the hamstrings may cramp because of the increased effort required to stabilize.

Pilates Props Table

The Pilates repertoire has not only withstood the test of time, it continues to impress and amaze both the fitness and medical worlds with its benefits.  Make sure to honor this system with thoughtful use of props that enhance the client’s overall Pilates experience.

June 26, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 1 comment.

Know your Anatomy and Become a Pilates Instructor Who’s in demand!!

kinesiology and pilatesA myriad of skills are required to be a highly skilled Pilates instructor, and one of the most important is a strong foundation in anatomy and biomechanics.  Rock-solid knowledge of anatomy will not only help you excel in your Pilates instructor training program, but also enable you to design more effective workouts, work with minor aches and pains, and address sports specific concerns.  With an arsenal of Pilates exercises on hand that target each muscle, you have all you need to serve you and all your clients’ needs!

Studying anatomy initially can be a little boring (it can seem like rote memorization), but whatever you do, don’t just memorize!!  The best way to learn anatomy while you are going through your Pilates instructor training program is to pick one muscle at a time, and then start moving! Find the exercises that target the muscle you want to “memorize“, and then do each Pilates exercise, concentrating on the muscle being worked.  The combination of the kinesthetic awareness with the visualization of the muscle will change your entire outlook on learning anatomy and biomechanics!  You’ll learn quickly, more effectively and more efficiently….and you’ll remember it too!

Thus, when your clients come in and tell you that their shoulder is bothering them, sore, achy, untoned…. whatever, you first know what questions to ask to pinpoint the possible source of the pain.  Does it hurt to reach forward?  Behind?  Out to the side?  From their answer, you must quickly decide (with your client’s feedback, of course) whether it is best to avoid that joint all together or find safe ways to address it.  The good news:  because you have spent so much time practicing your Pilates exercises while thinking of the muscles being used, you will know from your own experience which Pilates exercises will best target or avoid the muscle in question.  You can further strut your stuff by giving your clients two or three ways to target the muscle in question by addressing different planes of movement and different actions of the muscle.  And if you have a studio full of Pilates equipment, then you have even more ways to utilize your knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics with all the offerings that the Pilates Reformer, Pilates Cadillac and Pilates Chair afford.

June 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. Leave a comment.

Pilates in Portugal –Ultimate Pilates Workouts Member Profile 1

We have decided to profile the fabulous users of UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com on an ongoing basis. We are choosing people who inspire us and cause us to think about making our lives a little more meaningful.

Our first profile is GEORGE, who is currently living in Mertola, Portugal. George introduced himself to us via this email:

george

“Hi Girls, I came onto your site via i-Tunes and love it. I am 67 yo and have lived full time on a sailboat for 16 yrs. All I own is a boat and a bike. It is important for me to keep a strong body with my life style, so your workouts are fun for me to follow. I have a yoga mat and a stability ball onboard. Presently I am in a 2000 yo village in Mertola, Portugal. The next time I sail back to the US I will come into NY Harbor and come for a visit. Regards, George”

WOW!! A stability ball on board??? Truly, neither of us can imagine doing our “Get on the Ball!” workout on a boat!!… Now THAT’S core stability. We are looking forward to him sailing into New York and visiting us at Pilates on Fifth. However, we were trying to figure out how George can even think about Pilates when he has such beautiful scenery to gaze at all day long, and so we emailed him.

mertola

corvo-002

When we emailed George to tell him that we wanted to profile him on our blog, we also asked him if he had anything else he wanted to share, and here it is:

“Hey Katherine and Kimberly,

What I have learned;

To live simply is to live well.

What does it take to live at sea? Think about love, self reliance, duty, thrift, character and imagine the best way to thrive instead of just survive.

Of course to live this life without a support system to take care of me, I do some sort of core training everyday and eat a Mediterranean style diet, which is my health insurance. Also living outdoors all the time and eating foods of the world I feel has strengthened my immune system, so that I don’t suffer from colds or flus.

Without adventurers our society will decay. I want to inspire people of spirit to venture where they will and tolerate no hindrance to their seeking.

I believe that in these times of a troubled economy, with people visibly shaken by diminished wealth and future uncertainty I hope this will inspire some to think about a life without bigger hi-way and bridges to move us faster from one crisis to the next. Maybe we should move backwards 100 yrs to a life free of cars, type II diabetes, heart attacks, and stress.

The two guys in the bar in the Alentejo, Pt were in their 90’s and never owned a car only a burro.
amigos-in-bar-1

Photo of me in Iceland on my 2 year voyage above the Atlantic Circle.
iceland

Best and keep up the good vibes you supply those that see your pod casts, George”

Isn’t that great? At first we were going to include pieces of it, but we didn’t want to leave out a thing! We were both moved and inspired by George’s words, and so we wanted to share it with all of you.

If you have a story that you’d like to share with us, please email us at feedback@ultimatepilatesworkouts.com. We look forward to hearing your responses and sharing them with our fabulous Pilates community!

February 4, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

PAI STABILITY BALL WORKSHOP

On January 23, Katherine and Kimberly Corp taught a four hour Pilates Stability Ball workshop at Pilates on Fifth. The Stability Ball Workshop I features exercises from Tiers 1-3 of the full PAI Pilates Stability Ball repertoire. We had about 18 Pilates professionals representing 6-7 studios from all over the northeast attend, and it was a huge success!

The attendees were from various corners of the Pilates world.  Many of the participants were introduced to Pilates on Fifth and the Pilates Academy International curricula for the first time, while many of the students have progressed through the body of PAI Pilates certification courses and workshops.  All in all, the participants learned over 60 exercises on the stability ball, not only adapted from classical Pilates exercises, but also created through a fusion of core strengthening and sports conditioning regimes.  The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and Katherine and Kimberly are working on Pilates Stability Ball Workshop II, which will feature PAI Exercises Tiers 3-5 and take Workshop I to the next level!  Until then, try our Get on the Ball! at www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com for a great total body experience with core strength, Pilates, and the stability ball.

February 2, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.