Budget-proof Pilates

In an effort to create inexpensive Pilates for those who love the Pilates method but have found that the economy has them choosing necessities over Pilates group classes and private lessons, internationally acclaimed Pilates instructor trainers Katherine and Kimberly Corp have devised an effective solution. Their modus is the internet and their intentions are in your best interest. Launching the first-ever Pilates workout website, Ultimate Pilates Workouts.com makes the high quality and expert Pilates instruction available to the clientele at the Corps’ premier NYC-Pilates studio available to everyone and anyone, with two major causes in mind: time and affordability. They’ve taken their Pilates on Fifth repertoire to the internet! And, all you need is a computer connected to the worldwide web.

There is no need to forego your favorite Pilates workouts either at home or at your Pilates studio. Katherine and Kimberly Corp have created a comprehensive, perfect for all levels, workout library online for the convenience of our Pilates-at-home clientele! The website, entitled “Ultimate Pilates Workouts” (www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com) features both full-length workout videos and classic training exercises. Ultimate Pilates Workouts is free to join, and by selecting the membership category that best accommodates your personal needs and interests opens up access to full-length mat, small equipment, and specialty workouts! Each month the website features four unique workout videos to its members… free! This month stars the following 60-minute mat workouts:

My First Pilates Workout
Bride to Be
Morning Low Back Care
The “I don’t have to workout” Workout

The innovative site also offers a unique exercise catalogue for the reformer, cadillac, chair, and barrel equipment. Brand-new, target-area, and thoroughly instructed workouts are added each month to spice up variety for each of our member’s workout regime. The first website of its kind, Ultimate Pilates Workouts aims to offer Pilates workouts tailored to individuals with lower back pain, pregnancy, athletes, dancers, seniors, and the everyday Pilates enthusiast alike! The broad range of videos available to both view and download make Pilates accessible to anyone, anywhere at anytime!

Do you want to improve your golf swing? Ultimate Pilates Workouts.com can make it happen. Do you want to be able to lift your grandchild without lower back pain? Katherine and Kimberly will help you achieve your goal. Do you want to develop long, strong muscles, improve your posture, or increase your flexibility? Tell them, and they’ll help you achieve them.

Don’t wait any longer! Visit www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com! And, don’t hesitate to forward any questions or concerns to their courteous and knowledgeable staff by email to info@ultimatepilatesworkouts.com.

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December 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

Tips for Tackling the Teaser

teaserThose of you Pilates enthusiasts who know us or who have watched our Pilates workouts also know that the Teaser, given the fact that we have such tight lower backs, was a real zinger for us to master.  While it was possible to accomplish something that looks “Teaser-esque” using sheer momentum, that is hardly Pilates’ version of the Teaser.  A “perfect” Teaser should be executed with control, finesse, methodical in nature every time.  After all, the real secret to the Teaser, besides abdominal strength, is SEQUENCING!!  Getting sequencing correct in the Teaser can be your Golden Ticket to better success with not only this Pilates exercise, but also more enjoyable Pilates workouts from here on end.

Try these ten tips for tackling the Teaser step by step:

1. Rome was not built in a day!!  Spare yourself frustration and don’t try to conquer the Teaser on your first try.

2.  Don’t compare yourself to others…  As we always say, the gods of Pilates are fair!!  Sometimes people with very little experience can just do the teaser because of a very flexible spine, forgiving ratio of torso to leg length, or whatever.  Simply focus on you and your needs!!

3. Work on the Pilates exercises that will help you execute the Teaser a little bit every day.  Even 5 minutes a day will do the trick.  Actually this will be much more effective than working for 20 -25 minutes on the same muscle group, which will simply cause a lot of fatigue.

4. Make sure that you can do the following Pilates exercises to strengthen the upper fibers of the abdominals:  Half Curl, Hundreds, Half Roll Down, Roll Up, Rolling Like a Ball, Open Leg Rocker Balance, Open Leg Rocker

5. Make sure that you can do the following Pilates exercises to strengthen the lower fibers of the abdominals and hip flexors:  Scisorss, Double Leg Stretch, Hip Twist, Roll Over, Open Leg Rocker

6. Go through the progressions of the Teaser.  Start with Teaser 1, not Teaser 3 or 4!!  Make sure that you can do each Tier relatively well before challenging yourself with a more difficult progression.

7. For Teaser 1, really work on rolling through the spine and finding the proper place to arrive for the “V” sit.  Remember, you are not directly up on your sits bones!!   For those of you who have difficulty lifting the torso off the mat, using a stretch band around the feet or holding a weighted medicine ball or mini body bar (3-5 pounds is usually more than enough!) will assist you by carrying your weight forward for you.

8. For Teaser 2, try the modifications with only one leg lifted at a time.  Perfect these, and then move on to the both legs lifted version.  Even when you progress to both legs lifted, you can always bend your knees slightly to start just to make the lever a little bit shorter.

9. For Teaser 3, and all teasers really, make sure that you are directing your energy forward to the level of your own knees and not up to the ceiling, for example.  Lifting your chest too high and too soon will typically pull the lower thoracic spine into slight extension, making it very difficult to complete the exercise.

10. Take a private lesson if you can!  Despite the best efforts of Pilates videos and tips, there is no substitute for excellent one on one instruction!!  A skilled Pilates instructor will be able to discern exactly where the weak spots may lie and help you immensely with the Teaser and other Pilates exercises.

Many of our Pilates mat workouts feature The Teaser in all sorts of variations, so enjoy!!

June 4, 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.

Golfers find better posture through Pilates, part 4

golf-pilates-pics-41To complete our series of articles outlining the ideal set-up for the golf swing, we will discuss the importance of shoulder placement.  As with all aspects of alignment, Pilates can help build body awareness and bring attention to bad habits!

Our first article discussed ideal alignment in the set-up, which stated that the shoulder of the dominant hand should be slightly lower than the other, as the dominant hand should be slightly lower than the other, as the dominant hand holds lower on the club.  Because the dominant hand is lower (the right hand in the photo), this sets the spine on a slight tilt to the right, which should be maintained during the back swing.  Thus, from the side, a forward lean, and from the front, a sideways lean, is present.

“One of the most common faults is to have the right shoulder too low at address,” explains Rick.  (See picture below left.)  “This creates a position that forces the arms to dominate the backswing instead of the core muscles, which should be in control.  Also, when the right shoulder is excessively low, the body is not centered, which prevents a sound pivot as the shoulders are unable to turn at 90 degrees to the spine.  The result is a powerless swing which could lead to injury.”

golf-pilates-pics-42 golf-pilates-pics-43

Rick continues, “Less common is a tilt to the left, or to the side of the non-dominant arm.  (See picture above right.)  The elbows of both arms should be loosely bent — not locked — so that the arms have energy in them without being rigid.”  The picture below shows the side view again, from the side of the dominant arm, which you can use to improve your positioning further.

golf-pilates-pics-44To continue improving your body awareness and to strengthen your abs and back more, try Obliques Roll Back, Swimming and “the Banana” from the Side Leg Lift SeriesObliques Roll Back strengthens the spine in rotation and flexion, Swimming targets the muscles of the back and “the Banana” strengthens the obliques and improves lateral flexion.  For simple arm exercises that will help rid the body of excess shoulder tension, try Pilates in Ten — Arms!

“Tis the season for golfing again, so brush up on your golf game and blow the competition away when you hit the green again!  Contact Rick Nielsen at Power Golf Pilates, powergolfpilates.net!

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

“Dance as though no one is watching you”…. but do Pilates like everyone is!!

single-leg-stretchYes, we know that Souza did not end his famous poem as such, but if we’ve learned one thing from the filming of our Pilates workouts, it’s how to increase the intensity of your . If you don’t think Pilates is hard enough, then imagine that you are doing Pilates in an Olympic arena, equipped with a full panel of judges who score you based on proper execution…. WOW!! Take it from us, it’s grueling. You can take a “beginner’s” workout and turn it into one of the best workout sessions just by focusing on all the little details and fine tuning. We like to think of it this way: as long as you’re investing the time to work out, then why not get the most that you can out of your session? Here are some few helpful hints based on what we’ve gleaned from filming our Pilates videos for the site:

1) Pull your abs in!! …And when you think they’re in, pull in a little more! Then, with every new exercises and every other repetition, repeat!

2) Straighten your knees fully! We know that we’ve written about the knees before, but it really is a way to kick up the intensity and get the whole body involved.

3) Open the shoulders! Involve the muscles of the upper backto keep the shoulders from rounding forward and create that beautiful, trademark Pilates posture.

4) Don’t forget your glutes! When doing side lying or prone exercises, your glutes (the muscles in your buttocks) are key to stabilizing your torso and upholding Pilates as a total body workout.

So there you have it! Just a few simple tips to help you get the most out of your Pilates workouts. Also, in addition to the four points above, proper form and technique will make the Pilates exercises even more effective. If you need help with an exercise or just want to know if you’re doing a Pilates exercise correctly, simply check out any of our podcasts. (link to podcasts)

March 26, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. Leave a comment.

The potpourri of Pilates in New York City

treeDo you remember your favorite teacher from high school? If you’re like most people, your favorite teacher significantly influenced your interest in the subject she taught. Well, it’s no surprise that your first Pilates teacher will most likely shape your preferences for one type of Pilates over another — for better or worse!

As for the two of us, we don’t have “Pilates bodies” — and some Pilates teachers we’ve had through the years made us abundantly aware of that fact! I wanted to feel GOOD leaving a session, but instead felt like Quasimodo and wished I’d had a potato sack to hide my deformed, twisted, imperfect body. Of course we both ended up embracing the type of Pilates that was taught to us by a teacher who was open, fun, inspiring, life-affirming, attentive to imbalances but full of compassion and had us feeling really GREAT about our bodies and our potential after the lesson.

If you have tried Pilates and hated it, then by all means, give it another try. Maybe you and the teacher just didn’t “click.” To make this easier for you, we have included some links to some great Pilates studios in the city, all of which teach slightly different styles of Pilates. Of course we’d love to see you at our studio, Pilates on Fifth, but we also know that location and style can be everything, and there are many great Pilates studios here in NYC! Here’s the list….and we know all of these owners and can state confidently that they are exceptionally qualified AND kind individuals who are dedicated to their craft.

LindaFit by Linda Farrell: www.lindafit.com. Linda is a beautiful lady both inside and out and teaches fabulous body-sculpting mat classes throughout the city (just check out her legs if you don’t believe us!) She teaches at Steps, Broadway Dance Center and Equinox among other locations.

Rolates, run by Roberta Kirschenbaum: www.rolates.com. Roberta is kind and wise — a perfect combination for a great Pilates instructor and studio owner. Rolates often conducts innovative, educational workshops and has the added bonus of inhabiting Joseph Pilates’ original studio space!

Pilates Reforming New York, run by husband and wife team Ann Toran and Errol Toran: www.pilatesreformingny.com. Ann delivers challenging core-strengthening, elongating workouts conveniently scheduled throughout the day. Pilates Reforming New York specializes in energizing group reformer classes.

Power Pilates, presided over by Dr. Howard Sichel: www.powerpilates.com. Dr. Sichel and Power Pilates has an amazing team of leaders in the Pilates industry providing high quality instruction at 6 locations throughout New York City and more throughout the country.

So remember….if you tried Pilates once and didn’t like it, please give it another chance! Maybe it isn’t for you, but if you’re reading this, then you’re interested enough to give it another try!

March 19, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. Leave a comment.

Pilates and weight loss, part 2

my_first_pilates_workout_watchdog1In our last article, we discussed many factors that contribute to weight loss.   Today, we explain how lack of sleep inhibits successful weight loss.  For all those who force themselves to stay up late and get up early, this article is for you!

The body produces many hormones, two of which are directly related to sleep and appetite.  One is ghrelin and the other is leptin.  Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and triggers hunger, while leptin is produced in adipose tissue and signals satiety, in other words, it tells the body “I’m full.”  In healthy individuals, ghrelin levels are naturally higher before a meal and leptin levels are naturally higher after a meal.

When one is sleep deprived, however, ghrelin levels climb and lower the levels of leptin in the body.  A sleep-deprived body receives signals that it is hungry beause the appetite control hormone leptin has been “turned off” by the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin.  A study in the journal PLoS Medicine shows the correlation between short sleep duration and high levels of ghrelin.  Over a 15 year period from 1989-2004, the study shows that people who consistently sleep only five hours a night exhibit a 15% increase in ghrelin (the appetite stimulant) and a 16% decrease in leptin (the “I’m full” signal).

According to the researcher behind the study, Emmanuelle Mignot of Stamford University, this proves a regulatory problem exists in people of today’s “unnatural” society.  Before the desk job became the dominate characteristic of modern work, the human race engaged in physical activity daily as a natural part of life.  Physical activity both increases one’s appetite and one’s need for sleep.  But today, most of us are sedentary much of the day, yet forgo sleep to try and squeeze more work into the day.  So we’re not getting enough physical activity AND we’re not sleeping!  Thus, the hormone ghrelin is flowing causing us to feel hungry and eat more, though we’re not engaging in the activity necessary to burn the calories of the additional food intake.

Most people tend to brag about how little sleep they get or how little sleep they need.  Somehow, sleeping less has become the sign of a “hard worker” or a “dedicated employee,” but please don’t fall into that trap!  Sleep is good!  You can do the “Hundreds” thousands of times and do Pilates workouts (or any workout for that matter) until you are exhausted, but if you are not sleeping adequately, the hormone ghrelin is most likely thwarting your progress.  Sleep is not only replenishing, it also serves to balance these important hormones — so get to bed — NOW!

Our next article will discuss how stress is related to weight gain so tune in next time!

March 18, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. Leave a comment.

Jump into heart health with CARDIOLATES®!

cardiolates-1Love Pilates but hate cardio?  CARDIOLATES® offers all the cardiovascular benefits of rebounding with the alignment benefits of Pilates — and it’s fun too!

Forget your fabulous triceps or your six pack abs, your HEART is the most important muscle in your body.  Pilates flattens your abs, strengthens your core and tones all the muscles of the body, but it was never designed to elevate your heart rate to the levels required for cardiovascular conditioning.  To keep your heart healthy, you must engage in regular cardiovascular activity.

CARDIOLATES®, offered at Pilates on Fifth in New York City, combines heart-pumping rebounding with ab-sculpting Pilates to deliver the cardiovascular activity necessary for heart health.  Clients who reach a weight loss plateau in their regular Pilates classes see their final pounds melt away with CARDIOLATES®.

cardiolates-2And here’s the best news:  because CARDIOLATES® is gentle on the joints, those who find high impact activities too taxing on the body can enjoy CARDIOLATES® pain free!  The mat of the rebounder absorbs 87% of the shock to the joints (according to a NASA study) so you can burn calories without your joints paying the price.

CARDIOLATES® has been featured on The Martha Stewart Show, Good Day New York and the CW11 Morning News.

March 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings. 1 comment.

Let us EnLIGHTen you!

scaleIn addition to its personal fitness services, Pilates on Fifth fosters a variety of health and wellness programs. One of the most popular and effective of these programs includes our EnLIGHTen Series. The EnLIGHTen Series provides a private session entailing a comprehensive analysis of metabolic rate and body composition tests. It’s fast, easy and confidential! The EnLIGHTen Series sheds light on understanding each individual’s metabolism and body composition as a means of effectively pursuing fitness and wellness goals. Analyzing your results and charting your progress allows for healthful self-improvement!

Body composition is a better health measure than weight alone. So Become EnLIGHTened and find out your percentage of body fat and lean mass. A valid, reliable method of measuring body composition with accuracy comparable to the gold standard of underwater weighing has arrived! Bod-E-Comm is a completely safe and non-invasive method of body fat testing which requires no disrobing or discomfort of any kind! U.S. Government research located a single point on the human body – the biceps of the dominant arm – that has a direct correlation with the body’s overall fat level. A safe beam of near infrared light is sent into the bicep at specific wavelengths that fat cells will absorb and lean mass cells will reflect. After just a few seconds, only YOU see the results AND the computer software gives you a printout with diet and exercise recommendations. Results can be stored so you can track your progress.

Eliminate the guesswork with metabolic testing! With all the diets on the market today and the conflicting advice presented by the media, how are you deciding what’s right for your body? Truth is, every BODY is different and you need personalized data to make the proper choice for your body. Become EnLIGHTened and learn about your body’s needs. Now, Pilates on Fifth has REEVUETM, an FDA approved indirect calorimeter: a machine that calculates the amount of oxygen you consume to determine how many calories you burn a day just staying alive. Based on the results, the machine can determine your resting metabolic rate, which will tell you how many calories you would naturally burn if you just sat all day long. Then, the sophisticated, intelligent software provides you with a detailed printout of not only your resting metabolic rate, but also your caloric maintenance zone, weight gain zone and weight loss zone. Plan your eating and exercise more efficiently! What used to be available only in hospitals is now available here and we encourage you to EnLIGHTen yourself with this knowledge.

Visit www.pilatesonfifth.com to check out our additional Pro-Health Pilates programs! Or, call 212-687-8885 to contact our friendly Front Desk Staff about scheduling your EnLIGHTen appointment today!

For access to Pro-Health Pilates workouts visit www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com! Ultimate Pilates Workouts offers free and unlimited access to Pro-Health Pilates workouts, including Pilates for lower back pain, Pink Ribbon Pilates and more!

March 13, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

The secret to flat abs and a healthy spine

hundredsAs I was climbing into bed last night, I was pondering the best way to write about proper abdominal usage.  I figured I’d think of something, so assumed my usual supine position, snuggled close to my two bulldogs and drifted off to sleep.  Then, in the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by the weight of one of my (hungry) 45 pound bulldogs traipsing across my stomach to lie on my torso and exfoliate my skin (a proven method for getting me up to feed them).  Instinctively, I tightened my abs and pushed OUT to prevent her dagger-like paw from impaling my liver, pancreas, stomach or any other vital organ.

As I deliriously poured some kibble into the bowl, it hit me!  We humans KNOW what to do to protect our organs but don’t know what to do to protect our lower backs!  Clearly, with a bulldog on your stomach, you’re going to tighten your abs and push OUT — so obvious, right?  But to protect your lower back, you must PULL IN the abdominal muscles and keep the belly-button glued to the front wall of the spine.  If it’s not initially obvious, think of it this way:  to protect your lower back, you want the abs to be as close to the spine as possible.  So pull in!

“Pulling in” targets the deepest layer of the 4 abdominal muscles, the transversus abdominus.  The transversus abdominus, or “TA,” wraps around the abdominal cavity like a corset or girdle with horizontally running fibers that compress the abdominal contents when contracted.  We won’t go into the debate currently looming in the Pilates/kinesiology world regarding its role in stabilizing the core, but we will tell you this.  If you focus on keeping your belly button drawn to the front wall of your spine through all of your abdominal work (this includes crunches, push-ups, etc.) you will see a dramatic difference in core strength.  Our clients have experienced great success focusing on this deep muscle, instead of just the Rectus Abdominus (the “six pack” muscle) or the Obliques.

flatabspullinginflatabspushingout

Do:  Keep your abs flat!                     Don’t:  Let them pop!

Try this:  do “the Hundreds” and follow the directions exactly.  Can you keep you abs FLAT, with your belly-button pulled to the spine the whole time (see the picture on the left above).  Or do your abs “pop” halfway through (as in the picture on the right)?  If they do, a great way to start training is to keep the knees bent for exercises like “The Hundreds” until the endurance of transversus abdominus increases.

After years of teaching, I know that the idea of “pulling in” and not “pushing out” can be confusing, but learning to pull in will do wonders for your abdominal strength and your lower back, not to mention a flatter stomach and a more defined mid-section!

Just getting started with Pilates or want to brush up on technique?  Try “My First Pilates Workout” at http://www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com!

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

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