Strengthening exercises for the Spinal Extensors (Erector Spine)
This bundle of muscle and tendons line and support the spine, most notably at the lower back. These muscles are used in everything from maintaining proper spinal alignment to flexing and extending the spine during daily activities like picking things up off the floor.
Best Exercise: Cobra Back Extension
This move will help strengthen your entire back. To start, lay face down on the ground with your palms flat on the floor, legs extended out straight and toes pointed. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and press them down away from your ears. Then, extend your spine, lifting your chest, arms, and hands off the floor. Rotate your palms away from your body, but keep your feet on the ground. Slowly lower to start position and repeat.
Stretch your quads, hip flexors + chest with DANCER’S POSE:
Setup: Stand in front of a wall with your hips squared and your left hand resting on the wall for support. Using your right hand, grasp your right foot from behind, with your right shoulder externally rotated.
A refreshing mind-body workout
By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely in tune with your body. You actually learn how to control its movement.
In Pilates the quality of movement is valued over quantity of repetitions. Proper breathing is essential, and helps you execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Last but not least, learning to breathe properly can reduce stress.
Develop a strong core – flat abdominals and a strong back
Pilates exercises develop a strong “core,” or center of the body. The core consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.
Gain long, lean muscles and flexibility
More conventional or traditional workouts are weight bearing and tend to build short, bulky muscles – the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.
Create an evenly conditioned body, improve sports performance, and prevent injuries
In the same vein, a lot of these same conventional workouts tend to work the same muscles. This leads weak muscles tend to get weaker and strong muscles tend to get stronger. The result is muscular imbalance – a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain.
Pilates conditions the whole body, even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease, better performance and less chance of injury. That’s why so many professional sports teams and elite athletes now use Pilates as a critical part of their training regimen.
Learn how to move efficiently
Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, you can actually re-train your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion – invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and optimal health.
Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates is so safe, it is used in physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries.
But it’s also challenging…
Pilates is also an extremely flexible exercise system. Modifications to the exercises allow for a range of difficulty ranging from beginning to advanced. Get the workout that best suits you now, and increase the intensity as your body conditioning improves.
Great move for the Busy day!
One leg Bridges: laying on back (supine spine) knees bent-Keeping heels of your feet lined up with your sit bones. Lead your pelvis up into a neutral bridge.Keep the image of a small ball in your inner thighs, gently squeeze you inner thighs in the direction of each other. Lift your hip slightly and then your leg . Once secure- add on neutral dips- pelvis down to hover just above the ground. Knees aim forward. Be certain to get each side.
Keep your lunches, healthy, easy and convenient anytime, anywhere. When creating sustainable strategies with clients one saying rings true: Fail to plan, Plan to fail. This week’s organic lunch in a jar: Wild shrimp with Meyers lemon and olive oil, ruby red grapefruit, avocado, cucumber, tomato, basil, parsley and arugula. Simply turn upside down for a minute to distribute dressing and Bon Appetit!
NEED SOME ENERGY? TRY THIS INSTEAD OF THAT AFTERNOON COFFEE:
Setup: Get into a quadruped position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your trunk is stable and in a neutral position.
Two steps to a slimmer you!
Research now supports the fact that there is a direct relationship between chronic inflammation and weight gain. The result is a vicious cycle that most dieters never end up escaping.
Excess fat causes increased inflammation, while inflammation releases hormones that create even more fat.
And the only way to stop the cycle is to reduce chronic inflammation.
Here are a couple of actions you can take now.
And the number one recommendation for reducing inflammation is to take a high quality Omega-3 Fish Oil… at least 2.4 grams a day.( be certain to choose an Omega oil that is preserved with a high quality essential oil and in a dark container)
The standard western diet has caused our fat stores to become seriously out of balance… leading to the chronic inflammation that makes it almost impossible to lose weight.
One of the biggest culprits is our ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. We evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids close to 1 to 1, and the problem is that the typical western diet has a ratio of at least 15 to 1 in favor of omega-6 fatty acids.
Aside from eating too many omega-6 fatty acids, we are chronically deficient in our intake of absorbable omega-3 fatty acids. This leads to chronic inflammation, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.1
So the solution is to lower your intake of omega-6 fatty acids, and increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake by consuming fish (not farm raised), Organic vegetables grass-fed beef, and taking a high quality Omega-3 fish oil.
Tone those obliques with…SIDE-LYING LEG RAISES!
Setup: Lie on your left side and rest your head on a pillow. Extend your bottom arm underneath the pillow, palm facing up, and place your top arm in front of your body, palm lightly pressing into the floor. Extend your legs long, gluing them together, and stack your hips on top of each other. Bring your legs slightly forward in front of your hips.
Advanced: Challenge your balance by extending your top arm toward the ceiling.
Good posture can help us to attain (and retain as we age) maximum flexibility, strength, resiliency, and mobility of the spine. This is a goal well worth aiming for, and regular Pilates workouts can help you achieve it — because postural awareness is built right in to every exercise.
A person who moves well in his or her body projects a sense of power, grace, self-confidence, and personal style. If your posture is equivalent to a lazy slump, you CAN end up with a thick waist, narrow chest, and rounded shoulders that take a good 2 inches off your natural height — definitely not the picture of grace and style! Good posture is about more than just looking good, though; it’s essential to a healthy, well-functioning body.
Poor posture is an energy sapper. If your spine is incorrectly balanced, your muscles need to work harder to keep your body upright all day long. Lazy posture also causes your upright structure to collapse in places, like a poorly constructed building. In turn, this can compound many physical ailments, such as digestive problems, poor circulation, chronic low energy, lower back pain, headaches, and shortness of breath.
The Pilates Methodology is based on sound scientific principles that squarely address the structural realities of the human body. Among its many benefits, it seeks to promote good posture by balancing the body and distributing the normal physical stresses of standing and moving among the appropriate bone and muscle groups.
The human spine is made up of 32 to 34 bones called vertebrae, and it is designed to provide a maximum range of motion and support for the body with a minimum of wear and tear on the spine’s joints, or intervertebral discs. In addition, the spine has four natural curves:
If your posture is good, as illustrated here, these spinal curves lend shock absorption, extra flexibility, and range of motion to your movement. Having evenly developed back muscles and strong abs helps support the spine. But if there is too much or too little curve in your spine, or if the curves do not balance properly with one another, your posture is poor, which can lead to structural problems and back pain.
Poorly aligned postures cause asymmetrical muscle development, meaning certain muscle groups are constantly overworking to hold the body upright, while others become significantly weakened. Even our favorite sports, such as golf, tennis, and running, encourage lopsided and uneven muscle development — as does carrying a briefcase or handbag on one side of your body, or balancing an infant on the same hip for hours on end.
Pilates can be a wonderful solution to all these poor postural habits because the exercises encourage bilateral, even muscle development and flexibility at the same time. A good Pilates workout doesn’t have to be long or exhausting — but it can and will rebalance your body over time.
by Jillian Hessel
Your body is like a well oiled machine. If your main gear or center gear is not working correctly the rest of the body does not function at its best. One of the reasons Pilates exercise is perfect is that it works on that center gear, or powerhouse(tummy) to initiate every movement, leaving your energized refreshed, stronger, leaner and with better posture.
Having a strong center will immediately give you the ability to stand straighter and the strength to complete a result oriented workout. Pilates exercise is easy on the joints and works your body symmetrically so you feel balanced. After doing Pilates exercise 10 times you will FEEL the difference, after 20 times you will SEE the difference and after 30 times everyone else will see the difference. You can practice your pilates several times per week, some everyday. We always start with exercises which stimulate the heart and lungs and increases circulation. Pilates exercise hone in and tighten your buttocks, inner and outer thighs, flatten your tummy and help you to get over the computer slump.
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