Endurance Pilates-why we do Pilates the “correct” way!

A student that is progressing very quickly with a mix of classes and privates has started to attend an “Advanced” Mat class that I am teaching. Really, I am just going through the repertoire as Joseph Pilates designed. From The Hundred (NOT the hundreds, there is no s!) to The Pushup we take one exercise right after the other and yes, I do teach her The Crab- it is a fantastic exercise, learn to do it from a Classical instructor! We are still working on all of the inversions in some of the sessions, but are pretty true to the way Joseph Pilates wanted his students to perform the mat exercises in the proper order and execution with lots of hands on assistance from me! She remarked at the last session after I asked if she felt Ok with all of the corrections, “I used to hate taking from you because you would make people do the exercises correctly and I just wanted to keep doing them the way I thought they were supposed to be done as fast as I could with little attention to form. After working this way (with corrections and major tactile cueing) for a very short time, I am seeing huge results in my body.”

Touche.

Advantage Classical, Authentic, Real, Romana’s, however you want to call it, we can trust the Pilates method to do the job.

At Endurance, we have worked very hard, for almost three decades, refining our knowledge of the Pilates system, studying Contemporary methods based on newly designed equipment and back to the roots- on the Gratz, with two NYC apprenticeships in Pilates- learned from the sources, through oral tradition as Joseph Pilates directed on the equipment that he designed. After spending years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, we took the best of the methods and combined them to teach the Classical system at Endurance. Our goal is to get our students to flow, one exercise to the other, assuming their knowledge of the repertoire.

When the student is ready, the workout is available! That being said, we have developed some very effective methods including tactile cueing, exercises to teach pieces of full “Advanced” exercises and ways of creating the strength and stability necessary to progress in the Pilates system. The Basic is so very important, we spend most of our life somewhere slightly in the Intermediate system, even as teachers. Normally, when a student comes in and claims to be very experienced or advanced, I know that I am in for a challenge. Some folks love it and realize what we are trying to elicit via our acute attention to form, others can be offended that the 40 person group classes they have been taking for 10 years are really choreography based on Pilates versus instruction in the Pilates method. Pilates is fantastic for the body, but can be a challenge to the ego- for all of us. I get my sorry abs handed back to me every single time I get on the Mat with one of my instructors! That is how it should be- Pilates practitioners ideally move within the Pilates ideally based on the guidance of their teachers. We have a responsibility as instructors to create an experience for our students based on the body that walks through the door.

Pilates, years to learn, a lifetime to master. The more you know, the more you know you need to know!

Why is Pilates Beneficial for Marathon Runners?

pexels-photo-221210

All runners focus on strengthening their legs and their aerobic threshold but, too often, runners make the mistake of neglecting everything else. Running uses so much more than just your legs and your heart. Your core, which Pilates helps build in a uniform manner, is a huge part of running.

Your abdominal muscles include more than just the superficial “6 pack” muscles (rectus abdominis). As you can see from the diagram below, the abdominal muscles consists of the transverse abdominis, rectus abdomens and oblique (internal/external). This is distinctive from your core muscles. The core, on the other hand is your transverse abdominis, the pelvic floor, diaphragm and multifindi (diagram 2). All of these muscles work together when you think of “using your core.” In Pilates, we often refer to working and building the strength in our powerhouse, which is comprised of the “central” muscles – the abdomen and core muscles (described above), lower backs, hips and buttocks.

abdominal-muscles-anatomy-1024x585

core-diagram

Here are a few examples of how a strong core can help improve your running times and keep you injury free.

A strong core will help hold stabilize the pelvis. If your pelvis is out of alignment or unstable, you can become prone to injury. It can cause other imbalances further down the leg and may result in any leg issues (knee/hip) or low back pain. As you build your core, your abs will help you stabilize every time you make impact with the ground. This will reduce the need to overcompensate for imbalances and instability with other muscles.

Pilates will also help to increase flexibility, improve running posture and increase your power (as we focus on using the glutes and hamstrings in conjunction with the core).

While Pilates tones and strengthens, it simultaneously stretches. In every exercise you should feel a stretch and lengthening, which over time will help to increase flexibility in muscles. Pilates is well known for improving posture or helping to alleviate back pain. Every Pilates class or private helps to open up the front of the shoulders and to build the muscles towards the back of the body to hold the shoulders back. Lastly, we as mentioned above, the Pilates powerhouse incorporates the glutes and hamstrings. In every class, we work to build the strength in the glutes. Often students enter our studio not knowing how to “find their glutes.” We help students learn to activate them during Pilates classes, which translates to increased power outside the studio.

“I believe that a lack of core-strength and flexibility can create long term motor skills problems as the body continually adapts to find the path of least resistance and turns away from proper running mechanics.” -Terrence Mahon (Mammoth Lake Track Club)

Did we convince you? Take the guess work out of “am I doing it right?” and try incorporating one of our group Pilates mat class a week into your running routine. We offer a special “Pilates for Runners” class led by Christie, a marathoner and Pilates instructor at Endurance. This mat class focuses on building the core and is geared specifically for runners. Plus, it’s winter – the perfect time to gain strength for the next running season!

Stress Less at Endurance

Stress Less at Endurance!  Because for One Hour, all you will be able to think about is you!

Joseph Pilates called his method Contrology and according to him….

“The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors if there be any such so fortunate living among us today. However, it is the ideal to strive for, and in our opinion, it is only through Contrology [Pilates] that this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind, and spirit can ever be attained.” Joseph Pilates

Want to take your mind off everything else going on around you- for an hour?  I will admit it- I seriously started doing Pilates because I needed at least one hour in my life on most days of the week where I didn’t have to think about anything else except exactly what I was doing with my body at that particular moment.  I couldn’t think of my grocery list or the 10 things I had to do when I went back to the office after my evening class.  Lots has changed since then, but I still use my Pilates workouts to get away from the rest of the world.  I can’t check my email, texts or monthly sales numbers when I’m backbending on the reformer.   I could do other forms of exercise session- spin, step…get on a treadmilll or elliptical and try and zone out, but everything I had to do or was worried about would creep into my mind.  That is certainly not the case with Pilates!

When students perform Pilates exercises at Endurance, we give them lots of direction as to how to move precisely and with control- there are no haphazard movements in a Pilates class.  Once we’ve established a certain level of control, we add in more flow and more moving pieces to control.  It’s the “mind over movement” that makes Pilates the ideal workout for stress relief.  During a particular exercise, you will be told how to do it, where to feel it, how to make it even better for your spine and overall physique.  Our instructors have taken years to learn Pilates in their own bodies and have plenty of practice “squeezing the juice” out of each and every exercise.  They when it is time to slow the workout down for precision and when to speed it up to flow.  Ever had a difficult time meditating?  Because you were trying to clear your mind and all those to-dos kept creeping back in?  We guarantee that for one hour, the only thing you will be able to think about is your tummy, tush and inner thighs working really hard to move your body in a more perfect and precise way in just about anything that you do outside the studio!  Come clear your mind with us and get a great butt and flat abs while you leave your cars by the door!

“Ideally, our muscles should obey our will. Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles.” Joseph Pilates

Photo by Servidone Studios