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“Dear Diary…” Isis Pilates. Week 3.

February 18, 2010

Isis Pilates

1615 Foothill Dr. Suite C. Salt Lake City, Utah


Benefits of Pilates

Pilates enhances the everyday activities of our lives, whether it’s bending over to pick something up or running a 26 mile marathon.  It’s a refreshing mind-body workout.  By breathing deeply and concentrating on flowing movement you can maximize your workout.  Breathing deeply carries oxygen to the muscles and can reduce stress.

Pilates strengthens and elongates muscles improving elasticity and joint mobility.  A body conditioned with balance, strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

Pilates doesn’t over train or under train muscles.  It focuses on the body as a whole.  Each exercise works on developing a strong core – your abdominals and back.

Pilates is a safe exercise.  It teaches good posture, body awareness and can help you look and feel your best.–Cher Jolley-Parkes

Jesse.  “Dear Diary…”

December 21, 2009

Today I attended another group class with Cher.  Both of the group classes I attended had five or less people.  I have increasingly come to love group classes at ISIS because of how personal they are and because of how much attention each participant receives.

We did two series of push-ups on the reformer.  For each set of push-ups in the series we shifted the foot bar up and down.  There are four different settings (or heights) on the foot bar.  When doing pushups, you kneel on the reformer and place your hands on the foot bar (if you are stronger, you go into plank position by raising your knees off the reformer and balancing on your feet).  The difference between Pilates pushups and regular pushups is your lower body is required to stabilize the reformer all while the arms are doing the pushup exercise.

Another cool exercise that we did involved one of the many ab exercises we performed.  We laid on our back on the reformer, with our legs at a 90 degree angle (the stronger your abs get, the farther away you can hold your legs).  We pulled both the right and left strap and looped them together and placed one hand over the other in the combined loop.  We then proceeded to pull the straps down and up, with our elbows locked, from our forehead to our waist, over and over.  We then would tilt our legs to the right and left and do a set for each side.  Yes… they are incredibly hard.  I think they are so hard because Cher keeps a vigilant watch on whether or not I am keeping my lower spine in line against the reformer.

Probably the hardest exercise we did tonight involved the Pilates ring.  We placed our legs on the outside of the ring and squeezed the ring in and out slowly for 30 pulses and then 75 quick tiny pulses.  We then did the same thing but with our legs inside of the ring and pushed out.  Wow…  I felt crazy muscles working that I didn’t even know I had. The muscles around my sacrum (tail bone) were dead.

December 23, 2009

Today at Pilates we spent a lot of time on the Pilates chair.  I’m pretty amazed at all of the many exercises that we can do on such an unassuming box.  We did these pushups where we placed one are on the ground and the other on the foot bar.  You then hold plank position and do a pushup with only the one arm on the foot bar.  Once again I was working stabilizer muscles that I don’t usually work, which is awesome.

We focused a lot on the abs while working on the box.  We placed our feet on the foot bar and gripped the edge of the Pilates box and then proceeded to pull our bums up to the ceiling.  I’m pretty sure it’s called a reverse curl.  This move involved engaging my entire core as well as my abs.  The springs inside of the box are adjustable so that the user can increase the resistance.  The stronger the resistance, the less work the user has to do and the weaker the resistance the harder the user has to work to get your  bum in the air.  So it is opposite than traditional exercise machines in that aspect.  To change this exercise up a bit, we twisted our body to one side and crossed one leg over the other and worked the obliques.  We then proceeded to repeat the exercise of lifting our bums in the air.

Tonight I learned something amazing.  The Pilates ring…  the one you repeatedly squeeze between your knees over and over…. there are people who can do 1300 pulses in one sitting… uh…. I think I did 200 tonight and I am dead… I can only imagine how immaculate my behind would look if I could do 1300 pulses in one sitting.

Noel.  “Dear Diary…”

How do you take criticism?

In most cases I love criticism.  I do dumb, nonsensical things quite a bit-sometimes without even knowing it-so I like to have someone I trust keep me in check; “What are you doing man?!  Maybe you shouldn’t hockey-check the biggest and meanest dude on the soccer field.”  “Oh yeah, probably a good idea.  Thanks dude.”

So going into Isis Pilates and getting assessed-critiqued if you will-on form, balance, flexibility, and so on was ultra exciting for me.  Through a series of seemingly simple tests (walk back and forth, do 12 squats, touch your toes, stand on one leg, even just standing there) Cher was able to tell me things about myself that were formerly under my radar.  Such as:

-Hip shifts slightly to the right.

-Left arm swings more than my right when I walk.

-Right shoulder is higher than my left.

-Good spinal posture-no forward head.

The list is longer but you get the picture.  So my hip shifts slightly to the right for a reason.  With better form, mindfulness, and some minor tweaking, that can be corrected.  And when it’s corrected it will enable me to be more balanced, to move more efficiently, and to avoid pain in the future.  The point of the assessment is so you and Cher can focus and individualize the workouts.  An adolescent female’s Pilates workouts will not be the same as an 88 year old male’s.  Individualized.  Tailored.  Proper form, proper technique, mindfulness.  Make sense?  And thank goodness I don’t have the forward-head syndrome.

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