November 17, 2018

Core Moves: Easy as 1-2-3 by Chanda Fetter

We’re all busy, busy, busy, so here are three great go-to exercises to strengthen your core. 

No more excuses, strengthening your core is a necessity!  It allows us to stand taller, have a stronger spine with less low back and neck discomfort.

Plank  – This is one of the all time best core exercises.  The idea is to contract your core muscles while holding a prone neutral position.  Planks can be done on your elbows, hands.  A general modification to keep your knees on the floor, just make sure your weight shifts into the abdominals as opposed to hips or shoulders.  You will want to tighten your abdominals and make sure to keep your legs sipped together as one.  Other variations include side planks, dynamic rotation or even adding a pike.

Sitting V with Trunk Rotation – Grab yourself a 5-10 pound medicine ball, bag of potatoes or even fruit.  Sit up tall with your feet on the floor, knees bent and hinge back from the hips to engage your abdominals.  If possible wedge your feet under something for added stability.  Be sure you don’t hinge back too far as you don’t want to over recruit your hip flexor muscles, nor do you want to load your lower back.  Stay at a safe angle that allows maximum recruitment of your abdominal wall.  Take your weight and rotate side to side making sure to stay evenly planted on your tail.  While you are performing this exercise be sure to tighten your abs and breathe deep.  Know that this exercise can be performed with just your body weight as well for less intensity by simply crossing your arms on your chest.   Perform until you find fatigue in your abdominals then rest for a few breathes and repeat 3x.

Superman/woman – Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead and legs reaching long out of your waist.  Lift opposite arm and leg while lifting chest slightly off the ground.  As your limbs lift, your chest lifts, and they go down, your chest lowers back down.  Once you get the hang of that try lifting all four limbs off the floor and hold for 15-30 seconds.  General reminders are to lengthen out of your spine and inhale, then exhale and lift your chest off the ground to find a position just beyond neutral.  You’ll want to be sure you pull the shoulder blades down your back so you’re not taking weight into your neck and shoulders.  Keep your gluts relaxed and feel the muscles along the sides of your spine tighten and you extend your back.

Chanda Fetter
IMX Pilates Studio & Fitness Center, Owner
IMX Pilates Master Trainer
Chanda@imxsb.net

At-Home Core Strength by Chanda Fetter

3 Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Core  Muscles At Home

We can’t always make time for the gym, sometimes we have to rely on the space and items we have around our home to get those important exercises done.  The following three exercises will help strengthen your core, tighten your waistline, reduce back pain and give you a boost of energy!

Sitting V with Trunk Rotation – Grab a bag of potatoes or fruit, something that might equate to 8-10 lbs.  Sit on the ground and wedge your feet under the couch to secure them in place.  Sit up tall and hinge back from the hips to engage your abdominals.  Be sure you don’t hinge back too far as you don’t want to over recruit your hip flexor muscles, nor do you want to load your lower back.  Stay at a safe angle that allows maximum recruitment of your abdominal wall.  Take your weight and rotate side to side making sure to stay evenly planted on your tail.  While you are performing this exercise be sure to tighten your abs and breathe deep.  Know that this exercise can be performed with just your body weight as well for less intensity by simply crossing your arms on your chest.   Perform until you find fatigue in your abdominals then rest for a few breaths and repeat 3x.

Back Extensions – Take a few pillows and place them on the floor.  Lie on your stomach so the pillows rest under your hips.  Wedge your feet under the couch and place your hands behind your head.  Lengthen out of your spine and inhale, then exhale and lift your chest off the ground to find a position just beyond neutral.  You’ll want to be sure you pull the shoulder blades down your back so you’re not taking weight into your neck and shoulders.  Keep your gluteal muscles relaxed and feel the muscles along the sides of your spine tighten and you extend your back.  Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a 3 second hold at the top.

Plank with Rotation Knee Tucks – Take an ordinary kitchen towel or pillowcase and place it under your feet.  Assume a plank position up on your hands, tighten your abdominals and make sure to keep your legs zipped together as one.   Take a deep breath in and as you exhale pull your knees across your body and into your right elbow then your left.  Do this a total of 8-10x keeping a nice pace.  Notice that your hips will lift slightly as you pull the knees across your body.  This is an advanced exercise so know that holding a static plank is a great alternative.  Planks can be done on your hands, your forearms, on your toes or on your knees.

By Chanda Fetter
IM=X Pilates, Owner and Master Trainer. Contact Chanda via chanda@imxsb.net, www.imxsb.net or 805-687-4692.

 

Pilates Anywhere By Chanda Fetter

Owning a Pilates and Fitness Studio, I often hear my clients offer excuses as to why they can’t seem to stick to their program.  We all tell ourselves stories that help us explain away why we haven’t gotten something done when in truth we always seem to find a way when we really want something.  So my first piece of advice would be to change your story!  Likely this is a pattern that follows you beyond exercise, you must stop making excuses and take the small steps needed to improve the quality of your life, you deserve it!

The following three exercises can easily be done at home, in a hotel room or even in an office break room!  They will give you a boost of energy, reduce your back pain and tighten your tummy.  As always, consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Forced Exhalation Breathing – Sit up tall in your chair or lie down on the floor.  Place your hands between your ribcage and your belly button.  Take a long deep inhale through your nose, then exhale through pursed lips, pulling your abdominals in towards your spine while contracting your Pelvic Floor Muscles (otherwise known as Kegel or bladder muscles).  When performing the exhale you should make a “shhh-ing” sound to ensure the pressure is great enough to create the contraction needed.  Do this a minimum of 10 times then use this breath when performing the remaining exercises.  This generous flow of oxygen will do wonders for your brain as well as your abdominals.  Each time you perform this breath you will be engaging 80% of your abdominal wall!

Hundreds – Lie on your back with your legs in one of the following positions – knees bent / feet on floor making sure your lower back is in neutral position, knees bent with feet off floor / table top, or legs extended away from body on a 45 degree angle so as to stress the lower abdominal section.  Reach your arms long down the side of your body, bring your head and shoulders into a tight curl and pump your arms up and down so as to engage your back muscles, ie Latissimus Dorsi.  Using the forced exhale technique above, inhale for 5 pumps, exhale for 5 pumps and do for a count of 100. The curl is a constant, high hold.

Swimming – Lie on your stomach with your arm and legs stretched out like Superman/woman.  Extend long through your spine as you lift your arms and legs off the floor.  Be careful not to arch extensively into your spine but rather lengthen out of it.  Using the forced exhalation technique above flutter your arms and legs up and down for total of 10 breaths.

Chanda Fetter
IM=X Pilates, Owner

www.imxsb.net

Why Pilates Works by Chanda Fetter

Pilates was created as a way to address injured soldiers in WWI. It was a means to keep the integrity and strength of the muscle while recovering from battle wounds. Yes, it was designed originally for men and as a sense of rehab and ultimately preventative care. Since in America, Pilates has taken on all different forms, but the foundation has always been  a common thread; people function better as a result of training in the Pilates method.

Corrects Muscular Imbalances. Through conscious repetition and attention to detail, any function can be re-learned. When the body is traumatized by an injury or accident its protective mechanism is to “shut down” the injured area. The only problem is the body doesn’t naturally “turn on” that same area once it’s better. Whatever compensation the body has done to work around the injured area is now the new norm of that junction. Over time, this uneven recruitment of muscle tissue creates asymmetries (mismatched sides, imbalances). These asymmetries lead to improper wear and tear on the joints and spine, ultimately causing improper GAIT (how we transfer weight through the body), stress on hips, back and spine.

Repairs and improves Muscle Recruitment Patterns. Once you’ve worked to correct your muscular imbalances the body will naturally grab hold of these learned behaviors and the neurological relationship between brain and body will be repaired. After all your body wants to behave properly, we just need to be conscience in our movements while this process is taking place, then ultimately it will do it on it’s own.

Functional Adaptation. Pilates has many parallels to functional movement patterns. For instance, when working any weight over our heads we teach the clients to draw down into their middle back muscles (Lattisimus Dorsi) as opposed to taking that weight directly into the neck and shoulders. This is functional to life, all movements should translate as such to all activities of daily living.

Everybody can do it. Pilates is based out of a rehabilitative principle and has adapted to the general population over the years to be one of the most safe and effective forms of exercise. It allows you to maximize the potential of each muscle group without compromising the spine or joints. It promotes core strength, balance, flexibility in a way that helps you understand the limits and potential of your body.

By Chanda Fetter
IM=X Pilates Studio, Owner