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Oh, Squishy Ball, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways….  The Squishy Ball exercises we do at Effortless Movement are based on Joe’s arc barrel and spine corrector exercises. They are awesome for working your entire abdominal wall, lengthening the legs, and getting control over your ribcage. (I just taught a private session the other day where we addressed the relationship between your ribcage and the rest of your posture — it’s all connected, folks!)

squishy-ball-homework

This series is for my ongoing Group Equipment class peeps — homework for Thanksgiving week!  Feel free to ask me for pointers in class, as this post isn’t meant to be a complete online tutorial.

THE LIST:

  • Frog – remember to create the “power leg” sensation from class.
  • Circles – small range of motion on this one!
  • Double Leg Lift – 6-12″ range of motion is plenty.
  • Bridge – bonus points: do all 3 foot/leg positions: neutral, turn out, and turn in
  • Kick your Big Brother – for single leg movements you can likely aim lower…
  • Helicopter – lol – your brain is getting bigger!
  • Bicycle – try to touch your mat with your foot
  • Super Psoas – add in the magic booster that I taught you in class.

SUCCESS TIPS:

  • Golden Rule: If your legs are moving, your torso stays still. No rocking from side to side!
  • Use your corset muscles to lock that back ribcage down. If it’s moving, you’re aiming your leg(s) too low or your range of motion is too large.
  • Yes, your low-back will be off the mat when your hips are on the ball. Your “anchor point” is your back ribcage. (yep, I talk a lot about Anchor Points in my best selling book, Ageless Pilates)

REALITY CHECK

Of course I think my squishy ball is the best, but really, use what you have!  Got another brand of 9″ squsihy ball? Use it! No ball available? Roll up a large towel to create a 9″ lift for your hips — or just grab a thick pillow off your couch. I would avoid using anything too hard though, so please no hard rollers, basketballs, weighted gym balls.

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Homework Sequence 1

This one is for my Group Pilates Equipment Classes. Please do these 4 moves everyday — they should take you 5 minutes, 4 seconds in total.pilates-essentials-homework-1-1

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Too much forward tilt can cause a cranky low-back

75% of my clients experience occasional low-back tension

General low-back tension is quite common in our chair-loving culture.

What’s the connection between low-back tension and sitting in a chair? View full article »

Whole 30 Week 1

#PilatesWhole30 Week 1

I’ve been promising my friends a down and dirty look at how I’m doing Whole 30, so here’s a peek at Week 1.

This is my first time doing W30, and I gave myself 10 days prior to get my head around: no sugar or sugar substitutes, no alcohol, no dairy (I gave this up about a year ago,) no legumes and no grains. I HIGHLY recommend giving yourself planning and shopping time BEFORE you start. Go get the Whole 30 book so you don’t have to stare endlessly at your computer. Their website is great, and has tons of free info too. I’ve included a few recipe links in my spreadsheet.

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Day 1 Hamburger, mixed greens, olive oil, lemon Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. Headache at 3pm. Had a hard boiled egg & a handful of carrots. steak, mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, homemade chimichurri
Day 2 Breakfast casserole: eggs, sausage, mushrooms, spinach Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. small coffee 2 hamburgers, 2 carrot “buns”, chimichurri, salad with homemade ranch
Day 3 Breakfast casserole Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. steak, mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, chimichurri
Day 4 homemade pork sausage + salad Lunch out: burger on salad. Not. Enough. Food. 2nd Lunch:  Breakfast casserole almond chicken, roasted broccoli
Day 5 homemade turkey sausage patty, cauliflower egg casserole, carrot pancakes/buns 4pm I’m dragging.  carrots & guac burger, bacon, salad, ranch, avo
Day 6 burger, bacon, guac, carrots, string beans greens, 1 can tuna, 2 eggs, cherry tomato, string beans, olive oil, lemon, salt. Hungry at 4:30  1/4 cup pecans spiralized sweet potatoes, turkey sausage + apple, bacon, over easy eggs, sautéed spinach
Day 7 2-3 eggs scrambled, 4 bacon, asparagus Chicken salad with homemade mayo. Carrots & green beans. filet mignon, large baked white potato, ghee, salad, ranch, marinated mushrooms

NOTES

  • My afternoon headaches and super-low energy used to have me drinking coffee at 3pm. If I eat enough at lunch, I don’t need that coffee — no more slump. Food energy, instead of coffee energy. I’m a little nervous that this won’t lead to changing my body fat percentage.
  • Sleep improved already! I’m still hoping for the elusive “I slept thru the night” by the end of W30.  This has been an issue for me for so long that I really want to understand WHY W30 improves sleep. Knowledge is power and I’m committed to improving my sleep patterns.
  • I broke a rule: weighed myself. I’m feeling much peppier and got excited about that. Haven’t lost a single pound. Still committed to the entire 30 days, but I think I should stay off the scale. Will have to put it away!

TIPS

  • Anytime you cook something make extra! Seriously, you do not want to fabricate 21 W30 meals every week from scratch. Recycle, re-mix or just have the same dang meal again.
  • My chicken salad: buy the huge pack of pre-shredded chicken at Costco and mix it with mayo, pecans and apples. I could eat this every day for lunch. Let’s see how many times I do….
  • Buy an immersion blender. It makes mayo, ranch, etc super easy. I am NEVER buying mayo or ranch again — homemade is better!

homework 2

New homework for my Summer Term students. We’re working on the Classical Order for Mat exercises. Here’s the list: View full article »

new 1-2-3 (2)

Happy Summer 2017!

Registration for Group Pilates Equipment classes is HOPPIN’ so I put together a listing for my peeps to be able to see where there are still some open slots. The semester begins June 26th — grab ’em quick! View full article »

Morgan’s Pilates Homework

Can I just say: requesting a homework sequence for when you’re out of town is a good way to get on my “favorite client” list! Morgan is hitting  the road for 3 weeks, and wants to maintain strength and flexibility with a quick daily Pilates fix. If you’re planning a trip this summer, this series might be just the ticket for you too.

Morgan's Homework

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As promised to my ongoing Pilates students, here is a pictorial of Joe Pilates’ famous Relaxor Bed exercises. You can see Joe in photo 23! We worked on these in class last week; take a shot at doing 5 reps of each exercise for homework this week.

Pilates Relaxor Bed exercises

Courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections

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