Knocked Up!

Hiya lovelies,

Sorry I have been AWOL lately. I meant to just take a quick break over the holiday and exam period, but it ended up being quite the extended absence. For good reason though, I promise. I found out on Christmas Eve that my husband and I are FINALLY expecting baby #2!!!

Unfortunately this has meant quite the break due to some pretty awful morning sickness, accompanied by delightful (NOT) headaches. Things are starting to ease up a bit for me now so am starting to get back to my usual healthy eating and exercising. I don’t think I will be blogging as regularly as in the past (well not for a while anyway) but am posting on Instagram and Facebook. I will try to get on here for the odd update and to post some info on pilates and exercise in general (particularly pilates in pregnancy). If you wish to get in contact to ask a specific question, or to request I post some info on a particular topic, please message me through the Facebook page. It is my most regular haunt at the moment, and I am trying to post interesting (well, interesting in my opinion anyway :-p ) info on there even when not posting instructional pics of my own.

Hope you are all keeping well, and getting your pilates on regularly :-)

Much love to you all,

Kiki xx

Let’s talk posture #2

This week’s posture focus is LORDOSIS. A lordotic posture is one in  which there is an increased curve in the lower back, also called the lumbar spine. This is caused by a combination of factors including weak abdominal muscles, glutes and hamstrings, and tightness in the gluteal muscles (the butt), lower back (usually the quadratus lumborum) and quadriceps. In other words, we want to strengthen the abs, bum and the back of the legs, and stretch the back, butt and front of the legs. This will allow the body to realign into a more balanced posture: neutral spine.

We are specifically talking about postural lordosis, not an increased lordosis caused by issues such as osteoporosis, spondylolisthesis, discitis, etc. For these issues you will need to exercise under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist. If there is pain, numbness and tingling, if the curve is visible even when you bend forward, if you are experiencing muscle spasms or there is problem with passing waste, please see your doctor.

Failing to address the lordosis can lead to problems with the spine, hips, legs, or even with the internal organs of the lower abdomen.

Here we go!

POSTURE: lordosis

POSTURE: lordosis

For the exercises, please use the search function on the left of the page to find each as we have covered them all before :)

KNEELING QUAD STRETCH: quads & hip flexors

KNEELING QUAD STRETCH: quads & hip flexors

Kneel with the left knee as close as possible to the wall, toes tucked into the wall behind you. The front leg is bent out in front with the foot flat on the wall. You can put something under the knee for comfort, but avoid altogether if you have knee problems. Tuck the pelvis under without arching the lower back. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

You can increase the stretch by further tucking the pelvis, having the knee closer to the wall, and having the foot higher up the wall. Do NOT lose the pelvic tilt. If the stretch is too strong, try leaving the foot down on the floor rather than tucking it into the wall. If you are avoiding due to knee issues, do a simple standing quad stretch. I think everyone will have done this at one time or other, where you balance on one foot with the other knee bent, holding the foot behind the butt ;)

SUPINE GLUTE STRETCH

SUPINE GLUTE STRETCH: butt

Begin as in pic 1, lying on the back with the spine in neutral and the knees bent up. Place the ankle of the right leg on the knee of the left. If this is as much as you can manage that’s fine, just push away the right knee to keep the knees wide. If you can, reach between the legs and grab on to the thigh of the left leg and pull it towards you to increase the stretch. Keep the upper body on the floor. You can place a cushion under your head if your flexibility doesn’t allow for this. Hold the stretch for 5-10 breaths then repeat on the other side.

Beware of pain in the knees, hips and lower back. For knee pain avoid this exercise, for lower back pain use the feet on floor option and engage the t-zone, for hip pain try adjusting position until you find a painfree position or avoid altogether.

PRONE GLUTE STRETCH: butt

PRONE GLUTE STRETCH: butt

Begin by kneeling on the hands and knees. Draw the left knee forward and lay the shin on the ground, extend the right leg behind as in pic 1. Lean the body forward. If you are able, you can lower the body right down so that you are lying on the forearms to increase the stretch further. Hold for 5-10 breaths and then repeat on the opposite side. You may find that with each out breath you are able to relax a little further forward into the stretch.

Again, avoid this stretch if you have knee problems or hip problems. You can adjust the angle of the shin to whatever is comfortable for you  :)

MERMAID STRETCH: lumbar spine, quadratus lumborum (lower back)

MERMAID STRETCH: lumbar spine, quadratus lumborum (lower back)

Sit with both feet to the right, the right foot tucked behind you and the left foot tucked into the right leg. Hold the body as upright as possible and then lean to the right side (without leaning forward). Raise the left arm up and over the body. You can rest the right arm on the floor, or you can stretch it across the body to hold the left knee and increase the stretch. Hold for 5-10 breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.

If you are unable to manoeuvre your body into this position, you could simply stand upright and flex your body to one side and then the either i.e the same as basic standing stretch from last week but lean to side instead of back.

The final stretch is prayer stretch which we covered last week, but this time keep the arms beside the body rather than stretching them overhead. This will help to concentrate the stretch into the lower back. You can separate the feet to lower the butt closer to the floor and increase the stretch this way.

Just a final word to reiterate the point that postural correction is an ongoing process. Aim to follow the exercise lists at least 3 times a week, more if you can, and try to do the stretches everyday. You could increase this to every morning and every night :) At the very least, please complete these stretches straight after the prescribed exercises.

Work hard, work safe

<3 Kiki

P.S. Just a word on muscle weakness and tightness. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. It can happen that a muscle can become tight and weak at the same time, and this often happens in a lordotic posture. This is why I have included gluteal stretches, but have also included lower body exercises that strengthen the butt while working the hamstrings. Enjoy :)

Let’s talk posture #1

For the next few weeks I am going to be focusing on using pilates to correct poor posture. Poor posture is a sign of imbalance in the body. We can correct this imbalance be using a combination of specific exercises and stretches to target the affected areas. Before we start, please be aware that you can exhibit more than one of the postural types (it is relatively common to be both lordotic and kyphotic at the same time), and it is fine to tailor your exercise program to address more than one problem area :)

This week we will start with discussing KYPHOSIS. Kyphosis is characterised by a rounding of the upper back, and often a jutting forward of the chin. A lot of jobs have us hunching forward during the day, whether over a desk/computer, leaning over another person while we cut their hair, or bending over to get down to the level of small children. This posture is also very common in women where the weight of their breasts pull them forward. To correct this we need to both strengthen the upper back, and stretch the front of the body in the abs, pecs and lats. A combination of chin tucks and neck stretches helps with the jutting chin.

POSTURE: kyphosis

POSTURE: kyphosis

If you’re not sure if you are kyphotic or not, look for the following:

  • chin poking out
  • head sitting forward of the body
  • shoulder blades sticking out
  • shoulders rolling forward
  • upper back looks rounded

The photo above is exaggerated, but it shows what to look for.

So what’s the problem with having this type of posture? No, it’s not that it doesn’t look pretty in a strapless dress ;) Kyphotic posture can cause pain in the back and neck, headaches, nerve pain, and in severe cases can also be responsible for breathing difficulties! This is because the hunching is restricting the area the lungs have to expand. At this point I think it is important to point out that I am specifically addressing postural kyphosis. There are other causes including Scheuerman’s disease, osteoporosis, infection and tumor. If there is any pain, fatigue or breathing difficulties, or if you believe there is something just not right, please see your doctor for an assessment. There is no harm in seeing your GP just in case, so please book a visit if you are concerned or unsure :)

To start with the exercises, we have looked at all of these in the past except the chin tucks…so here they are :)

CHIN TUCK: upright

CHIN TUCK: upright

Basically we are just deliberately tucking the chin without moving the head. It is almost a nodding action. You can use the fingers to guide the movement, but make sure you are engaging the muscles in the neck to initiate the movement.

CHIN TUCK: prone

CHIN TUCK: prone

This one may be a little more difficult if the neck is particularly weak, but it does have the added benefit of gravity providing a little resistance to work against…and we all know that resistance is hugely beneficial when it comes to strengthening muscles (pilates reformer anyone?). Start lying relaxed on the stomach with the head resting on the floor, lift the head and tuck the chin WITHOUT moving the back or shoulders.

For both of these, repeat at least 10 times. You may like to include Chin Tuck 2 in your workout, and use Chin Tuck 1 throughout the day when you notice you are sticking your chin out again :)

For the others, have a look back through the blog. I have just added a search function to the sidebar (on the left of the screen) to make it easy for you. Just type the name of the exercise and voila!

Now for the stretches:

NECK STRETCH

NECK STRETCH

You can do this one sitting or standing. Starting with the neck in a neutral position draw the right ear towards the right shoulder. Ensure you don’t allow the shoulder to come up towards the ear. To increase the stretch extend the fingers of the opposite (i.e. left in this case) down towards the ground. Avoid pulling the head to increase the stretch. Do NOT force the neck to stretch further than is comfortable. Stop if there is pain, or if it is increasing the intensity of a headache. Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.

BASIC STANDING STRETCH

BASIC STANDING STRETCH

Standing with the feet shoulder width apart, spine in neutral. Extend the arms above the head and then allow the back and neck to bend back as far as is comfortable. This will stretch the lower back, the upper abdominal area and the front of the neck. Do not stretch further than is comfortable. There should be no pain. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

DOORWAY STRETCH

DOORWAY STRETCH

You can do this stretch leaning through a doorway with the arm of the door frame, or against a wall like I have pictured here. Bend the elbow at a right angle and place it against the wall so that the elbow is in line with the shoulder. Place one foot in front of the other (it doesn’t matter which. Try both and see which feels best for you), allow your weight to lean in to the wall as you lean slightly forward, and turn the body out from the wall a little. This acts to open up the chest. Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.

ABDOMINAL STRETCH: prone

ABDOMINAL STRETCH: prone

If you are into yoga, you may know this as cobra pose. Begin lying on the stomach with the hands alongside the head. Push up on to your elbows so that the chest comes off the floor. If you feel like stretching further, straighten the arms to increase the stretch. Breathe to relax into the stretch. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

PRAYER STRETCH: overhead

PRAYER STRETCH: overhead

Another stretch common to yoga :) In yoga this would be called child’s pose, in pilates it is known as prayer stretch: overhead modification. By extending the arms overhead, the stretch is concentrated into the shoulder and lat area (the muscle that runs along the side of the upper body). Begin in kneeling, lower the bottom to the feet and fold the body forward, extending the arms above the head. To increase the stretch, lower the bottom further toward the feet and extend the arms further. As with all stretches, only sink as far into the stretch as is comfortable for YOUR body. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Please avoid this one if you have issues with bulging disc in the spine, etc

So something a bit different this week, but definitely worthwhile. Pilates is all about BALANCE in the body. By balancing our muscles, we correct our posture. This helps to avoid injury, relieve pain and make our movements more efficient. Please remember that postural problems take a long time to manifest, so they can take time to correct. Stick with it and you will feel the difference even before you can see it!

Next week we will look at lordosis, or the increased arch in the lower back.

WORK HARD, WORK SAFE.

Take care lovelies

<3 Kiki

 

 

 

 

 

Wylde Pilates Everyday #9

Hopefully you have been following on FB and/or IG and know that I was sick last week, I didn’t just forget about you all :( So apologies for not having a list up for you last week lovelies <3

This week we are again focusing on the lower body. We will start off by revisiting bicycle legs which we haven’t done in a while. This will work our abs and make sure that we are able to hold the t-zone on while our legs are moving. From there some glute squeezes will help us learn to isolate the butt, and the last 3 exercises will make sure we have given our tooshies a good working over ;)

Here we go!

Pilates Everyday List #9

Pilates Everyday List #9

Just before you start, if you can’t manage bicycle legs, swap them for ab curls. The progression is: ab curl (feet on floor), ab curl (legs in tabletop), bicycle legs. Work at your own level to be safe :)

 

Bicycle Legs: abs

Bicycle Legs: abs

Begin as in pic 1 with the legs in tabletop and spine imprinted. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and curl up. Inhale and hold, exhale and extend one leg out, inhale to draw back in. Continue, alternating legs, breathing out each time you extend your leg, inhaling each time you draw back in to tabletop.

  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep curled up, drawing ribs to hips
  • only extend the leg as low as you can without the back arching
  • keep shoulders down and back
  • keep chin tucked
  • don’t allow knees to roll inward
  • if the hips click, don’t lower the leg so far. Visualise drawing the thigh bone into the hip socket as you move to help activate the correct area
  • you can lower upper body back down to the ground in between reps if necessary

 

Supine Glute Squeeze: glute activation

Supine Glute Squeeze: glute activation

Begin as in pic 1, lying relaxed on the back with the spine in neutral (the hands generally lie alongside the body. I’ve just moved mine out of the way for the photo). Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and squeeze the butt as hard as you can. Inhale and release. Repeat 10 times, squeezing both cheeks as hard as possible simultaneously. For the next 10 breaths, alternate butt cheeks i.e. inhale t-zone, exhale and squeeze left cheek, inhale and release, exhale and squeeze right butt cheek.

  • keep spine in neutral
  • keep body relaxed
  • keep t-zone activated
  • you can place hands beneath the butt to feel muscles working if you are having trouble isolating them
  • turn feet out if you can feel the quads taking over during the squeeze

 

Side Lying Bicycle Legs: glutes

Side Lying Bicycle Legs: glutes

Begin lying on the side with the body in one long line, spine in neutral, knees bent. Inhale and activate t-zone while drawing top knee up toward the chest. Exhale and straighten leg out to the the front, flex the foot, then sweep the leg back until it is in line with the body. Repeat 10 times then reverse direction for 5-10 more reps. Repeat on the opposite side.

  • keep spine in neutral
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep upper body relaxed
  • maintain a gap between the waist and the floor. You can use a hand to push away the top hip to help
  • keep the body still whilst the leg moves
  • do NOT allow the knee to roll towards the ground. It should face forward at all times
  • keep the leg up at hip height
  • flex the foot and push back with the heel when sweeping leg back
  • if your hip clicks, lift the leg higher

 

Kneeling Sidekick: butt

Kneeling Sidekick: butt

Begin kneeling on both knees, place one hand on the floor in line with the knees. Straighten the opposite leg out beside you to make one long line between the toes and the shoulders. You should now be set up like pic 1. Spine is in neutral. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and lift the extended leg up to hip level. Inhale and lower down, stopping with the toes just off the floor. Exhale and raise again, continue for 10 reps then repeat on the opposite side

  • keep spine in neutral (don’t allow butt to stick out)
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep body still whilst the leg moves
  • keep majority of weight on knee, not hand
  • take the leg up to as close to hip height as you can
  • keep upper body relaxed

 

Breastroke legs: butt, hamstrings and lumbar extensors

Breastroke legs: butt, hamstrings and lumbar extensors

Begin lying on the stomach with the head resting on the hands. Legs are straight, feet flexed and turned out. Inhale and activate t-zone, squeeze the butt and raise the legs off the floor as in pic 1. Exhale and beat the heels together 5 times, inhale and beat heels 5 times. Repeat for 10 breaths.

  • keep t-zone activated
  • squeeze thighs to keep legs straight
  • keep feet flexed and turned out
  • squeeze butt to lift legs
  • squeeze butt to beat heels
  • keep thighs as high as possible off the ground without arching lower back

*If there is tension in the lower back try tightening t-zone harder. If you are holding t-zone as hard as you can and there is back pain, please stop and leave this exercise until you are stronger

*You can place your hands under your pelvis to stop hips digging in to the floor. This will also help you to check you are keeping t-zone tight

So there we have it. Some of these may look a little odd to the uninitiated, but they are fab for isolating and working the butt muscles. Remember to work safely at your own level, the level you are at TODAY. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but TODAY.

Take care lovelies

<3 Kiki

 

 

 

 

 

Wylde Pilates Everyday #8

Hiya Everyone :-)

Today we are moving back down the body with a focus on butts and hip mobility. As I mentioned the other day, this is to ensure we have functional movement, particularly in walking, and to avoid pain in the lower back/hip area.

Here’s this week’s list:

Wylde Pilates Everyday #8

Wylde Pilates Everyday #8

We will begin by warming the t-zone and abs, as well as the hip flexors and the adductors (these are the smaller muscles we use to take the leg away from the body). From there we will focus on ALL of the muscles in the buttocks, and end with ‘hinge‘ to work the abs, quads and of course, the bum.

Lets’ go!

Single Leg Circles: warm up t-zone, abs, hip flexors and adductors

Single Leg Circles: warm up t-zone, abs, hip flexors and adductors

Begin lying on the back with the legs bent, feet on the floor. Spine should be in neutral. Inhale and activate t-zone, extend one leg towards the sky. Turn leg out from the hip (the heel turns in without the knee turning/bending). Exhale and lower the leg towards the ground, inhale and circle the leg out to the side and up, like drawing circles on the ceiling with your toes ceilingRepeat 10 times.

  • keep spine in neutral
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep ribs drawing towards hips
  • keep upper body relaxed
  • keep leg turned out from the hip
  • begin circles small (plate size) and make larger if able
  • hip clicking: make circles smaller

*If you suffer from sciatica problems please either avoid this exercise altogether (choose any of the t-zone activation exercises we have previously covered to do instead), or this exercise can also be performed by bending the leg (so that it is positioned like in tabletop), turn out from the hip and draw the circles with the knee. The suitability of this modification is on a case-by-case basis. Please check with your doctor/physio if you are unsure if it is suitable for you.

Clam 2: butt, particularly gluteus medius

Clam 2: butt, particularly gluteus medius

Begin lying on the spine with the spine in neutral and the legs bent up (as though in tabletop whilst side lying). Lift the feet off the floor, knees remain resting on floor. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and use the butt to open the legs. Inhale to close. Repeat 10-20 times on each side.

  • keep spine in neutral
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep body in one long line
  • keep upper body relaxed
  • push top hip away to maintain a gap between the waist and the floor
  • squeeze the butt to initiate the opening movement
  • keep squeezing the heels together

Clam Kickout: gluteus medius

Clam Kickout: gluteus medius

Begin lying on the side with the spine in neutral, knees bent up (as in tabletop whilst side lying). Inhale and activate t-zone, squeeze the top butt cheek to open the legs. Exhale and extend the top leg out in line with the body. Inhale and return feet together. Exhale and close legs. Repeat 10-20 times on each side.

  • keep spine in neutral
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep body in one long line
  • use hand to push top hip away and maintain a gap between waist and floor
  • keep upper body relaxed
  • keep heels squeezing together
  • squeeze top butt cheek to initiate movement
  • when extending the leg, ensure it is in line with the body NOT with the lower foot. You should not be able to see your toes
  • keep toes pointed

Clam Kickout 2: gluteus medius

Clam Kickout 2: gluteus medius

Begin lying on the side with the spine in neutral, knees bent up (as in tabletop whilst side lying) and with the feet raised up off the floor. Inhale and activate t-zone, squeeze the top butt cheek to open the legs. Exhale and extend the leg out in line with the body. Inhale and return feet together. Exhale and close legs. Repeat 10-20 times on each side.

  • keep spine in neutral
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep body in one long line
  • use hand to push top hip away and maintain a gap between waist and floor
  • keep upper body relaxed
  • keep heels squeezing together
  • squeeze top butt cheek to initiate movement
  • when extending the leg, ensure it is in line with the body NOT with the lower foot. You should not be able to see your toes
  • keep toes pointed
  • as you become stronger and more confident with the movement, you can extend the top leg higher

Hinge: abs, quads, butt

Hinge: abs, quads, butt

Begin as in pic 1, on the knees with the spine in neutral, arms extended out in front with the shoulders down and back. Inhale and activate t-zone then take body back, hinging from the knees, exhale and return to start. Repeat

  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep abs tight to stop back from arching
  • keep bottom tucked i.e. don’t let it stick out or lower towards feet
  • keep shoulders relaxed, down and back
  • only go back as far as you can with control

*You may need to place something soft under the knees. If you have knee problems please avoid this exercise. Replace with any butt exercise you like that we have covered previously.

And that is it for this week my lovelies. Have fun, stay safe and remember to work within your own limits on any given day. Don’t forget to follow along via facebook or instagram for daily reminders of the exercises amongst other things :-)

<3 Kiki

P.S. Omgosh how elegant do I (NOT) look doing those clams. Next time I will NOT wear shorts lol. oops :-p

Wylde Pilates Everyday #7

How are we all feeling after last week’s exercises? Hopefully our upper backs are feeling stronger, and we’re standing just that little bit taller and straighter :-)

This week we are shifting the focus back to the abs. One of the principles of pilates is CENTERING. This means that everything we do comes from the centre of the body. We need to ensure that this centre is strong  as all movement radiates from here. That is why pilates places such a strong emphasis on abdominal work, and why you will notice I come back to the ab exercises more often than other exercises. Which is not to say that balance is not important when exercising our bodies (it’s IS! And that’s why it’s another of the pilates principles). This need for balance is why we are returning to ‘flight’  for the second week in a row. It is the perfect exercise to compliment abdominal work. More on that later in the week…

So here it is…LIST #7

Pilates Everyday List #7

Pilates Everyday List #7

Before we start, just a couple of things to point out. If you are unable to maintain an imprinted spine, or have back pain while doing these variations on ab curl and oblique curl, please return to level 1 and do the exercises with the feet resting on the floor. Secondly, ‘scissors’ should not be attempted if you are unable to perform ‘hundreds’ with the legs straight up in the air. If this is you, please replace ‘scissors’ with ‘hundreds’ at your own level until you are stronger.

 

Leg Slides: t-zone & obliques

Leg Slides: t-zone & obliques

Begin as in pic 1 with the spine in neutral and legs bent, feet on the floor. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and slide foot away, inhale and return. Repeat on the other side. Continue, alternating sides for approximately 1 minute.

  • keep spine in neutral
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep upper body relaxed
  • only slide leg as far as you can without the back arching
  • keep drawing ribs to hips

*To avoid catching foot on the mat, try beginning with your butt right at the end of the mat and the legs completely off the mat. Alternately, you could make sure you are as far up the top end as possible so that the foot never slides over the end of the mat (providing you are a shorty like me ;-)

 

Ab Curl #2: challenge all of the abdominals

Ab Curl #2: challenge all of the abdominals

Begin as in pic 1 with the legs in tabletop, spine imprinted. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and curl up, scooping the lower belly. Inhale and return to start. Repeat for 10-20 reps.

  • keep spine imprinted
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep upper body relaxed, chin tucked, elbows wide
  • keep eyes on knees
  • draw ribs to hips
  • don’t allow knees to move in towards the body. Squeeze knees together if you can feel thighs working hard

*Remember to work with feet on the floor if you can’t maintain imprinted spine in tabletop

 

Oblique Curl #2: challenge all the abs, particularly the obliques

Oblique Curl #2: challenge all the abs, particularly the obliques

Begin as in pic 1 with the legs in tabletop, spine imprinted. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and curl up and across. Inhale to return to start, exhale and curl up and then across to the opposite side. Continue, alternating sides for 10-20 reps each side.

  • keep spine imprinted
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep upper body relaxed, chin tucked and elbows wide
  • do NOT allow knees to move in towards body
  • draw ribs toward opposite knees
  • keep eyes looking just outside the knee you are curling towards
  • squeeze knees together if you can feel the thighs working hard

*The movement should be curl up and then rotate to opposite side, rather than just turning to each side. Keep your feet on the floor if you need to :-)

 

Scissors: work the abs and the hip flexor muscles

Scissors: work the abs and the hip flexor muscles

Begin lying on the back with the legs in tabletop, spine imprinted and hands resting on knees. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and curl up as in pic 1. The legs point straight up and the arms are held straight, extending fingertips past the hips. Inhale and hold, exhale and lower one leg towards the floor. Inhale and return leg, exhale and lower the opposite leg. Continue, alternating sides for 10 reps on each leg.

  • keep spine imprinted
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep upper body relaxed, chin tucked, shoulder blades down and back
  • if neck is straining, place one hand behind the head
  • make sure both legs are held pointing up before lowering to prevent pubic shearing
  • point the toes
  • only lower the leg as far as you can without arching the back
  • draw ribs to hips

*If the hamstrings are too tight to perform this exercise you could repeat ‘bicycle legs’ which we did a while ago. Remember if you can’t perform ‘hundreds’ with the legs in this position, please don’t attempt ‘scissors’. Instead work on ‘hundreds’ at your own level until you are stronger. If the hips click, don’t lower the leg as far. You could also turn the legs out (so that heels are together) to help activate the external rotators and reduce load on the hips. Also, this exercise may be called scissors, but we don’t actually scissor the legs. Please make sure you are only moving one leg at a time. This exercise may be unsuitable if you have had a baby in the last year.

 

Flight challenge: upper body and triceps

Flight challenge: upper body and triceps

Begin lying on the stomach with the arms extended alongside the body, t-zone activated and stomach drawing up away from the floor. Slide the shoulder blades down and back, raise the chest away from the floor. Inhale and rotate the arms 5 times, exhale and rotate the arms 5 times. Palms up, palms down, palms up, palms down. Repeat for 10 breaths.

  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep stomach drawing away from the floor
  • keep lower body relaxed
  • keep neck relaxed and chin tucked
  • keep arms as straight as possible (the straighter they are, the more tricep work you will gain from the exercise)
  • ensure arm rotation comes from the shoulder, not the wrist or elbow
  • do NOT arch the lower back. Keep abs working to prevent arching.

*If you can not lift the chest away from the floor without straining or arching the lower back, follow the directions for ‘flight’ from last week, with the forehead resting on the mat.

Lots of challenges in this week’s list :-) Try the harder exercises if you think you are able, but ALWAYS remember to work safely. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing exercises at a lower level, or sticking at a particular exercise for a long time until you have got the form right. Your body with THANK YOU for treating it kindly and with respect.

Have fun pilates peeps!

<3 Kiki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wylde Pilates Everyday #6

Wylde Pilates Everyday List #6

Wylde Pilates Everyday List #6

Here it is lovelies, list #6 :)

I know I’m a day late so let’s jump straight into it. The focus this week is on back and shoulders for good posture. Beats are included at the start to work the abs because we need them good and strong to protect the lower back while we are working from a stomach lying position. I caution against using beats if you are unable to complete hundreds with the legs straight up. If this is you, replace beats with hundreds performed at your level until you are stronger. Remember, pilates is NOT a competition, you should always work safely at your own level, and that level may change from day to day.

Arm Preparation

Arm Preparation

Begin as in pic 1 with the spine in neutral and the arms extended over head. Shoulder blades should be set down and back, resting on the floor. Inhale and activate the t-zone, exhale and take the arms behind the head, inhale and return.

  • keep spine in neutral, only extend arms back as far as you can without arching the back or hunching the shoulders around the ears
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep shoulders down and back, even while moving
  • keep ribs drawing toward hips i.e. don’t allow ribs to flare
Beats

Beats

Begin in tabletop with the hands resting on the knees, spine imprinted. Inhale and activate t-zone, exhale and curl up into full hundreds position with the fingers reaching past the hips, legs skyward.Turn out the feet so that heels are touching. Inhale and open the legs. Begin breathing in and out using a huff-huff-huff breathing pattern on each inhalation and exhalation. Beat heels in time with the huff-huff-huff. Continue for 10 in breaths and 10 out breaths.

  • keep spine imprinted
  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep drawing ribs to hips
  • keep shoulders down and back
  • keep chin tucked
  • keep fingertips reaching past the hips. You may place one hand behind the head to support if neck is straining
  • squeeze heels together on each beat in order to activate inner thigh
Lower Trapezius Activation 1

Lower Trapezius Activation 1

Begin lying on the stomach with the arms and legs extended away from the body. Inhale and activate t-zone, drawing the abs away from the floor. Exhale and slide the shoulder blades down and back, drawing towards the middle of the back (to the point roughly where a bra clasp sits). Inhale and return to start. Repeat 10 times.

  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep lower body relaxed
  • keep neck and lats relaxed
  • keep arms slightly wider than shoulder width and do NOT allow them to press into the floor

*This is a tricky one to show you visibily. If you look it doesn’t appear as though my arms have moved at all. If you look a little closer you can see that a little more of my ear is showing in pic 2. This is because my shoulders have moved. Really focus on the action of sliding the shoulder blades down and in towards the middle. Squeeze at this point and you should feel it in between the two shoulder blades. If you are having trouble, get a friend to place their fingertips between your shoulder blades so that they can feel for you and let you know when they can feel the muscle tighten. When they can feel it under their fingers you will know you have it right ;)

Swan Preparation

Swan Preparation

Begin lying on the stomach with the arms at right angles to the body. Inhale and activate t-zone, drawing stomach away from the floor. Exhale to prepare. Inhale and slide the shoulder blades down and back while simultaneously lifting the chest away from the floor. Exhale and lower back down with control. Repeat 10 times.

  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep lower body relaxed
  • keep chin tucked and neck relaxed
  • ensure the movement come from the upper back NOT the lower back. Again it may be useful to visualise a bra strap and lift from this point
  • do NOT push up with the arms. They are for stabilisation only
  • keep the abs lifting away from the floor
Flight

Flight

Begin lying on the stomach with the arms extended alongside the body, t-zone activated and stomach drawing up away from the floor. Slide the shoulder blades down and back (as in above exercises). Inhale and rotate the arms 5 times, exhale and rotate the arms 5 times. Palms up, palms down, palms up, palms down. Repeat for 10 breaths.

  • keep t-zone activated
  • keep stomach drawing away from the floor
  • keep lower body relaxed
  • keep neck relaxed and chin tucked
  • keep arms as straight as possible (the straighter they are, the more tricep work you will gain from the exercise)
  • ensure arm rotation comes from the shoulder, not the wrist or elbow
  • you can make the exercise more difficult by lifting your head off the floor. Ensure you keep chin tucked.
  • do NOT arch the lower back. Keep abs working to prevent arching

Remember, have fun, work at your own level and check in daily with the FB or IG page for reminders and hints.

<3 Kiki