Pilates basics – three exercises to practise at home

When it comes to Pilates basics, for me the perfect trinity is always shoulder bridge, swimming and the one hundred.  These exercises help you to focus on your core and trunk stability as well as mobilising your spine and getting blood flow to the lower back.

If you can practise these between Pilates classes, you’ll find you can progress quicker each week.

1. Swimming

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkDIsTEP5lQ

2. Shoulder Bridge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgA2M45dHS4&feature=relmfu

3. One Hundred

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCSDC5tAOEA&feature=relmfu

Here’s a link to another post I wrote which breaks down the One Hundred setup, just in case you’d rather have it written down. In this post I go into how to do the exercise without the fear of making any pelvic floor issues worse!

https://alittlefitter.com/2012/07/17/finding-your-core-without-pushing-through-your-floor/

Post natal Pilates. What’s all the fuss about?

Post natal Pilates – a six week course where we re-build your post baby body from the inside. We aim to get your body ready for mainstream exercise or a stronger Pilates class.

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You know you probably should be doing it but it seems like everything else about having a new baby seems more important than an exercise class.

After all, you’ve just been through a massive physical and emotional upheaval and you’re just about managing to shower and get out of the house. An exercise class, where you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, might just tip you over the edge.

Admittedly not everyone likes exercise, and exercising in a group environment, when you already feel a little self conscious about your body, might feel a little intimidating.

I’m a firm believer in the power of exercise to make you feel better, to prevent injury and to improve your health. So, I thought perhaps some post natal Pilates FAQs might allay some fears and make it all just a little more approachable.

What should I wear?

Anything you feel comfortable in.  Although snugly fitting clothes do make it easier for me and you to see what’s going on.

What will I need to bring?

Nothing. My classes are mat work based and all mats are provided. Perhaps a few favourite toys since you’re coming to a bring a baby class.

What will we be doing?

Mainly sitting/lying/kneeling on a mat. It’s all very slow and controlled. Put simply, Pilates will strengthen all the muscles in your torso. So tummy, back, shoulders, bottom. We’ll also be getting your joints moving and helping your body to feel better.

Why is it so important when I’ve had a baby?

No matter how the baby came out, your posture, abdominal wall, back and pelvic floor will have been affected by pregnancy and birth. Pilates is one of the best ways of getting your body back to it’s pre pregnancy state and of preventing injuries and health problems in the future.

Do I need to be flexible?

No. Most people start Pilates very stiff and inflexible. It takes time to develop flexibility and the worst thing you can do is get frustrated by the lack of it.

Do I need to be co-ordinated?

No. There are no grapevines, box steps or square dances in Pilates. And most of the time other participants are too focused on what they’re doing to spot if you’ve gone wrong.

Will I get sweaty?

You won’t be dripping but you can expect to glow a little.

Is it all just breathe breathe?

No. Pilates is mindful exercise, which requires you to concentrate on the quality of your movements but there’s a lot more to it than breathing and stretching. Expect to be challenged.

What about this pelvic floor stuff – isn’t it embarrassing to do it in front of other people?

Pelvic floor exercises are incorporated into the class, no one will know. If we do spend time specifically focusing on pelvic floor I ensure we aren’t all looking at each other.

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If you do want to give it a try I currently teach one post natal specific class and my Foundations class which is great for post natal mummies who’d rather exercise without baby or have perhaps left some time between birth and getting back to exercise:

Post Natal Pilates ‘bring a baby’ –  Epping Registry Office, Epping. In partnership with Brambles Children’s Centre. Tuesdays at 12pm.  Babies don’t participate – this is a class for mummies where babies are welcome (up to crawling). There is a 10 minute ‘baby break’ to ensure babies are happy and not overwhelmed by the sociable nature of this class.

Do get in touch via email at karenlisalaing@gmail.com. I don’t bite!

Or book online

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Ten ways to find your pelvic floor – for your friends.

So I know you know that pelvic floor exercises are a big deal. And I know you know that Pilates is a fabulous way of making sure you get regular practise in.  I also know you know that pelvic floor exercises aren’t just something you do when you’re in the childbearing years because age and the menopause can have an unpleasant affect on your lady parts.

But, your friends might not know these things. So for the benefit of your friends who might not know how to find their pelvic floor muscles. Here’s my uncensored guide.

1. Have sex (or use your fingers if that sounds like too much effort) and squeeze.

2. Straddle the arm of a firm sofa. Rock backwards and forwards and you’ll feel your pelvic floor react.

3. Give birth. The waves you feel when you get a really good push are your pelvic floor muscles working.

4. Lean forwards off a chair and imagine you are picking up a tissue with your vagina.

5. Sneeze.

6. Hold one hand over your bits and then blow up a balloon. You’ll feel tension in your bits. That’s your pelvic floor. If you feel something pressing out, go and see a doctor.

7. Stand on a power plate or above the engine of a double decker bus. The vibrations will make your pelvic floor work.

8. Do a squat, hold it. Now squeeze your fist between your knees.

9. Stand up with your hands up over your head. Now lean backwards as if you’re reaching for something behind you. Your pelvic floor will work.

10. Eat a cabbage/lentil medley, then sit in a very quiet church service . . . parp!

AND always remember the three R’s for doing your exercises:

Find the RIGHT position: Your spine needs to be in a neutral position to get an effective contraction, so get on all fours and wiggle your pelvis forwards and backwards until it feels right.

RELAX: Always work from a fully relaxed state. You need to tense and relax muscles.

REPETITION: The more the merrier (see top tip number 1).