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Home Workout Recommendations for Pilates

June 25, 2013 2 comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve done this type of post, but I figured, why not. Don’t get me wrong, taking classes in the Pilates and Yoga arenas are always great and I advocate for them if you’re new to either discipline. Having an instructor is great to get your form where it needs to be to prevent injury and maximize the benefits from these workouts.

However, if you’re like me and don’t feel like braving the gym scene (they’re always so crowded around here), there are lots of home workout videos you can try.

One of my favorite DVD workout instructors is Ana Cabán. Her background is in ballet, and her Pilates workouts benefit from this as she’s well versed in Joseph Pilates’ classical techniques that were first adopted by dancers. When she demonstrates the movements, she explains in such a way that a novice can pick them up quickly. Here is an example:

Always be mindful that the strength to come up in the movements comes from the Core, not the lower back or through momentum.

For me, increasing the amount of Pilates and Yoga I practice while keeping with my regular martial arts routine of Kung Fu and Krav Maga has really helped with my balance, stability, and flexibility, and I definitely see more Core muscle strength also.

Empower Long and Lean Total Pilates with Gin Miller (a review)

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I found the Empower Long and Lean Total Pilates with Gin Miller kit at a local sporting goods store for about 20 bucks. It comes with Miller’s Pilates Bar and a workout video.

Two days later, and my core is still on fire. I didn’t think it would be because the moves aren’t that complicated, but I was sooo wrong.  Plus, there’s a bonus Arms workout at the end that makes the biceps and triceps really work.

Martial arts requires a strong core which Pilates can help develop. Plus, I have found that by varying the types of workouts that I do, whether it’s strength training, Pilates, Yoga, running, and yes martial arts, it keeps me from getting bored.

I have a Reformer at home, but no space for it at the moment. This workout uses similar movements with the bar that’s included in the set. That’s great for me until I get a chance to clear out some space in my house for the reformer. Hmmm… perhaps I can convince my husband to give up his playroom? 😀

I included a short teaser for the video so you can see what the bar looks like and the exercises Miller has her student perform:

DVD Recommendation: Crunch Burn & Firm Pilates/ Crunch Super Slimdown

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Crunch Burn & Firm Pilates with Instructor Ellen Barrett

I’ve worked out with many Pilates DVDs over the years, and I’d have to say that I like Ellen Barrett’s style the best. She comes from a Ballet/dance background and incorporates that into her routines.

As most of you already know, Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates as a way for dancers and other athletes to strengthen up after serious injury. Because of that, the focus of the practice is core strength, flexibility, and breathing. It used to be known as Contrology, a method of using the mind to control muscles. In other words, with every movement you do, the mind has to be part of the action or it won’t be effective, and injury could occur. I know there was a few times where I spaced doing a Jackknife pose on the stability ball and came crashing down. Oops.

This video is great. Its focus isn’t on mat work, but instead movements and poses in a standing position. Hand weights are recommended (2 or 3 lbs each) and you will need sneakers for the standing portion. Then it’s time to kick off your shoes and get on the mat.

Crunch Super Slimdown with Ellen Barrett

Another recommendation I have is Crunch Super Slimdown. This is a more traditional Pilates mat workout in combination with traditional Yoga poses, and very effective. She’s really good at explaining the movements and has a young lady demonstrating partial range of motion movements, with the rest of the class performing the full range of motion movements.

Have fun with it, and as always, be mindful of your pose and posture.

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