Open Yourself Up with Pilates

Open Yourself Up with Pilates


Do you feel stiff when you get out of bed in the morning? Is it getting harder to put your shoes on or paint your toes? Does your back go out when you do laundry or wash the car? These are simple tedious movements we encounter everyday that bring us pain or discomfort, but the reality is they should not. Overtime sitting at a desk or couching it watching tv for multiple hours causes our muscles to tighten up and our bodies to stop moving the way it used to. This should not be the norm, this does not need to happen, and this can be prevented.  If we don’t use it and we don’t stay limber we will lose it.

The auxiliary pieces of Pilates Equipment are used during the workout for specific reasons. The barrels specifically are designed to open the hips, open the chest, and work the thoracic spine (upper back) into extension. They are there to get the body moving where it has become locked.

There are three different barrels and the flexibility of the client determines which movements are done on which barrels. We are not all designed to bend and stretch the same way, but we are all made to bend and stretch to some degree and the key is to work that into the routine in a safe and gradual progression under a watchful eye. Joseph Pilates would say we are only has healthy as our spine is healthy. When we begin to lose mobility in our spine it stresses other parts of our body over time and this is when we start to feel pain and suffer from injury. We need to keep moving.

Here are three examples of movements that gradually build flexibility through spine over time:


Arm Extension with the Bar on the Mini Barrel


This feels amazing on the thoracic spine.  The barrel is providing support and guidance with a gradual and conservative degree of extension. The reaching of the arms up and away continues to open the chest and the shoulders with a very light weighted bar.  The abdominals are engaged to give support to the body as the legs reach away long.

Pelvic Bridge with One Leg Extension on the Spine Corrector


This move is designed to strengthen the back of the legs and build flexibility in the hips.  The extended  leg reaches long and away to open the front of the hips.  The spine corrector gives guided support to the lumbar spine (low back) and the abdominals stay connected to give stability to the upper-body.

Backbend walkover on the Ladder Barrel


This move can be done only when the client has both the flexibility in the hips, the upper back and chest, and the strength and coordination to go through the move safely.   It is a pretty amazing accomplishment for the client to get to this place.  They love it and it is incredible to see that visible progress.   For those extremely flexible people this backbend can be then follow-up with a split to the ground- very cool!!!

In my Pilates studio in the West Loop of Chicago I asses the client on the reformer and on the mat.   I then bring them to the pieces of equipment that will make them stronger, continue to challenge and progress them, and keep the carrot dangling so there is always a goal and purpose to work toward.   This keeps the workouts fresh, the motivation high, and the results a guarantee.  I focus my attention to the detail of the move and customization of the workout for each individual’s needs.  We are not built the same and we do not move the same so we cannot all do the same workout.  For this reason I offer mostly private sessions, semi private sessions (2 people) and a limited class schedule (3-4people).  If you want your body to change you have to focus on what your body needs as an individual and here you will find your true potential.

Building A Stronger You-10