Moving in All Directions with Waveforms Pilates

Category : exercises , fitness , movement , Pilates

Pilates Exercises for a Healthy Spine

**As featured in Appleton Monthly’s April 2018 “Healthy You” Edition.

Joseph Pilates, creator of the Pilates Method of fitness once said, “a man is as young as his spinal column. If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” We spend most of our days sitting, slouching forward, and rarely moving our spines at all, and it’s taking a toll on our bodies—and our posture.

Pilates moves the spine in all directions to help create resilience and flexibility that will keep your body feeling young through your years. Try these four exercises to

increase your spinal mobility and eliminate stiffness after a long period of sitting. Feel the spine flex, rotate, side bend, and extend!

 

Spine Stretch Forward

Set-up:  Sit up tall on your hips with the legs straight and shoulder-width apart.  Flex your ankles and reach your arms forward at shoulder height.

Exercise:  Inhale, and pull your abs in as you slide the shoulder blades forward.  Reach and round through the spine as if you were bending over a fitness ball.  Exhale, draw the shoulder blades back down your back as you roll to sit up tall on your hips.  Repeat 6-8 times.

*Pro Tips: Think about elongating the spine forward, rather than “crunching” it forward. How much reach can you feel through the crown of your head?  This exercise stretches the mid and upper back, so keep your hips anchored throughout the exercise (the pressure on the base of the pelvis should not change at all as you perform the movement).

Modification:  If you are unable to sit-up all on your hips, place a soft bend in the knees so you can sit perpendicular to the ground, or prop yourself up on a pillow or book.

 

 

Modified Corkscrew

Set-up:  Lay on your back with arms at your side, and extend your legs up to the ceiling at hip-height.  Point through your ankles and squeeze the legs together.

Exercise:  Inhale, swing both legs to the right, allowing the left hip to lift up and off the mat. Continue circling the legs down towards the ground while stabilizing both sides of the pelvic. Exhale, lift the legs back up towards the ceiling allowing the right hip to leave the mat, and return the legs to the starting position.  Reverse the exercise by beginning to the left. Repeat 3-6 times each direction.

*Pro tips: Only let the legs lower toward the ground as much as you can without arching the low back.  Feel for the subtle rotation of the low back as the hip lifts off the mat, keeping the hips level, the hip is lifting, but not hiking towards the ribcage.

Modification:  For more support, allow the arms to be out in a “T” with the palms facing down, or keep the legs bent at a 90 degree angle while performing the exercise.

 

Side Leg Bananas

Set-up: Lay on your side with your head, shoulders, hips, and heels all in one straight line.  Rest your head on your bicep with your palm facing towards the ceiling. Place your opposite hand palm facing down in front of your torso.

Exercise:  Take an inhale to prepare for the movement. On the exhale, engage your core and lift both legs up and off of the mat.  Feel your top hip move towards your ribcage. Inhale to lower back down, and on the next exhale, keep your legs down and lift your upper body off the mat all the way to the bottom of the shoulder blade using your waistline.  Lower back down and try lifting both upper and lower together on your next exhale. Repeat the whole sequence (lower, upper, both) 2-3 times, then switch to lie on the other side and repeat.

*Pro tips:  Keep the body in one long line from fingers to toes.  Think about pressing your waistline down into the mat to help you stabilize as you lift.

Modification:  Turn the palm of the arm overhead to face the ground and press into it while lifting just the head and legs off of the mat.

 

Swan

Set-up:  Lay on your stomach with the palms facing down right below your shoulders, elbows pointing up.  Legs long behind you as close together as is comfortable for your low back.

Exercise:  Inhale and engage the abs and press into your palms.  Exhale, and slowly begin peeling the spine up and off the mat one vertebra at a time.  Keep the shoulders gliding down your back, and lift only as high as you comfortably can.  Try to feel for even extension through the spine, head is in line with the spine. Inhale at the top, and exhale to slowly lower the spine back down to the mat with control.  Repeat 4-6 times.

*Pro tips:  Keep the low back long and feel for a stretch through the front of your hips.  As you lower back down to the mat, imagine the spine is pressing through the chest to stretch it longer as you lower down.  Try to maintain the shoulders down and wide across your back throughout the exercise.

Modification:  Place your hands level with your ears, and only rise as up to your elbows.  Focus on anchoring the pubic bone into the mat the keep the pressure off of your low back.


Join us for our Open House!

Join us as we celebrate our new location, 210 S. Commercial Street in Neenah. We are hosting an open house for the community. Demonstrations, snacks, and enter to win a free duet session for you and a friend!

Have you been curious how Pilates equipment works? What a typical session is like? Or who can all benefit from Pilates? We will have a short educational equipment demonstration on the half-hour. 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 PM.

Come and meet our instructors, see the new space, ask any questions you may have about Pilates training and its benefits, and join us in celebrating our move. Already train with us? Invite your family and friends to share with them where you train, and what it is you do at class.

All who attend will be entered to win a free 55-minute duet session for you and a friend!

Whether you are looking for pain-relief, sports enhancement, flexibility, pre- or post-natal exercise, pre- or post-rehabilitation, improved posture, dancer-specific cross-training, or overall health and well-being, Pilates may be a great fit for you!

All ages are welcome, no fitness clothing required.

We look forward to meeting you!  RSVP on our Facebook Page!


We are growing, moving, and adding more trainers!

Estin and I are excited to announce that Waveforms Pilates has moved to a commercial space!

For any classes, or one-on-one sessions that are booked for March 1st and beyond, you will find us at 210 S. Commercial Street, Neenah, WI.  This location is just one mile from our previous location, right off of the Neenah Downtown area, just follow the Neenah Clock Tower and you’ll find us.  There is a parking lot, so you will not have to worry about finding space.  We are currently working on getting our sign, so please look for the address plaque for now.  We are directly left of J. Anthony Jewelers.

We have enjoyed sharing our home with you all, and are excited for this new chapter.  We look forward to leaving our shampoo in the shower, using the crock-pot in the kitchen instead of our bedroom, using our wood-burning fireplace, and other simple things. 

It’s because of the support of all of you that this is possible! We are so grateful for your business, referrals, dedication, and encouragement!

 

Waveforms Pilates will still be a private studio space specializing in customized one-on-one Pilates training, small group Pilates mat classes, and educational workshops. Our new space is a stand-alone building, at around 800 square feet, we will have a little more room to breathe, house our growing array of Pilates equipment and accessories, and welcome Waveforms Pilates newest Pilates Trainer, Molly Jo Mathe.

Not only is Molly Jo Mathe a fabulous Pilates trainer, but Courtney and Molly Jo met their senior years of high school at their UW-Stevens Point Dance Department auditions, and have been friends ever since. They were roommates in college, were in each others weddings, and began their Pilates training journeys together. Post-graduation, Molly Jo moved to the greater Chicago area where she continued her Pilates career and has been teaching for the past 6 years. Together we will bring you twice as much expertise, vibrant energy and excitement about movement, and more specialized offerings. We are THRILLED to have Molly Jo joining us! She will be teaching our Thursday AM mat class, alternating Saturday AM mat classes with Courtney, and will be available for booking one-on-one sessions beginning March 5th.

WELCOME Molly Jo Mathe—

Being a dancer for most of her life, Molly Jo found that Pilates was a great way to maintain balance in her body through vigorous dance rehearsals and performances. Since then, she has been captivated by the profound work of Pilates and enthralled by its opportunity for creativity. Molly Jo believes that Pilates is for every body of every age, and that it’s never too late to take charge of your own health and movement practice. Molly Jo graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. While she finished her degree, Molly Jo also completed her Pilates Mat I and II certifications through Balanced Body in 2012 and has since completed the Fletcher Pilates Comprehensive Program in Chicago, IL. Molly Jo teaches Pilates to a variety of clientele and special considerations including men, women, dancers, pre and postnatal moms, diastasis recti, back injuries, and post-rehabilitation. She draws experience from her extensive dance and movement background and applies it to her clients in a unique way in order to increase their flexibility, strength, and awareness. Molly Jo loves to implement creative teaching methods to shape a fun and informative learning environment to motivate clients to achieve their goals with a sense of enthusiasm and joy. Molly Jo will be accepting new clients as of March 5th, and as always refer a friend for private training and you will receive a free session.

We are grateful for your continued support and look forward to serving you at our new location.

 


Pilates Power: From Reformer to Snow – Courtney C.

By: Courtney Cerniglia, Fortemente LLC

 

My Confession:

I never thought of Pilates as more than a mat class at your local gym. Leg kicks, boat pose, and planks formed my impression of the method. Comparing it to yoga, I felt it was on steroids that I didn’t want to be taking. I also thought it was a exercise fad. Not a methodology or a practice, but equivalent to TRX, step, or Zumba.

Whoops!

Courtney would die after hearing this description of Pilates, but unfortunately that’s the picture I’ve had prior to starting with Waveforms Pilates. Only when I started private sessions on the Pilates equipment did I realize the impact the practice would have on my training program.

 

A Long-Term Goal for Endurance

I’m an endurance athlete. I don’t like to call myself one, but when you have that odd love for long distance sports it becomes the only word to define you. My main sport is cross country skiing; I train for the American Birkebeiner, a 56K ski race held in Northern Wisconsin. It’s the biggest cross country ski race in North America…and hard as hell. The other sports in my life: cycling, running, and yoga; all support a year-round lifestyle of training for the Birke.

This year I trained for my 3rd Birke. The times I’ve posted for the past two years haven’t been in line with what I’d like to see. I knew I was capable of better performance, mainly because I know I’m an exercise slacker. I do what I like, when I like. Thankfully, I like exercise, so it’s enough to get me through events, but it’s not enough for an athlete who wants to perform.

This year I wanted to be serious about skiing. I wanted to gain real strength and power, and gain the mental capacity to post a time I was proud about at the 2017 Birkebeiner.

This meant I had to get serious about resistance training. I have cardio down pat (love cardio). I’m the person who loves to be dripping sweat on my bike and have shaky legs when I’m done running. I love to be sore and feel accomplished. I like to see calorie deficits posted after a long workout. I avoid the weight room and I didn’t have time for gym classes like Pilates. I thought they’d take away from the work I needed.

Whoops again!

Adding Pilates to a Training Program

In the Spring before training began, Courtney and I worked together to create a long-term training plan to build resistance endurance. This included the two areas I neglected most as a distance athlete: weight-lifting for power and low-impact resistance training. As part of the plan, I would go to Waveforms Pilates once a week for private sessions on the reformer and other Pilates equipment with Courtney.

I went in to my first session with mixed feelings. I love trying new things, but I’ve never worked with a coach at this level and I was new to the equipment. Courtney guided me through a few prep poses during the session and taught me what to focus on during the poses. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit overwhelmed after the first day.

While I’m a yoga teacher and there’s a lot of overlap, the movements on the reformer were so different than anything else I had done before. It was hard for me to concentrate on both moving correctly and the adjustments. I think many people feel this way after their first session, but of course! That’s why you don’t try something just ONCE.

It didn’t take long to catch on. After a few sessions I saw improvement I was astounded by. We worked together through the summer while I also did strength training. I toned up, built muscle and dropped fat. I started to develop real power in my core, back, and arms.

 

Gaining Power for Performance

I’ve never needed intense focus on my core muscles, as they’ve always been strong and toned. But, from my first day with Pilates, I realized although I had a strong core, parts of it were very weak. Courtney taught me how to work specific muscles within my midsection to become a solid tank. It’s never looked better or been more solid. This alone eliminated instability issues with my knees and any back pain I experienced moving through yoga poses.

Key for skiing technique, I also needed to strengthen my arms and shoulders. These areas were hands-down the most neglected part of my body. And, my shoulders are where I store tension PLUS agitation due to sitting at a desk during the day. Courtney would give me a 3-lb hand weight for shoulder exercises and I’d still want to cry from the difficulty.

Working on the reformer was great for me since there are endless variations of arm exercises you can do with your body weight. The design of the reformer couldn’t be more perfect for the poling motion of skiing. Courtney made sure she understood what muscles would be key for my technique and combined this with areas I was deficient in. Used together, she guided me through sessions that gave me the best low-impact resistance training for my arms and shoulders that allowed me to open and strengthen. In turn, this led to a more fluid poling technique on the snow and the power to continuously propel my stride forward.

 

Uniting a Fitness Regimen with a Holistic Approach

As an athlete, Pilates won’t make or break your training program. Like I described, I combined it into a full-spectrum training plan that included my normal routines, mental work, and diet monitoring. Great results never happen with a one-time quick fix. It takes deliberate practice, from all sides.

Pilates did, however, combine a mental focus to resistance training that allowed me to bring awareness to my body’s power. I adjusted the muscles I used for skiing to the ones that brought me greater efficiency and long-term strength. This alignment I learned on the reformer and practiced on the snow. It was the technical edge I needed to become a better skier.

It’s critical to work with the right coach. If I would’ve went to a gym Pilates class, I would never have seen the same results. Courtney brings a refined level of professionalism that’s backed by movement science, anatomy, and a goal-oriented attitude. I needed someone who could push me, talk to me as an athlete, and understand my constraints. Courtney kept me motivated while helping me to better understand my body as a system and how to use it as a whole for performance.

The story ends with a bit of a downer, as the 2017 Birkebeiner race was cancelled due to snow conditions. But, I felt prepared and ready to accomplish my goal. I’m stronger, leaner, and aligned. All the benefits I’ve gained, both mental and physical, will go with me as I train for next year. The best part about training through a holistic method is its universal application to whatever you want to accomplish. Pilates sets you up for success. Incorporating it into your regimen is a step towards achieving your fitness goals!

Courtney C. getting in a Ski Loop at the 2017 Birkebeiner Event

What’s In a Name? – Waveforms Pilates

Starting a Pilates business five years ago under my name, “Courtney Anne,” I felt ready to develop a brand. I wanted it to represent the way holistic wellness feels doing Pilates work.  It’s not about me, and it never was about me, so I didn’t want to have my name representative of the business.

Spring of 2016, I began the process of brainstorming what represents Pilates, my voice in the industry, and how I wanted my students to feel after a session.  Through this journey, I solidified key aspects of my to-be brand and what I wanted to accomplish to further Pilates education.

 

Identifying a Brand

I took a Spring trip to Denver, Colorado, for a Pilates continuing education. I treated it like a sabbatical to take time to think about my business.  I collaborated with my creative-guru, engineering friend Eileen, and began the process of identifying “the brand.”

This was a scary process for me.  Though I’d been in the field for over five years, sitting down to identify what I did, why I did it, and what represented the business best, all felt like huge questions to answer.  Where do you even begin?  

My prescription: The classic brainstorming list. 

Eileen and I wrote down all the words we could think of that relate to Pilates.  GO!  We looked for connections, what were the underlying themes in words that keep coming up?  What stood out as most important?    

 

Finding Underlying Themes

After making the lists, we decided to go for a hike.  Fresh air to clear the mind and talk.  Maybe as two minds, we could better identify that string holding it all together.  We talked through the ideas that came up during our brainstorm and I shared with her my excitement about working in Pilates.

In my movement instruction, we identified a focus on form.  The movements are not random or performed without a clear intention.  They require thoughtfulness, and mindfulness.  I also love that Pilates is truly for any body, and for anyone, no matter what stage of life they are in.  I’ve worked with ages eight to eighty-six years old, with all various health considerations and fitness goals.  That is the beauty of Pilates.  I also firmly believe that Pilates helps you stay healthy and active through your entire life.  Helping you find freedom and ease in your movement.  

Claiming an LLC

Feeling refueled after my trip, I returned with many ideas I loved for a name. I started searching online only to discover many of them were already claimed or too similar to existing businesses. I was frustrated and felt back at square one. My husband, Estin, decided we needed to just pick a name we liked to file for an LLC. He realized that once we file, we could name a studio under that LLC as anything we wanted. This gave us more time to think about what we wanted our outward-facing brand to be.

When I was out for the day, he sent in a request for Waveforms, LLC.  Being a musician of synthesizers, he deals with waveforms all day: sawtooth-waves, square-waves, sine-waves, triangle-waves.  Waveforms…he thought it sounded cool.

Coming home, he told me that he filed as Waveforms, LLC.  I was initially irritated.  We had not discussed a name of anything close this beforehand.  I felt like something I had spent so much time thinking about was simplified into something I didn’t feel related to the business I wanted.

For the next few days, I tried to come up with unrelated names to our new LLC name for the studio.  I was at a stand-still.  But, the more and more I sat with the name Waveforms, underlying connections started to come together.

 

Running with Waveforms – Form and Intention

Doug Lowe, in his article about Measuring Electronic Waves describes waveforms as this:

“Waveforms are the characteristic patterns—These patterns indicate how the voltage in the signal changes over time — does it rise and fall slow or fast, is the voltage change steady or irregular, and so on.”

Suddenly, the connections was clear to me.  My husband’s music world and my movement world collided.  The body does just what this definition describes, patterns of movement.  Some efficient, some irregular and imbalanced.  This is what Pilates helps solve, bringing form and intention to our movement patterns.

Viewing a waveform on an oscilloscope, the device used for viewing an electronic wave, you can see that a wave is in constant motion.  Just as a wave in the ocean.  These patterns are capable of change over time.

Waveforms Pilates, it’s about movement and change. Constant movement and change, that can be charted overtime.  This is what Pilates is about.

 

Constant and Easeful Motion

I love the water.  Being a Scorpio, water is my natural element.  Being near the water always makes me feel calm, pensive, focused, strong, and connected to something greater.  I love watching the waves and seeing the repetitive, effortless, circular movement.  

Waves are created by sending energy through the water.  In Pilates, we send motion through our body by sending energy through it.  We keep the body in constant motion, much like a wave.

Some definitions of a wave include: to move freely; to bend or sway; to be moved, especially in opposite directions; a mass movement; a swell, surge, or rush, as a feeling or condition; any surging or progressing movement.

Yes! Pilates is all of these things.  Pilates offers all of these things.  Waveforms Pilates identifies with all of these things.  

Pilates is about finding effortless movement. Discovering inner peace and relaxation. Creating and passing energy through the body and feeling connected.

 

Pilates through All Stages of Life

Our body desires to move even when we don’t feel like it. It craves it.  Pilates helps us bring form to the movements of life.  We have peaks and valleys, just like a triangle waveform.  You may be coming off of an injury, you may have just lost a loved-one, you may have gained weight, you may be training for an upcoming race, you may be experiencing depression, Pilates can help move you.  

And when you move, you will be energized. You will feel more connected in your body and mind.  You will make measurable changes overtime.  You will experience ease in the body.  You will find better form and function.  You will feel more confident in you.  We believe this.    


We Are Waveforms Pilates

This is what we stand for:

Using Pilates to bring form and intention to movement, to allow you to stay in constant and easeful motion through all the stages of life.  

See what Pilates feels like in your body. Send us an email to schedule your first session today.


Feel Good, TODAY!

Category : fitness , mind-body , Pilates

By: Estin and Courtney Holcomb, Waveforms Pilates

 

At Waveforms Pilates, we often discuss the concept of health and wellness and what our personal experience of wellbeing feels like. For Courtney and I, we tend to cringe when we hear these keywords: health & wellness. The modern focus of health and wellbeing seems to only focus on extending one’s life. There’s no thought or reflection on its quality. Quality of life, right now.

Perhaps it’s a philosophical discussion, but can instant gratification of living a healthy lifestyle be enough to give us long term satisfaction?

What if we looked at our health and wellness from a purely selfish standpoint?

What if we focus on instant gratification instead of *ONLY* long term goals?

I am going to eat this grilled chicken salad with avocado now because it tastes great and I feel good after eating it.

Or I can go on that 5 mile run, 30 mile bike ride, or attend a 1 hour Pilates session NOW because I want to celebrate what my body is capable of today.

It makes ME feel great NOW and I am enjoying the rewards right away. The reward can be the experience itself. 

 

 

Claiming Your Life Now, Not Later

Over the past few years, I have seen people who lived super healthy lives come down with terminal illness. I’ve seen odds stacked against people who are sick, who find health and wellness once again. Cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and other things can change your life in one second – like thieves in the night. The sad reality is, our longevity is not a guarantee of the time and effort we put in to being healthy. A hope for longevity is harder to accomplish without the daily commitment to making yourself feel better.

 

A Fitness Regime for Today

Maybe figuring out what makes us feels good today, will shed light on what our true goals should be from a workout. After going to a fitness class, do you leave feeling immediately better, or do you feel destroyed? How many days does it take you to feel healthy and recovered after your workout? Did you lose time to feel good today because of a long recovery?

After completing a Pilates session, do I feel sore? Yes. Does it feel good? Yes. It is not debilitating, it does not “put me out for a week” until I can perform my next workout. It can truly be a daily practice. It makes my body feel good, works it in a functional way, and brings breath, posture, confidence, balance, and energy into my daily life. It makes me feel good today.

Fitness should not be only for longevity, but for daily wellness. Life’s longevity is not guaranteed. May longevity be the result of your commitment to the daily practices of making yourself feel better, right now.

We do not advocate someone to live a short life due to lack of self control and overindulgence, we advocate living and feeling great today, as many times as possible.

 

How are you feeling, today?

 


Waveforms Spotlight: Kalene & Arlen B. – Journey to Pilates

Category : fitness , mind-body , Pilates , workout

Are you putting off your New Year’s’ Resolution to get back into shape? Resurrect your fitness routine? Be healthier in 2017?

Pilates can meet you wherever you are in your fitness journey – just starting in the world of exercise, coming back from being injured, or looking to improve as an athlete. All backgrounds can start and see success with the low-impact resistance training that Pilates provides.

Kalene knew that Pilates training had helped her in the past. She took her first Pilates classes through her chiropractor. As she finished her chiropractor work, she drifted from Pilates. So when a friend shared a schedule of Waveforms Pilates mat classes, she decided it was time to give it another try.

 

Starting Back Up with Mat Classes

 

Kalene now takes one-on-one sessions and mat classes in the Waveforms Pilates studio. She’s always enjoyed the upbeat pace and challenge of the mat classes. At Waveforms, she particularly likes the small class sizes and personalized attention you receive from Courtney.

“Courtney really lets you know what to pay attention to in each exercise during class. She’s good at letting you know how to do the exercises right without singling you out – which is appreciated!” Kalene said.

She’s even gotten her husband to join her!

 

Sharing the Benefits of Pilates

 

Joining Kalene to mat class, Arlen started Pilates because he saw how much his wife enjoyed it. “Literally every time she came home from a session she would boast about how well she felt and how much she loved Pilates. Not only did I need to check this out for myself, but I also really needed to start getting back into shape,” he said.  This was enough to push Arlen to come to his first mat class.

After his first few classes, he felt sore but also grounded and balanced. He liked how Pilates strengthened his core and provided quick results in strength and agility. Pairing Pilates into his normal fitness routine, he sees it as a great way to get a balanced workout that will help him progress with his overall health.

 

Enhancing Her Practice With Private Sessions

 

“Since it had been so long since I’d taken Pilates, I wanted some extra coaching alongside the mat classes, so I take private sessions as well,” Kalene explained. Private classes gives her more focus on the areas she needs and wants to improve, and familiarizes her with the movements from mat class. The personal attention helps her focus on how to get the most out of each exercise and see more benefits from extra practice.

“Courtney is very intuitive, she can see what people need and what they don’t.” Kalene said.

 

Strength, toning, and more flexibility are all benefits that Kalene has experienced since starting back up with Pilates in the fall. She encourages anyone who’s apprehensive to try a class: “It’s one of the better exercises out there.”

“No matter what kind of day I’m having, when I’m done with a Pilates session I feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally.”


4 Easy Step for Keeping Your Fitness Resolutions

Category : fitness , mind-body , workout

Making a goal for improving your overall fitness may be easy, but keeping it up throughout the year can be a struggle.  Often times we find ourselves without a clear focus or the proper tools to succeed.  After an initial few weeks, we end up unmotivated, frustrated, and back to our old habits.

Have your goal be more than just empty words this year.  Below are four simple tools to help you with your follow through.  It’s not too late to set yourself up for a healthier YOU this year.

1. SET REALISTIC GOALS & BELIEVE YOU CAN ACHIEVE THEM

Set a first goal that you’d like to achieve. Write it down, and be specific.  Give yourself a realistic timeline based on your schedule.  Live in the mindset that your goal IS possible.  Attitude is half the battle.

2. ESTABLISH ACCOUNTABILITY & ROUTINE

Join a class and pay ahead of time.  Get a friend or family member on board to work with you.  Take a one-on-one session so it matters if you don’t show up.  Make fitness a part of your daily routine, schedule it in and don’t compromise.  This will set you up for success.

3. CELEBRATE LITTLE VICTORIES ALONG THE WAY

Recognize progress that is made along the way.  Note changes in the way you think, feel, energy levels, and overall well-being.  Smile!  You’re on your way.  Treat yourself along these milestones.  Book a massage or a trip to your favorite bookstore as you journey towards your goal.  Share your accomplishments with a loved one.

4. RE-ACCESS PROGRESS    

Give gratitude for how far you’ve come.  Acknowledge your hard work.  Keep it up!  Find a new goal or personal challenge, and start back at the top!  You’re doing great.

 


The Ultimate Ab Workout – The Pilates Series of Five

Category : exercises , fitness , Pilates , workout

By: Courtney Holcomb, Pilates Instructor at Waveforms Pilates

 

Are you looking for an ab series that is quick and effective? Time to try the Pilates Series of Five.  This popular Pilates sequence is sure to get you feeling your abdominals and working the core!  Best part? It only takes 2 minutes to complete from start to finish.

 

The basic series includes these five exercises:

1. Single Leg Stretch

2. Double Leg Stretch

3. Single Straight Leg Stretch

4. Double Straight Leg Stretch

5. Criss-Cross

 

This series builds lean muscle tissue which is responsible for tightening the waistline.  This added strength in the core will help improve your posture so you’re standing taller and feeling more confident!

 

Perform each exercise below for ten repetitions before moving to the next. Start to finish; go through each set without stopping.  Let’s get started!

 

Single Leg Stretch

 

Keep the pelvis stable and lift the head and shoulders off the mat.  Inhale as you hug the right shin in with wide elbows. The opposite leg shoots out long at a high diagonal.  Exhale to change legs.  An exchange from right to left counts as one rep.

 

 

Draw both legs into the chest to transition into…

 

Double Leg Stretch

 

Begin with both shins hugged into the chest. Extend and reach the arms high overhead (without lowering the shoulders) and send the legs out long to the high diagonal.  Circle the arms to gather the shins back into center.

 

 

Extend the right leg long towards the ceiling and grab behind the thigh or calf. Lower the left leg towards the mat…

 

Single Straight Leg Stretch

 

Tug the right leg towards you as the left leg moves down. Take two quick breaths in through the nose as you “tug” the leg.  Pulse twice in this position. Hold the crunch in your upper body as you switch legs and exhale through the mouth.  Keep the knees straight and work for a smooth transition from side to side.  A rep is a set on the right and left.  

 

 

Draw both legs together and press them into one another. Extend the legs up towards the ceiling…

 

Double Straight Leg Stretch

 

Inhale to lower both legs down to hover above the mat. Try for as low as you can without arching the low back. Exhale and hug the abdominal muscles in towards the spine as you lift the legs back up to the ceiling. Maintain the shoulderblades hovering off the mat and arms and fingertips reaching long and forward.

 

 

To transition, interlace the hands behind the head. Draw the left knee in and extend the right leg to the high diagonal…

 

Criss-cross

 

Exhale to lift the upper body to bring the right shoulder towards the left knee.  Maintain the lift as you inhale to rotate the head and shoulders through center as you change sides and legs. Exhale to bring the left shoulder blade towards the right knee.  A full set is a crunch on each side.

 

 

To finish, draw both legs into your chest and lower the head, neck, and shoulders to the mat.  Turn your neck heavy from side-to-side.

 

Tips for Good Technique

  • Keep the torso and hips stable throughout the whole series.
  • Legs should only lower towards the mat as much as you can without arching the low back.
  • Don’t rush it! Enjoy slow, fluid movements to get the most impact.
  • Pull the abdominal muscles in towards the spine instead of letting them press out.
  • Each exhale allows you to pull the stomach muscles in deeper.
  • Keep shoulders wide throughout the exercises.

 

Start with just a few repetitions of each exercise and work up to the full series!  You can also take a small break between each exercise as you build up strength.  

 

Watch here to see the series in action.  You’ll see only two sets of each exercise – but remember – the full Series of Five includes 10 sets of each exercise!  Give it a try yourself and enjoy the burn.

 

 

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Click the image below to receive a copy of this series in a downloadable format!

 


Waveforms Spotlight: Judi M. – Graceful Aging through Pilates

Contributing author: Courtney Cerniglia

For many of us, we move through our day with full energy: long days of work, errands during our free time, running at 100%, little time to breathe. For those of us who relate to this, we often also apply it to our physical well being. Our get-it-done mentality complements powerful weight lifting sessions or fast spin classes. We exert the energy and reap the reward, leaving with accomplishment and like we “did something.”

 

This approach has its place in a healthy lifestyle, but if you find yourself attacking every workout with maximum exertion it will eventually lead to injury, overused muscles, and imbalance in your body. Following a routine that incorporates high intensity training with slower, low impact training is your best defense against injuries and for reaching your fitness goals.

 

Waveforms Pilates student, Judi, shared her Pilates journey with us. Like many others, she found peace in the calamity of her busy lifestyle through a focused practice.

 

Seeking the Strength by Slowing Down

 

Judi is an avid gym-goer and resistance trainer. To ward off osteoporosis symptoms and increase her strength, she committed to a rigid weight training program. With her high energy, this was all she thought she needed to stay healthy and exhume her extra energy. She didn’t think Pilates would fit in her regiment or that she could handle the slow, fluid movements.

After much coaxing, Judi signed up for her 30-minute trial with Courtney to try a few movements on the reformer. Apprehensive at first with her capabilities, Judi found Courtney’s unimposing approach encouraging. She realized she could do the movements and the unlocked power in moving slow through exercise.

 

“Pilates takes a lot of concentration. For my busy mind, it means for the hour session I need to slow down and focus to see results. I love this – it’s a moment in my week where I get to relax,” Judi shares.

 

Turning Apprehension Into Action – Signing Up for Class One

 

Are you apprehensive about Pilates? “I was too! Sign up for the 30-minute session and try it out. Have Courtney walk you through the basics so you’re comfortable with the range of motion and vocabulary. Then, try a mat class. It’s a more social environment if you’re not comfortable working on the equipment yet,” Judi advises.

 

“Courtney explains everything extremely well. She works with you at your pace. As you progress, she teaches you what muscles you should be aware of during each pose and what you’re trying to accomplish. It makes the whole session more effective,” Judi said. She also explained how well her Pilates training pairs with personal training. Combined, she feels she has a complete fitness program that sets her up for graceful aging.

 

Graceful Aging, Toning Up, & Maintaining Balance

 

After two years of training with Courtney and Waveforms Pilates, Judi saw improvement in her balance, concentration, and overall wellbeing. “It tones you up! Areas I thought were hopeless were strengthened through Pilates,” Judi exclaimed.

 

Pilates also inherently improved her balance. “After a certain age, your balance is all thrown off. I’ve found I’m able to maintain this through the work on the reformer,” Judi said. Maintaining balance as you age is a key indicator of your independence. Being able to rise from sitting without support or climb stairs are challenges for many that eventually will require outside help to maintain their livelihood. Pilates offers a low-impact solution to maintain and improve your balance.

 

Working With Waveforms, The Neighborhood Pilates Studio

 

L to R: Rebecca, Kalene, Amy, Courtney, Carolyn, Elizabeth, Judi, and Jazz.

“Take advantage of Waveform’s free workshops and community events. The extra work Courtney does in the community and keeping the Waveforms members engaged is impressive. I’m pleased to be working with not only a great instructor, but also an excellent business woman,” she encourages.

 

Judi enjoyed Waveform’s foot workshop in September, November food drive, and a few of the complimentary mat classes held at the studio. She enjoys the Waveform’s studio space and finds it calming, quiet, and a place to relax and focus.

 

Zhora, Waveforms Pilates Studio Cat

The only thing Judi wishes Waveforms Pilates could do? “More studio cats!”  

 

Judi is the Director of Eastshore Humane Association located in Chilton, WI, where Zhora was adopted.  She loves the Green Bay Packers, cats, gardening, and Pilates.