Category Archives: Pilates

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.”


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.

 

 

Follow us! @waveformspilates

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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. 


Waveforms Spotlight: Rebecca L. – Benefits of Mind and Body from Pilates Practice

Contributing Author: Courtney Cerniglia

When you first see Pilates equipment, it can be intimidating. The different shapes and forms don’t allude to what they do for you. It’s easy to look at a set of weights and realize to pick them up. It makes sense to get on a treadmill and run. But what do you do with one of these?

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Rebecca had similar feelings a year ago. New to Pilates, and working out in general, she was apprehensive to try too many new exercises at once. “I was brand new,  I wasn’t even sure if my body was capable of performing the proper moves,” she reflected. This apprehension keeps many students out of the studio, and let’s face it, many people away from exercise. There are so many options, places, and programs to try…where do you start?

 

If you’re beginning your journey in living a healthier lifestyle, may we suggest incorporating Pilates. Rebecca took the leap to join a gym and met Courtney through personal training. Courtney shared a few Pilates exercises to pair with her gym workout and Rebecca liked the variation. Soon, she started taking Courtney’s mat classes and has been doing them ever since.

“Courtney was so great at working with my beginner skill level a year ago and has increased the difficulty over time. She made me feel so welcomed and comfortable right from the start that I have only missed a few classes since I started because I enjoy them so much,” Rebecca exclaimed.

 

Sticking with her mat class routine, Rebecca began to see and feel the effects of pairing Pilates with her diet and exercise. She grew stronger and more flexible, and saw weight loss as a result of her consistency.

The benefits didn’t stop there.  As she explained, “It has also improved my self confidence, not only because of the weight loss I have experienced, but also because I’ve gotten more advanced in techniques I never thought I could do.”

 

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Rebecca continues to work with Courtney in her mat classes at Waveforms Pilates. With the kindness and care she’s found in Courtney, it’s been something for her to look forward to each week as well as an investment in herself.

 

She encourages anyone who is nervous or intimidated by Pilates to try a few sessions with Courtney. “Courtney is dedicated to properly educating her clients and is willing to show adjustments for certain moves that could aggravate problem areas.” No matter what your ability, the classes are accessible and designed for all fitness levels.  And, with the classes capped at seven students you’re sure to get individualized attention each session.

 

In addition to receiving movement education in mat class, Rebecca has taken advantage of Waveforms Pilates free educational workshops throughout the year.  Rebecca attended a special workshop to learn about Foot alignment back in May, as well as a workshop talking about Forward Head Posture and Neck Placement during exercise in October.

 

Two-Feet Forward Workshop

Reflecting she describes, “The workshops have provided me with more in depth information about specific parts of the body.  Use of diagrams and exercises has helped me become more aware of my posture and alignment.”  This information can be applied both inside and outside of class, bringing body awareness beyond the walls of Waveforms Pilates.

 

Different bodies can benefit from different forms of movement. Enrolling in a mat class is a great way to learn more about your body and it’s capabilities. Rebecca has been practicing Pilates for over a year now, and she’s seen both mind and body benefits to taking the leap to practice Pilates.

 

Join Rebecca at Thursday Evening and Saturday morning mat class!  To find our current schedule and more information on the benefits of Pilates mat, visit our webpage.  Not sure if mat it a fit for you?  Contact us to schedule a complimentary introductory class today.

 

We hope to see you on the mat!

Pilates Mat


Getting Your Head on Straight – Pilates Exercises for Forward-Head Posture

By: Courtney Holcomb, Certified Pilates Instructor, Waveforms Pilates

 

How many text messages have you sent today?  When is the last time you pulled your head back to use your headrest in the car?  How often during the day do you spend on a smartphone, tablet, or at computer?  How many hours a day do you sit?

All of these things share something in common: They put stress on our head, neck, and shoulders.  All this, creates a lifestyle that leads to poor posture, muscular imbalances, and chronic pain.

 

The Physical Effects of Media Culture

In July of 2016, Nielsen Company released a report that the average American spends 10 hours and 39 minutes daily consuming media.  This “included how much time we spend daily using our tablets, smartphones, personal computers, multimedia devices, video games, radios, DVDs, DVRs and TVs.”  All this usage doesn’t come without a toll on our bodies.

Two physical effects come of excessive media use: forward posture of our head and a sedentary lifestyle. The sustained forward and downward movement of our head pulls our body out of alignment. Sitting for hours a day or maintaining a mostly sedentary lifestyle weakens the core muscles. Together, misalignment and decreased core strength drags us down a road of pain.

 

Pressure From the Head

The average head weighs 10-12 pounds.  For every one-inch forward our head extends beyond alignment, an additional 10 pounds of pressure is put on the spine.  Our spinal extensors begin to engage in a losing battle with gravity. They pull our whole spinal structure forward with our head.  This (now common) misalignment is known as Forward Head Posture (FHP).

FHP is an excessive anterior (forward) positioning of the head in relation to a vertical reference line.  Our spine is curved, so we are not trying to flatten our neck, but rather bring it back to rest on top of the spine.  When viewed in profile, the head is designed to sit stacked over the spine with the tip of the earlobe aligned with the center of the shoulder.

Proper Posture

We also receive a lot of pressure from the downward tilt of the neck.  Added gravitation pull of 15 degrees of tilt increases of the weight of pressure to 27 pounds. 30 degrees adds 40 pounds of pressure, and once you tilt to 60 degrees (like many of us do while texting), the increase is 60 pounds of pressure on the spinal cord.

This version of FHP is ironically called “Text Neck” by many doctors, and more formally called Tilting Head Posture (THP).

Pair Forward Head Posture, with Tilting Head Posture, and that’s a whole lot of pressure for the body to bear.

 

Physical Effects of Forward Head Posture

With the head forward, our deep cervical flexors (the muscles that pull our head back) become very weak from inactivity, and our cervical extensors become shortened (from being held so long in the forward position).  Because our bodies do their best to compensate for inefficiencies, other superficial muscles take on the job that the neck flexors and extensors were designed to do.  Our sternocleidomastoid, anterior scalenes, and other superficial neck muscles try and take on the job.  This causes overactivity for the muscles and less efficiency in the body.

The overactivity of the cervical extensors can cause neck pain, the most noted symptom of FHP. With the extra pressure on the spine, you could experience nerve pain leading to headaches.

forward-head-posture-5Not only do muscles try and do their part, but the spine also will begin to compensate.  Our body loves to counterbalance; as the head goes forward, the chest begins to go back, the hips respond by rounding forward, and the body perceives balance.  Now, we end up with a tight chest and upper back, and a pinched low back.  This common counterbalance act associated with FHP is called Upper Crossed Syndrome.

 

What’s the Big Deal?     

Just like Newton explained in his Laws of Physics, with every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  We cannot perpetually hold our body in a compromised posture and expect to not experience side effects.  There is a ripple effect throughout the whole body that becomes habit forming, for the better, or for the worse.  This becomes tight, that becomes weak.  This becomes long, that becomes short.

While the effects of our body are easy to visualize, other impacts aren’t obvious. Just as serious, poor posture threats our source of life: our breath.

FHP can result in up to 30% decrease in the lungs capacity. Rene Cailliet M.D., former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California explains,  “These breath-related effects are primarily due to the loss of the cervical lordosis which blocks the action of the hyoid muscles, especially the inferior hyoid responsible for helping lift the first rib during inhalation.  Proper rib lifting action by the hyoids and anterior scalenes is essential for complete aeration of the lungs.”  Having a forward head limits the range of motion for the ribcage, causing a decrease in lung capacity.

 

Fixing Your Poor Posture to Prevent FHP

First we want to feel the effects of poor posture on our breathing. This will help us understand how damaging it can be for our well-being. Erik Dalton, PhD a pioneer of Myoskeletal Alignment Therapy, gives these simple instructions.

  1. Place your hand on your chest and breath normally.  Take a few inhales and exhales.  Sense your ability to make the chest rise and fall with each breath.
  2. Gently and carefully reach your head forward in space and take a few more breaths.  Sense the difference in the ability to move the chest.
  3. Pull the chin in and back, as if to make a “double-chin”, repeat a few inhales and exhales.

You should find that the movement of the chest decreases the further forward the head moves in relation to the spine.

 

Why Focus on the Head?

When the spine, muscles, and lungs are all affected, why focus primarily on the head?

I like how Rene Cailliett, M.D. put it:

“Most attempts to correct posture are directed toward the spine, shoulders and pelvis. All are important, but, head position takes precedence over all others. The body follows the head. Therefore, the entire body is best aligned by first restoring proper functional alignment to the head.”

We can begin to combat this by strengthening our deep neck flexors through lengthening and releasing our neck extensors.  A great rule of thumb for any imbalance in the body.  We want to strengthen what is weak and stretch what is tight.

 

How to Strengthen the Deep Neck Flexors

If our neck is already flexed forward, why are we working our neck flexor muscles?

The neck flexor muscles are what bring our head back to our spine.  Our deep neck flexors help pull the head back into alignment.  Here are three exercises I use in Pilates class that work these muscles.  Each exercise has increasing difficulty, so I advise working from top to bottom.

Also, start slowly.  The neck is a sensitive area, so begin with a few repetitions and work up to more.

 

1. Craniocervical Flexor Activation

Sit or stand and hold a loose fist underneath your chin.  Push upwards on your chin, but resist the head from tipping back.

Hold this connection for 5-10 seconds.

Repeat this 10x.

You should feel the muscles on the back of your neck engaged. Be careful not to push too hard, or to clench your first too hard.

 

2. Prone Neck Lift

Lay down on your stomach with your legs resting comfortably behind you.  Place your hands on top of one another and rest your forehead onto your hands.  Press the arms into the ground and lift the head and upper back off of your hands.  Make sure to keep the neck long and the chin tucked, as if you were holding a clementine between your chin and your chest.

Feel the neck flexors pull your head up towards the ceiling, and avoid the tendency to reach your chin forward to lift up.  Hold this for 10 seconds.

Reach energy out of the crown of the head (not leading with the chin) to lengthen and lower down.  You may find that you have to move your hands further away from lengthening and strengthening the neck.  Adjust as needed.

Repeat 5-10 times.

 

 

3.Head Hover

Lay on your back with your feet in the hook- line position (feet planted on the ground hip width apart, and knees at a 90-degree angle).

Rest your head and shoulders on the mat. Before you begin, imagine lengthening the back side of the neck to pull the chin slightly downward into a “double chin-like” position.  Take a breath in, and press the head lightly into the ground as if to push an imprint in memory foam, exhale and pick the head up off of the ground, while keeping the head parallel to the ground.

Sustain the hold for another breath or two, then lower back down.  Repeat 5-10 times.

You will feel the neck really work in this position!  You’ll also notice how heavy the head is with gravity working against you.

 

Stretching and Lengthening the Neck and Neck Extensors

After performing neck flexor exercises, it’s great to stretch the neck to help bring the head back into balance.  When stretching the neck, use caution and move slowly.  Use full breaths to support the stretch. I recommend the following stretches, these are also great after extensive time sitting at a desk, at a computer, or using your phone.

 

1. Neck Massage

Using a 4” or 6” diameter foam roller, place it lengthwise behind your neck.  Let the head rest back onto the foam roller.  Keeping the head heavy in gravity, Slowly turn the head from right to left. Nod the head up and down.

Trace small circles with the nose in each direction.  Do each step a few times before moving on to the next stretch.

 

2. Standing Neck Stretches

Stand up with the feet hip-width apart. Take your hands and interlace them at the nape of the neck.  Let the elbows be heavy and nod the chin towards the chest.  Do not pull on the neck, but let the elbows and head be heavy in gravity.

Return the head to upright and press the palms firmly together.  Place your middle fingers underneath the chin and gently press the chin up towards the ceiling.  Repeat each action a few times.

 

Correcting our Head Posture and Simple Habit Changes

As a culture, we have come to a place where many suffer from the effects of FHP and THP.  We need to get our heads on straight, or the pain and poor posture will only increase.

Though these are exercises to help us reverse the effects that have come from these conditions, there are other habits that can help us prevent or lessen it all together.  It all comes down to daily awareness of how we carry our bodies.  Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Bring your phone to your eye level when using it.  Instead of flexing the neck down, lift your phone up.
  • Use your head rest while driving.
  • Request a standing desk at work, to bring your computer up to your eye level.
  • Take breaks from long periods of sitting down, and stretch out in between.
  • Actively practice the exercises for strengthening the deep neck flexors.
  • Be conscious of the amount of time you spend consuming media and your posture while doing so.
  • Strengthen your core muscles to help support your posture throughout the day.
  • Take Pilates classes to gain body awareness.

Finding the True “Core” of Fitness: Making Fitness Goals that Matter

By: Estin Holcomb, 2 months into Pilates training

Many of us think of training in terms of sweat equity. In order for a session to be thought of as a “success,” we should be tired, sweaty, hot, and sore. These symptoms equate to a good workout. I believed this for years, until I stepped into a Pilates mat class at Waveforms Pilates.

My transition from typical free weight resistance training and cardio (mainly running) to Pilates was not an easy one at first. I came in thinking the work I saw being done didn’t appear to be work at all. People who were training weren’t panting and out of breath; they weren’t beat red, dripping with sweat.

These physical signs had become my definition of a normal work out.

 

Stepping Into a Pilates Mat Class

 

My first few mat sessions I felt restless and a bit discouraged by the repeated corrections of my poor form and body posture. My trainer would tell me I was done because my technique was being compromised and she didn’t want me to get hurt, even though I felt I could do a lot more.

Estin Pilates Forward Flexion

The truth was my form was bad, my posture was poor, and my supportive muscle groups were weak. I had decent abdominal definition but my internal core muscles were weak and my low back was suffering as result. When we continue because we think we can do more, it can result in overuse injury, joint problems, cramping, or worse. This was a stark difference from the kind of exercise I was used to.

 

Setting Realistic Goals for Holistic Health

 

As my trainer worked with me my mindset started to change to focus on fitness goals that would increase the overall functionality of my body and improve my sense of well being. I noticed I feel taller and my limbs longer. I’m more flexible; I can bend over and touch my toes, twist and rotate my upper body from side to side, and tension I used to carry in my neck and shoulders has subsided. Most notable, I no longer experience muscle cramps through my shoulder and chest when I run.

img_4124Continuing Body Weight Pilates Training

 

Pilates resistance training focuses on form first, then builds strength and flexibility. Techniques are done slow and controlled. Through this transition, I feel like I’ve worked out without being beaten down and in pain the next day. This is making me more efficient when I train and leaving me with energy for my next session.

 

I am very excited to see what the future holds with my continued training. The beginning stages of a Pilates journey are full of exploration and discovery. For me thus far, redefining my idea of a work out has been beneficial for my overall health and training plan. It’s clear this redefinition has and will continue to be beneficial for my physical accomplishments going forward.


Waveforms Spotlight: Carolyn K. – “Pilates makes you more fit, stronger, and increases your stability.”

Contributing Author: Courtney Cerniglia

When Carolyn moved to the Fox Cities, she wanted to continue her Pilates routine. “I felt blessed to have found Courtney in this area. She’s right up there with some of the top trainers I’ve worked with.” Knowledgeable, kind, and thoughtful, Carolyn enjoyed these qualities of Courtney’s that made their private sessions fun and effective. Working in the new Waveforms Pilates studio this summer, she felt more relaxed and comfortable in the “studio spa space,” as she described it.

 

fullsizeoutput_bWhile Carolyn has done both Pilates mat and private sessions, she will never give up her private sessions. The one-on-one training she receives from Courtney is helping her continue to progress towards her goals. Her goals shift over time, but she continues to see benefits in keeping her body mobile and capable for any phase of life.

 

Once an athlete, Carolyn mentions how powerful it is to pair Pilates work into your training regimen. We asked her what benefits of her practice she’s noticed, she exclaimed, “Strength! Pilates makes you more fit, stronger, and increases your stability. I’ve also lost some weight as well, as it tightens everything up. For an athlete, it’s a discipline that works on the things other methods don’t.”

 

“Pilates is results driven,” Carolyn explained. “You stand taller and gain results from the work you put into it. Courtney challenges me to work harder, do more, and take my practice to the next level.”

 

 

Carolyn’s favorite Pilates exercises tend to include almost anything on the reformer. Different than with a mat class, using the reformer can create space in places hard to access without the added resistance. It also adds an extra element of gravitational pull and spring resistance to add intensity to easier movements. But when Carolyn’s on the mat, she likes plank postures. “They’re difficult, yet rewarding. I feel a sense of accomplishment in the end.”

 

It’s easy to see Carolyn has a goal driven practice that’s pushing her to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She uses Pilates to enhance her natural strength and continue to improve in areas that need more love.
“I encourage anyone who isn’t sure about Pilates to look into adding it to your routine. Runners, cyclists, triathletes, can all see improvements to their performance by incorporating it into a training program,” she encourages. “I can’t say enough great things about working with Courtney at Waveforms Pilates. She has a vast breadth of knowledge, acute attention to detail and a kind approach, she is everything I am looking for in a trainer.”

 

Pilates Trainer Courtney & Carolyn K.

 


Pilates, More Than Just Mat (Beyond the Mat: How We Use Equipment for Resistance Training)

Resistance Training with Pilates Equipment

By: Courtney Holcomb, Certified Pilates Trainer, Waveforms Pilates

denise-austin-pilates-photo

Pilates, in the early Millennium, was often depicted in the media as housewives doing high-kicks while lying on their side.  Thank you Denise Austin!

While there is Pilates mat work like her style, it is a small piece of the school of Pilates.  When I explain Pilates, people often tell me they had no idea there is equipment available.

Many people are familiar with the small pieces of equipment used to complement a mat class – such as rings, balls, foam rollers, and hand weights. They’re less familiar, however, with the large pieces of equipment used in Pilates.

Don’t Worry…Looks Can Be Deceiving

Pilates equipment can appear to be quite intimidating and almost appear torturous.  It is the exact opposite!  People love the way it feels to move with the equipment and to experience the smooth and relaxed range of motion. Here’s a bit more insight to break down that barrier.

What Is Pilates Equipment?

Joseph Pilates, father of the Pilates Method, invented and patented over two-dozen pieces of exercise equipment.  Not meant to replace mat work, equipment training serves as a great complement to mat classes.  Some of the most common pieces of larger Pilates equipment include: the Universal Reformer, Wunda Chair, and the Trapeze Table/Cadillac.

In some cases, the equipment provides some precursory exercises to help you build strength for advanced mat work.  In other cases, the equipment exercises make similar mat exercises more challenging by adding resistance.

“I invented all these machines… it resists your movements in just the right way so those inner muscles really have to work against it. That way you can concentrate on movement. You must always do it slowly and smoothly. Then your whole body is in it.” – Joseph Pilates

 

How Does the Equipment Work?

 

Increased Resistance Training with Springs

Pilates is resistance training, just like weight lifting.  The main difference is that Pilates equipment primarily uses springs as the source of resistance instead of dumbbells or cable weights.  Springs need the user to maintain fluid range of motimg_3767ion from the beginning to end of an exercise.  If you try to “jerk” the range, or use momentum for exertion, the machine won’t function properly – so there’s no cheating! The springs also help you control both the flexion and the extension range, allowing you to use the fullest range of your muscles.

This fluid control causes the muscle to also be stretched during the exercise, which improves flexibility and overall strength.  Resistance can also be increased or decreased based on how many springs you attach and where you attach them.  Not to mention, springs help trigger your deep core muscles as you negotiate finding balance and stability.

Closed-Chain Exercises & Pulleys

Working with the springs and pulleys associated with some Pilates equipment, you are able to perform more closed-chain kinetic exercises.  Closed-chain exercises increase the force on the joint to increase stability.  Closing off the kinetic chain by having a grounding point, helps protect connective cartilage and the joint itself.  These types of exercises also work multiple muscles and joints at a time, making them very efficient.

Anyone who has experienced an injury, in conjunction with, and post physical therapy, working in a closed-chain manner is safer. Other populations that benefit from this type of execise include: those with osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, hypermobility of joints, muscle weakness, and middle-aged to older adults.img_3766

The equipment helps to train and reinforce symmetry in body, by working with even force on both sides.  For example, placing both hands in separate equal-length straps, you must press with even force with both arms in order to move the machine.

Using Gravity and Body weight for Resistance

The higher off the ground you are, the greater the effect gravity has on your body.  With the Pilates equipment raising you off the floor, you experience more natural resistance from gravity.  Just like with mat work, most exercises incorporate body weight resistance and gravitational forces.

Versatility of Pilates Equipment

 

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The Universal Pilates Reformer

Working the Body in All Positions

Exercises on the Pilates equipment mimic movement actions that you use in daily life.  This makes the exercises applicable and practical outside of the gym.  The equipment can be used seated, lying down, kneeling, standing, side-lying, flexing forward, curving backwards, and rotating.  Any possible position you could find yourself throughout the day, there is an exercise for it!  This creates a full-body workout every time and provides functional fitness.

Incorporating Pilates Equipment Training with Physical Therapy

Joseph Pilates made his first piece of equipment working with wounded soldiers by taking two springs from under their cots and attaching them to the bed frame with a pole.  If someone had a leg injury, there is no reason they couldn’t work their upper body!

Many people use time on Pilates equipment for post-physical therapy work, or in conjunction with their physical therapy.  Many special populations such as people with osteoporosis, hip replacements, MS, pregnant women, and people with scoliosis, to name a few, are able to utilize Pilates equipment to perform safe exercises and stay in shape.

Exercises for All Populations

Don’t be fooled though, the equipment can give a vigorous workout!  It’s not just for rehabilitation.  Professional athletes all over the world use Pilates equipment to help with injury prevention, alignment, flexibility, core, and overall strength.  The possibilities truly are endless.  There are modifications to make each exercise more or less challenging based on the client’s abilities and goals.

 

Feel The Pilates Resistance Difference!

 

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The Pilates Chair

The best way to understand the difference between traditional resistance training and Pilates resistance training is to feel the difference!

Pilates equipment trains the whole body instead of individual parts, making for a complete full-body workout every time.  The resistance is smooth and demands control from start to finish to create a fullest range for the muscle.  The fluid sensation created from the springs provides stretch and strength to the body and gives support for the joints.

Sign-up for a session to feel the difference today!

waveforms@yandex.com

(920)740-3085


Back To School For Adults: Re-establishing Routine In Your Life

By: Courtney Holcomb, Certified Pilates Instructor, Waveforms Pilates

waveforms@yandex.com

 

Summer, especially for those of us who live in Wisconsin, is a time that we look forward to all year.  It always seems to storm in and out, and before you know it, it’s fall again.  Along with the quick storm of summer, comes a quick surge of activity, events, and irregularity in our schedules.  A combination of late nights at events, sitting in the car during a long road trip, running school-aged kids around, and trying to fit in workouts, our body is one of the first things to take a toll.

 

Finding Consistency

Our body, like a machine, loves to run on consistency: a consistent sleep schedule, regular workouts, and rituals for honoring self.  Though summer is exciting, we often are robbed of our routine.  Every year, when “school-time” comes around again, I like to re-assess my daily rituals.  I consider this my back-to-school practice.  How can I create time and space for myself throughout the week?  How can I create a routine that is energizing and uplifting?  How can I honor what makes me feel good and happy?  How can I restore order to the inconsistency that came with my summer schedule?

 

Make a Happy List

make a list of things that make you happyI came across this picture over the summer.  This is the quote I wanted to use to create my routine and rituals for the Fall.

 

Rituals are Rich

Developing rituals that are enjoyable, easy, and repeatable gives you a sense of centering for your day.  Sometimes in summer, our rituals are fleeting.  My favorite morning ritual is enjoying a hot cup of coffee with my husband.  Sometimes, it’s 3 PM and I will say outloud to my husband “is it weird that I can’t wait for a hot cup of coffee tomorrow morning?”  The answer is no, it’s a ritual that I enjoy!  It starts out my day.  It helps me jump-start my morning, and puts me in a happy-mood. This ritual makes the top of my list, as simple as it may seem.  Rituals that make me happy form the framework of my routine for the day.

 

Balancing Necessary Tasks with Life-Giving Tasks

Intersperse rituals throughout your day that are not just task-oriented (dishes, post office, folding laundry, gardening), but also life-giving (time with a pet, coffee with a friend, journaling, exercise, volunteering).  Make your list of the things that make you happy, and make time for them in your schedule.  Falling into a routine and structure, just like you had during your school-aged years, can bring a satisfying framework to your day-to-day.  Routines give us a sense of purpose for the days that feel lackluster.  Rituals give us grounding points throughout the days that feel chaotic.

 

What Jobs Bring you Joy?

I dislike doing laundry, my husband loves it.  This became one of his household task.  I love grocery shopping, my husband dislikes it.  This is one of my household tasks.  The reality is, we cannot do it all, so we should try and do the things we enjoy.  Have something your whole family dislikes doing?  Hire out!  Changing the oil in the car, both my husband and I can do it, but neither of us enjoy.  Our joy is well-worth the $20-30 it costs to outsource.

 

Making & Taking the Time

What things would bring you joy to do everyday?  Make these part of your daily rituals.  Intersperse them throughout the day.  What is something that makes you happy, but you can’t seem to fit in your day?  Make time for this.  You need to not just make the time, but take the time.  Schedule it in, and don’t negotiate!  It’s a life-giving, energy-lifting ritual that you need in your life.  This is non-negotiable.  Maybe it’s reading, from 2-3pm, before you pick the kids up from school.  Put it in your calendar, and don’t let an appointment rob you from your time.  If anyone asks, you’re unavailable then.  

 

Routines for Success

Though summer may be nearing an end, with Fall comes an new opportunity to begin the last quarter of the year with a fresh perspective.  Create a routine that works for your life. Find what makes you happy and what you love and create time for it!  Then, stick with it!  Make new rituals that bring you new found energy!  Your body will thank you for the consistency, and your mind will thank you for the familiarity.

 

http://waveformspilates.com