Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Pilates Hundred

Hello lovely people out in blog world.

If you are stuck inside due to the great New York blizzard (or any of your local snowy weather - since there is now snow in 49 of the 50 states!)  you now have the PERFECT opportunity to sit in front of the television and work on your core muscles! But how?  And why?

If you are a singer, you of course know how important your diaphragm and core are since they support your breath and sound.  In dance, your core does exactly the same thing - it gives you support.  A strong center gives you the freedom to move your limbs about freely and effortlessly, just as a it gives you the freedom to hit long sustained high notes!  A strong core will also protect you from injury.

I am personally a huge fan of pilates to increase understanding of core strength, as well as your strength itself.  I recently was certified to teach beginning and intermediate mat through Power Pilates.    They have studios all over the U.S. and their system is incredibly effective and easy for a beginning students to understand and follow.  If you belong to a gym or dance studio, they usually offer fabulous classes as well.  At Steps on Broadway, I highly recommend Robin Powell's class, or Annie Russ and Danielle Pierce when they teach as subs.

I am going to attach a video of me doing a basic pilates "hundred" which is the exercise that most pilates classes use to warm up the body, get the blood circulation moving, and oxygen moving to the muscles.  It is also a really wonderful ab strengthening exercise.  It is freezing outside now, but just you wait until bathing suit season!  You'll be happy you did it!

A modification is to lower the legs anywhere from 70 degrees to 2 inches above the mat.  The lower your legs the more challenging the exercise.  Make sure that as you do this you always engage your abdominals.  I think that I am "scooping" through the abdominals.  The imagine in my head is that my belly is a very large tub of ice cream (which knowing my love of ice cream may be accurate) and a giant ice cream scoop  is coming down making my abdominals create a "scooped out" shape.  

Well - that was a lovely insight into my overactive imagination.

Now - go get some abdominals!  

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