Kristen Howe have been practicing Yoga and Pilates at her local gym for 7 years and at home as a fellow Yogi and a Pilates Practitioner.
The Spine Stretch Tones Your Muscles in Pilates
Since the freezing cold weather temperatures and the snow have kept me home-bound this week from Pilates exercise, I continued to do my home practice and kept track of my progress. Though I hope to return back next week, weather depending, to get back in the program. Last week, we went back to the ring with the same routines and new exercises to add, each and every week.
We still maintained the same class size as last fall, last year, which was practically normal for a late Monday afternoon Pilates class. We had maybe one or two new Pilates practitioners to join our class as well. I've gotten used to doing the classic Hundred exercise in many different ways: on our stomach, on our backs, with the rings, with the modified version of legs up high and feet pointed and flexed, lowered, or midway in the air. I've gotten better with the side stretches and the planks, while I'm still having the same trouble with doing the swimming extension, whether for home practice or at the gym. Does anyone have any pointers for me?
A Full List of Pilates Exercises for All Levels
Full Body Workout
As for my home practice, I've completed the About.com's Ten-Week Pilates Program. For my final week, it's a bit longer for the Full Body Workout from head to toe, an average of 45 minutes to an hour. The new additions were the two Standing Pilates exercises, one on legwork and one on stance, to take place of the average Fundamentals of Head nods to knee lifts. Other new exercises were the inner thigh lifts, the dolphin arm plank, the regular teaser, the spine twist and the side stretches.
As the temperatures were getting colder with the snow, I've been getting warmer a tiny bit more with Pilates indoors, than when I head out the door in the cold....yet. My back pain continued to lessen more everyday, before I go to my neurologist next week for my six-month follow up. I pray for no more flare-ups in the near future.
Three Times A Week
After I complete this Full Body Workout this week, It would be time for me to progress from seven times a day and downgrade it to three times a week for home practice. Since I do Pilates every Monday at the gym, I've decided to not count that session in my routine. I would probably alternate it with every other day to fit it in. Another thing I would be doing is creating my own Pilates exercise routine, this weekend. It would be no daunting task. Starting next week, I would be foot loose and fancy free. For those who want to create their own Pilates routines for home practice, I'm going to show you how to do it.
Pilates weekly practice poll
Modify Your Workout With the Pilates Ball
Pilates routines poll
Your Own Routines
For mine from scratch, I'm going to get fancy and keep it simple, nothing more than 10 exercises per routine. I would be adding some regular exercises that I've learned in the past week in each routine, and add one or two new exercises from the Classic 10 Additional exercises each week.
For those who've wanted to create their own routines every week for their home practice, follow these simple tips that I've found on About.com's website. Once you do it the first time, you've gotten a knack for it. Like the old adage went: Keep it simple... stupid.
1. Make a Plan. Think about your goals, your energy level, and what specific areas of the body you want to work on. Have a progress report or exercise log to keep track every week.
2. Warm Up and Centering. Choose some easy exercises and stretches to warm up the body. It could be modified versions to tune into your body, loosen up the muscles. Review the Pilates principles: centering, concentration, control, breath, precision, flow.
3. Work the Whole Body. This is where you'll pick some vigorous exercises to your routine. If you have little time, do a targeted sequence and feature a combination of exercises that would address the whole body. Balance a series of flexion exercises with an extension exercise or two on the mat.
4. Range and Rotation. Once you're warmed up, you should include exercises that expand your range of motion, like the saw or spine twist, for example. These stretches would open up your joint motion with exercises with ones that you make you turn or twist.
5. Modify Exercises. Modified exercises would make your routines safe, interesting and challenging. It's to keep the original intention of an exercise and make it easy or difficult, while protecting a certain area of your body. You can tailor it to fit your needs, before you do your full version.
6. Vary Routines. You can vary an exercise routine and keep it interesting by fully embracing the Pilates principles. Do a new way of an exercise by modifying or trying a new exercise. Use the resistance band, exercise ball or magic ring to your routines. (I'll be doing this, when I get them, sometime down the road.)
7. Finish with Presence. Choose exercises that would slow the pace down, like the centering exercise you started out with by bringing your attention inward and regulating your breath. Check your posture. Each exercise should leave you feeling tall, focused, strong and centered.
After you do some exercises, don't forget to massage your back on the mat. This really helped my back at home or at the gym. Don't forget to breath by inhaling twice and exhaling twice during your routine.
Since I didn't hear back from the gym, I think it's a moot point right now. Last week, I've noticed that they've changed the class title from Standing Pilates to Pilates/Core Fit on the winter schedule. They also changed the class description, too, which was more fitting for Cross Fit. I guess they've looked into my inquiry and knew I was right. I won't be going back to that class in the future. I'll be doing Hydro-Pilates in the spring with maybe Stretch-lates and/or Yoga-lates, too.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Kristen Howe
Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on May 23, 2015:
Thanks for writing this useful post.