When Joseph Pilates walked through the Central Park Zoo, it is reported that he would stop before the lion cage and compare modern man with a caged lion. And that he commented that like a caged lion, we have a wonderfully strong, well-designed, fluid body, but we are living in an environment where we do not get to use it to its fullest.
Greg Norris Has Been a Classically Trained Pilates İnstructor For 10 Years Photo Gallery
Just as lions are not designed to live in cages, our bodies are not built to be sedentary. Movement fuels every cell and fiber in our body; it will improve us, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
Of course, this is nothing new to Pilates instructors and anyone with a hectic schedule. Sometimes my day is so full of teaching, scheduling appointments, returning emails and phone calls, sweeping the floor and cleaning equipment that it leaves little time (or energy) for my own workout. After teaching several clients in a row or after a long day, I feel my energy is drained, and all I want is to get a coffee or take a nap.
But we all need our movement fix. I came up with this routine as an answer to those days when time seems to be in short supply. It is a full-body
workout, with flexion, extension and side-bending moves that wake me and my body up. It leaves me with that post¬workout high and filled with energy to take on the rest of my day (and clients).
When designing this workout, I chose the Wunda Chair and Ladder Barrel because of their challenging nature. If my workout has to be short, then I want it to be demanding!
This workout is great for both men and women and is perfect for when you only have 10 to 15 minutes to get it done. Get ready to see how little time it takes to make your body feel good all day long.
spring setting: none
purpose: warms the body up; increases blood and oxygen flow; wakes up the abdominals setup: Lie lengthways on the seat so that the tips of your shoulder blades touch the seat and your tailbone is anchored to it.
1. Extend your legs to the level appropriate for you, making sure you feel supported by your abdominals.
2. Extend your arms out long by your sides, above torso level.
3. Begin to pump your arms deeply and vigorously while inhaling through your nose for 5 counts and exhaling through your nose for 5 counts. Do 10 sets.
Tips: Keep your eyes on your abdominals. This will enable you to make sure your abdominals don’t “pop,” and it will help you keep your head, neck and shoulders curled up.
Modification: If your back is feeling tight, keep your legs in a tabletop position or straight toward the ceiling.
Advanced: Extend your legs until they are about 2 inches off the seat, and/or lie along the short side of the Chair. Change the breath, inhaling for 4 counts and exhaling for 6.
Gratz Pilates Wunda Chair ($1,470; www.pilates-gratz.com)
Balanced Body Ladder Barrel ($1,395; www.pilates.com)
If my workout has to be short, then I want it to be demanding!
SETUP & STEP 1
Spring Setting: 1 middle purpoSe: opens the front body; strengthens and extends the back; deepens the abdominal connection.
Setup: Lie facedown on the seat with your legs together, and hands shoulder-width apart and pressing down on the pedal, shoulders over your wrists.
1. Initiating the movement from your abdominals, lift the pedal up, lifting your chest up, reaching it toward the wall in front of you.
2. Resist gravity as you lower the pedal back down while lengthening your spine out, reaching your chest toward the wall in front of you.
3. Do 3 reps. On the last rep, stay lifted, pumping the pedal 3 times without letting your chest fall.
tip: Pull your abdominals in very deeply to avoid shortening and compressing your lower back.
Modification: Work in a smaller range of motion and omit the pumping.
Advanced: Do the exercise with one hand on the pedal while keeping your other arm out to your side.
Spring Setting: 1 middle purpoSe: opens and stretches the chest and shoulders; deeply works the abdominals
Setup: Get into a Teaser position, arms and legs extended in a V, sitting toward the back of the seat.
1.Sweep your arms up and then back toward the pedal. Place the heels of your hands on the pedal with your fingers facing your body.
simultaneously lower your legs toward the floor, reaching them out long; your legs should be slightly higher than your torso.
3. Bring your legs and torso back up into the Teaser position while keeping your hands on the pedal.
4. Do 3 reps of the entire sequence.
On the final rep, stay down and pump the pedal 3 times without allowing your torso to rise.
Tip: Reach long through your legs to oppose the weight of your upper body moving back toward the floor.
Modification: Do a smaller range of motion, and omit the pumping.
Advanced: Do not take a break in between sets. After your third rep, reach for your toes, then immediately reach your arms back to the pedal and continue with the exercise.
2. Resist gravity as you lower the pedal down, bringing your torso as close to parallel to the floor as possible, as you
5. Come back up into the Teaser position, and reach your arms toward your toes. Do 3 sets of 3 reps.
STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5
Trio of StandinG Pumping, Going Up Front And Mountain ciimb
This is a trio of exercises; you do each of the three exercises on one side, and then reverse the order on the other side.
Spring Setting: 1 top, 1 bottom purpoSe: tones the legs; challenges balance; strengthens the abdominals; articulates the spine
Setup: Place your toes and the ball of your right foot on the pedal, and your left foot on the floor about a step away from the Chair. Stack your arms one over the other at shoulder level.
1. Standing Pumping: Pull the pedal down and back as you lift in and up through your body. (Your left foot will not lose contact with the floor, but you should feel that sensation of lift.) Pump the pedal 5 times.
2. After the final rep, keep the pedal down. Pulling your abdominals in deeply to keep you balanced, step your left foot from the floor onto the seat, toes toward the front edge.
3. Going Up Front: Place your hands behind your head and lift through your abdominals to lift the pedal.
4. Resist gravity as your lower the pedal, pausing just before it touches. Do 5 reps. After the final rep, pause with the pedal down.
5. Mountain Climb: Round your body forward, reaching your hands toward the Chair without touching it. Keeping your left hip in line with your left knee, pump the pedal up 8 times with your right leg.
6. After your final rep, keep pumping, but begin to lift your arms and torso to a high diagonal while keeping your left hip in line with your left knee. Take all 8 pumps to arrive at the high diagonal.
7. After the second set of 8 pumps, keep pumping and reaching for the high diagonal for another 8 reps.
8. After your final pump, keep pumping and take all 8 pumps of your last set to float your arms and torso back toward the Chair to the starting position.
9. Once you have completed the Mountain Climb on one side, bring your hands to the Chair and switch legs, placing your right foot onto the Chair and your left foot onto the pedal.
10. Repeat Mountain Climb on this side.
11. After 4 sets of 8 pumps, pause and lift your torso; bring your hands behind your head for Going Up Front on your right side. Do 5 reps.
12. After your last rep of Going Up Front, pause with the pedal down. With balance and control, place your right foot onto the floor while keeping your left foot on the pedal.
13. Finish the sequence with Standing Pumping on your left leg.
Tips: Keeping your eyes focused on a specific spot in front of you can help you stay balanced. Pull your abdominals in for even deeper stability.
Modification: Do the exercises separately; hold onto the Chair with your hands during Mountain Climb.
Advanced: Play with different arm positions. For example, keep your arms out to the side for Standing Pumping; reach your arms up to a high diagonal during Going Up Front.
Spring Setting: 1 top, 1 bottom purpoSe: strengthens the arms;
Engages and strengthens the abdominals; works balance and control Setup: Place your toes on the pedal, and your hands wrapped around the edge of the seat. Bring your shoulders over your wrists, rounding your spine.
1. Pull your abdominals in and up as you lift the pedal up as high as possible.
2. Resist gravity as you float back down, pausing before the pedal touches. Repeat.
Tip: Try not to let your shoulders move forward of your hands.
3. Stay up on your final rep, and hold for 3-5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 3 reps.
advanced: Add pulses at the top of your final rep; try it one-handed.
SETUP & STEP 1
Side Sit Ups
Purpose: strengthens and stretches the sides of the body, abdominals and back setup: Start with your hip on the Ladder Barrel, bottom leg on the bottom rung of the ladder and top foot hooked under the top rung. Extend your arms overhead and clasp your top wrist with your opposite hand.
1. Reach out and over, bending your body sideways and bringing the side of your rib cage as close to the Barrel as you can without resting it on the top.
2. Reach out and back up, bringing your body out to a long diagonal line. Do 5-7 reps on both sides.
Tips: Look straight ahead, and keep your head back so it stays in line with your spine.
advanced: Extend your top leg on a diagonal over the top rung, and bring your hands behind your head.
He has owned and operated Seaside Pilates in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA, just north of San Diego, for the past eight years. He has been a teacher trainer for six years. In addition to Pilates, Norris enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, surfing and spending time with his family.
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