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Pilates for a Dancer's Body -- the Dancer's Legs and Butt Workout on UPW

People ALWAYS ask us if they can get "a dancer's body" by doing Pilates, and, sadly, there's not a simple answer to that question!  Truly, if you want a dancer's body, it's probably a good idea to DANCE (as well as do Pilates, of course)! And by dance, we don't mean "fitness dance"!  We mean a structured dance class that focuses on true dance technique, whether it be ballet, ballroom, tap, tango, swing, etc. THAT plus Pilates will help to sculpt the coveted dancer's body.

As dancers who danced, then worked in corporations, then went to graduate school, then danced again, then stopped dancing to open and run Pilates on Fifth, only to start dancing again a (ahem) few years later, we have experienced FIRST HAND the difference true dancing creates in one's body.  It is only in the past year and a half that we've really started to analyze and seek out the "missing elements" that either enhance the look of a "dancer's body", or derail it.  That being said, we've figured out one additional answer to the "how to get a dancer's body" question, and that's STRETCHING!!!!!  We think that most people would be absolutely dumbfounded if they knew how much dancers stretch.  It is truly staggering!

In that spirit, we've created the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout!  It combines essential core strengthening moves, along with great exercises for the legs and butt that combine strength AND flexibility within the workout.  This 51 minute workout left us both feeling strong, lithe and free.  We hope y'all enjoy it too!  Find the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout here!

ALSO!!  Don't ever get discouraged!  The profession of dance naturally weeds out "naon-dancer" bodies.  Just as the sport of basketball eliminates shorter individuals, so too doest the profession of dance weed out non-dancer bodies (especially ballet).  BUT!   You can still improve on what you have!  A bulldog's body will never be a greyhound, but that bulldog can still look darn good in its own little skin.

Monday, December 15th 2014

Pilates for a Dancer's Body -- the Dancer's Legs and Butt Workout on UPW

People ALWAYS ask us if they can get "a dancer's body" by doing Pilates, and, sadly, there's not a simple answer to that question!  Truly, if you want a dancer's body, it's probably a good idea to DANCE (as well as do Pilates, of course)! And by dance, we don't mean "fitness dance"!  We mean a structured dance class that focuses on true dance technique, whether it be ballet, ballroom, tap, tango, swing, etc. THAT plus Pilates will help to sculpt the coveted dancer's body.

As dancers who danced, then worked in corporations, then went to graduate school, then danced again, then stopped dancing to open and run Pilates on Fifth, only to start dancing again a (ahem) few years later, we have experienced FIRST HAND the difference true dancing creates in one's body.  It is only in the past year and a half that we've really started to analyze and seek out the "missing elements" that either enhance the look of a "dancer's body", or derail it.  That being said, we've figured out one additional answer to the "how to get a dancer's body" question, and that's STRETCHING!!!!!  We think that most people would be absolutely dumbfounded if they knew how much dancers stretch.  It is truly staggering!

In that spirit, we've created the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout!  It combines essential core strengthening moves, along with great exercises for the legs and butt that combine strength AND flexibility within the workout.  This 51 minute workout left us both feeling strong, lithe and free.  We hope y'all enjoy it too!  Find the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout here!

ALSO!!  Don't ever get discouraged!  The profession of dance naturally weeds out "naon-dancer" bodies.  Just as the sport of basketball eliminates shorter individuals, so too doest the profession of dance weed out non-dancer bodies (especially ballet).  BUT!   You can still improve on what you have!  A bulldog's body will never be a greyhound, but that bulldog can still look darn good in its own little skin.

Monday, December 15th 2014

Pilates for a Dancer's Body -- the Dancer's Legs and Butt Workout on UPW

People ALWAYS ask us if they can get "a dancer's body" by doing Pilates, and, sadly, there's not a simple answer to that question!  Truly, if you want a dancer's body, it's probably a good idea to DANCE (as well as do Pilates, of course)! And by dance, we don't mean "fitness dance"!  We mean a structured dance class that focuses on true dance technique, whether it be ballet, ballroom, tap, tango, swing, etc. THAT plus Pilates will help to sculpt the coveted dancer's body.

As dancers who danced, then worked in corporations, then went to graduate school, then danced again, then stopped dancing to open and run Pilates on Fifth, only to start dancing again a (ahem) few years later, we have experienced FIRST HAND the difference true dancing creates in one's body.  It is only in the past year and a half that we've really started to analyze and seek out the "missing elements" that either enhance the look of a "dancer's body", or derail it.  That being said, we've figured out one additional answer to the "how to get a dancer's body" question, and that's STRETCHING!!!!!  We think that most people would be absolutely dumbfounded if they knew how much dancers stretch.  It is truly staggering!

In that spirit, we've created the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout!  It combines essential core strengthening moves, along with great exercises for the legs and butt that combine strength AND flexibility within the workout.  This 51 minute workout left us both feeling strong, lithe and free.  We hope y'all enjoy it too!  Find the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout here!

ALSO!!  Don't ever get discouraged!  The profession of dance naturally weeds out "naon-dancer" bodies.  Just as the sport of basketball eliminates shorter individuals, so too doest the profession of dance weed out non-dancer bodies (especially ballet).  BUT!   You can still improve on what you have!  A bulldog's body will never be a greyhound, but that bulldog can still look darn good in its own little skin.

Monday, December 15th 2014

Pilates for a Dancer's Body -- the Dancer's Legs and Butt Workout on UPW

People ALWAYS ask us if they can get "a dancer's body" by doing Pilates, and, sadly, there's not a simple answer to that question!  Truly, if you want a dancer's body, it's probably a good idea to DANCE (as well as do Pilates, of course)! And by dance, we don't mean "fitness dance"!  We mean a structured dance class that focuses on true dance technique, whether it be ballet, ballroom, tap, tango, swing, etc. THAT plus Pilates will help to sculpt the coveted dancer's body.

As dancers who danced, then worked in corporations, then went to graduate school, then danced again, then stopped dancing to open and run Pilates on Fifth, only to start dancing again a (ahem) few years later, we have experienced FIRST HAND the difference true dancing creates in one's body.  It is only in the past year and a half that we've really started to analyze and seek out the "missing elements" that either enhance the look of a "dancer's body", or derail it.  That being said, we've figured out one additional answer to the "how to get a dancer's body" question, and that's STRETCHING!!!!!  We think that most people would be absolutely dumbfounded if they knew how much dancers stretch.  It is truly staggering!

In that spirit, we've created the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout!  It combines essential core strengthening moves, along with great exercises for the legs and butt that combine strength AND flexibility within the workout.  This 51 minute workout left us both feeling strong, lithe and free.  We hope y'all enjoy it too!  Find the Dancer's Legs and Butt workout here!

ALSO!!  Don't ever get discouraged!  The profession of dance naturally weeds out "naon-dancer" bodies.  Just as the sport of basketball eliminates shorter individuals, so too doest the profession of dance weed out non-dancer bodies (especially ballet).  BUT!   You can still improve on what you have!  A bulldog's body will never be a greyhound, but that bulldog can still look darn good in its own little skin.

Monday, December 15th 2014

Don't Neglect Your Adductors

Don't neglect your adductors! Inner thigh work is an essential component of any Pilates workout! This article inspired us to give y'all some great Pilates exercises that target the adductors, all that can be done at home....and all you need is space on the floor and a small towel that you've rolled up! Pilates Exercise #1: Side Leg Lift Series, Double Leg Lift. Make this exercise even more adductor intense by squeezing a rolled up towel between your upper inner thighs (NOT your knees!!!) Even though it's tricky, keep your body in one long line and don't let your feet come forward! Pilates Exercise #2: Heel Squeeze Prone. Roll up a towel and squeeze it between your heels (shown here with small ball), as you are squeezing, concentrate on keeping the glutes engaged WITHOUT allowing the knees to lift! If you feel ANY pressure in the lower back, perform the entire exercise with a cushion under your hips. Pilates Exercise 3: Shoulder Bridge (modified), shown with small ball: Roll up towel and squeeze between your upper inner thighs. Press into shoulder bridge, and then alternate lifting one leg, then the other, keeping the femurs in line.

Tuesday, November 11th 2014

HOW COREALIGN CHANGED MY RUNNING - Guest Blog by Joyce Liew

I have been teaching pilates for 5 years now and still love practicing it and teaching it. To me the pilates equipment are one of the most creative and intelligent machines built to isolate different muscle groups around supporting joints to strengthen and create stability for different parts of the body. I discovered the "core" on these machines.

But nothing worked my core as hard as the CoreAlign machine! Having done all three levels of the teacher training course at Pilates on Fifth studio in New York City, I re-discovered my legs all over again. But not only did I re-discover my legs again, I re-discovered my torso's relationship with my pelvis, and THEIR relationship with my legs. CoreAlign is fabulous in getting your intrinsic muscles to fire in as perfect timing as possible, as accurately as possible. Much of the exercises are standing, something which I thoroughly enjoy as I am not someone who can sit all day at a desk facing a computer. I am always walking, always moving, and when I can, always running. Because so much emphasis of CoreAlign focuses on balance and stability when you are in an upright position, I felt I had to work my peivic floor and transverse abdominals much harder than I would if I had to maintain good stability and balance while I move my legs without falling off the machine. I felt my inner thighs and gluts having to fire much more quickly when my legs move asymmetrically and when I had to turn my trunk in a specific direction at the same time. And each time I finished a CoreAlign training and practice, I would walk out of the studio with a "new" walk. My walking gait had improved!

Joyce Liew is a Polestar certified Pilates instructor, a CoreAlign certified instructor, a Yoga Alliance certified Yoga instructor with YogaWorks, a Healing Yoga Therapeutics certified instructor with YogaWorks, a TRX Suspension certified instructor based at the Comoshambhala Urban Escape wellness centre in Singapore.

www.frombodytoself.com

Tuesday, October 21st 2014

Can Pilates Help Reduce Cellulite?

Though Pilates was designed to re-align the body and re-balance muscle groups, many people — namely women — use Pilates for vanity!  From sculpted arms to toned abs to tighter hips and buttocks, Pilates definitely helps prepare the body for bikini weather!

But many people seek to “spot tone” and accomplish cellulite reduction in specific areas.  At our New York studio, second only to questions about weight loss, women ask “will my cellulite go away?”  Unfortunately, spot toning is not possible with Pilates or any other exercise system.  Cellulite reduction occurs only with fat loss.

Factors that contribute to one’s susceptibility to cellulite development are gender, race, age and body composition.  Women are more prone to cellulite development than men.  This is due to structural differences in the connective tissue that lie below the skin in men and women.  If you think of connective tissue as fish net stockings lying under the top layer of skin, men have smaller squares per inch in their fish net stockings, and the “netting” is thicker and lies more horizontal to the skin’s surface.  On the other hand, in women, the squares are larger, the netting is thinner and the strands of the netting lie vertical to the skin’s surface.  Thus, more fat breaks through the squares and produces the dimpling effect on the skin’s surface.

Moreover, studies have shown that Caucasian women are more susceptible to cellulite development, whereas African American and Asian women are less susceptible.  Just as darker skin tones — those with more melanin — display a stronger resistance to UV rays, so to do darker skin tones show more resistance to cellulite development.  As the levels of melanin, and thus skin tones, can vary greatly among Caucasians, an individual’s susceptibility to cellulite development will depend on genetic make-up.  The more an individual tans naturally, the more melanin in their body, and the more resistant to cellulite development they naturally are.  Redheads with blue eyes have the least amount of melanin in their bodies, while African American women with dark eyes have the most.

Next, the natural process of aging causes a decrease in firmness of the skin.  The older one is, the more susceptible they are to cellulite development.  Research indicates that most women start noticing cellulite most after the age of thirty.  This should not be new information to anyone, as wrinkles start to appear “suddenly” after age 30 as well.

Finally, body composition plays a part in cellulite development.  Bodies with a lower body fat percentage will be less susceptible to cellulite because the fat simply is not there!  Increasing your body’s lean mass (or increasing muscle tone) will not only help that percentage, but also increase the body’s metabolism, or capacity to burn more calories, even when the body is at rest.

Pilates helps increase muscle tone, so in a very indirect way, yes, Pilates can help.  But if your goal is to rid yourself of unsightly cellulite, you must do more than Pilates.  Both engaging in cardiovascular activity and consuming a sensible diet are key components that can not be overlooked.  As you know, we recommend CARDIOLATES, but any physical activity that elevates the heart rate is effective.

Losing overall body fat and increasing overall muscle tone will help you lose the unwanted cellulite!  So keep up with your Pilates, take a brisk walk a day and watch what you eat!

Does that inspire you to work out?  Try our “Anti-Gravity Buttsky” workout or the “Burn that Muffin Top/ Lose that Spare Tire” workout to get your heart rate up so that you can burn fat and tone problem areas simultaneously!

 

Friday, August 29th 2014

CoreAlign — Who should do it?

People often ask us, “Who should do CoreAlign?”  Our knee jerk reaction is, “Who shouldn’t?” or "EVERYONE!"   In all seriousness, though, CoreAlign is easily adaptable to all ages and fitness levels because it is so functional and practical.  Like all exercise systems, CoreAlign offers a progression of exercises so that all practitioners are challenged, but CoreAlign truly can be made as simple or as complex as your client needs it to be.

So that being said, CoreAlign will definitely NOT be too difficult!  On the contrary, it is IDEAL for all of us, especially as we all get older (even into 50’s and 60’s, mind you) because it targets balance, core strength, shoulder girdle stability, and posture.  The creator, Jonathan Hoffman, is a Physical Therapist, and initially created CoreAlign for his clients, many of whom were middle-aged women, so that they could rehabilitate from lower back pain, joint instability, etc., in a functional, upright setting.  Once the rehabilitation was complete, his clients did not want to stop using the CoreAlign, and thus a whole exercise system was born.

Jonathan stresses FUNCTIONAL exercise, and although the word "functional" seems to be popping up more and more these days, Jonathan intends functional to mean these exercises truly help your body function better on a day to day basis.  The exercises have direct application to walking, reaching, getting up out of a chair, stability through range of motion, bracing oneself -- in short, things that all of us have to do on a daily basis!  We want these movements to happen automatically, and CoreAlign helps with that immensely.  Best of all, most of the exercises are done standing up -- which is how we move -- practical, right?

The first time we tried CoreAlign, we were sold IMMEDIATELY!  We only tried THREE (yes, 3!) exercises, and on just those three exercises, we decided to purchase six machines for our studio.  Crazy?  Not at all!  We could tell instantly that this was a special machine that added VALUE to all the Pilates and Suspension exercise we were already doing.  It brings a whole new dimension to the studio that is beneficial to all -- and the results are amazing.  Can you tell we like it?
 
And there is more!  The creator, Jonathan Hoffman, will be here at Pilates on Fifth in October to teach all three levels of CoreAlign!  Don't miss this amazing opportunity to learn from the inventor!

If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at training@pilatesonfifth.com, or learn more about CoreAlign at http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/store/corealign.html

If you’re all ready to sign up, click here (http://pilatesonfifth.com/Pilates-Continuing-Education-Balanced-Body-CoreAlign-Teacher-Training) for course dates and to register!
 
Monday, August 11th 2014

PILATES IS FUNCTIONAL… if you’re with the right instructor!

In the past couple of weeks, we have been SCOURING the web for articles about Pilates, especially those that seem to grossly misunderstand Pilates. We found a few, of course.

First and foremost, some authors have absolute DISDAIN for Pilates. This is almost comical to us, because as much as we do not wish to have the bodies of body builders, we do not have disdain for those who do! We’re just different!!!

For example, one article mentioned “bracing”, vs. “pulling in”. We do not feel that these two terms are mutually exclusive! When practicing Pilates work, because it is in a controlled environment and there are only a few tasks to focus on, we absolutely focus on ALWAYS pulling in AS a form of bracing, not in lieu of it. Thus, when we were on stage as Radio City Rockettes, we could “brace” as necessary and the pulling in happened automatically once the bracing commenced.

Another article mentioned “clinical Pilates”, although that term is never really defined…. and, truth be told, without a definition, we don’t assume to know what is meant by that term either. BUT, we can say after reading these articles that we THINK he means the type of Pilates that is working on the most infinitesimally small stabilizers that perform a small (albeit important) role in stabilization, yet are much more strengthened when bigger movements are performed. The article references a reformer exercise, but a VERY beginning one at that. We would certainly never call certain beginning exercises on Pilates equipment completely functional, per se, as they are usually designed to focus on specific aspect of stabilization, or joint movement. DELIBERATELY, joints and segments have been isolated so that the client’s brain can focus on ONE thing, not ten.

As we do here at Pilates on Fifth and as all of the amazing Pilates instructors we know around the WORLD do, we PROGRESS our clients safely and effectively so that the most basic of exercises are given and perfected as a jumping off point for more functional, total body exercises. That’s the whole point! Clients will NEVER get stronger if a trainer continues to do the same, small, isolated exercises, and you MUST tax a muscle in order to strengthen it. There is no other way. True Pilates professionals know this, and don’t keep their clients doing the same basic exercises session after session after session, etc……

On a side note, we would love the authors of some of these articles to experience the Wunda Chair. Our guess is that they’ve never even seen it, but it’s one of our favorite pieces of equipment to use with individuals who are CLEARLY very strong and perhaps not used to simply negotiating their own weight. Here is “Elephant” on the Chair, and we all know the balance of strength and control that it requires.

Smart Pilates instructors think of Pilates not as an end unto itself, but as FABULOUS cross-training as well as functional training to get the body working optimally. The fact we are able to factor OUT certain forces (such as gravity…. a big one) is KEY to the efficacy of Pilates in helping people move better faster, and injury free. This does not connote, however, that Pilates does NOT acknowledge the need for both for upright movements as well as global movements so that all skills can be integrated in more functional movement patterns.

Wednesday, July 30th 2014

Top 10 Reasons to Love CoreAlign

10. Targets many muscle groups in each exercise = CARDIO!

9. Strengthens the scapular stabilizers in functional, upright postures

8. Improves forward head posture (by strengthening the scapular stabilizers)

7. Coordinates the upper body with the lower body dynamically

6. Strengthens the core in upright movement

5. Improves dynamic alignment

4. Improves dynamic balance

3. Gets you "on your leg" (a dancer thing!) like nothing else

2. Provides the unstable (but SAFE!) vertical element missing in Pilates

1. Builds awareness of and reinforces truly upright, aligned posture

Come to NYC in October and learn CoreAlign from the creator, Jonathan Hoffman! Learn more here.

Wednesday, July 23rd 2014