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Getting On The Ball With Pilates

Posted on 1st July 2019 by

This month, Physio and Pilates Instructor, Kim, has chosen her top 5 Pilates exercises you can do with an exercise ball.

We will often bring the ball into our Pilates classes. It adds another dimension and an extra challenge with it’s natural instability. You can pick one up online or in shops such as TK Max, Argos or Sports Direct (just make sure it’s an anti-burst one!).

#1 Scissors in Sitting

  1. Sit up tall on your sitting bones on top of the ball. Position your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Balance your weight evenly through each foot. Relax your arms by your sides or place them on the brim of your pelvis.
  2. Lift your right leg and hold keeping your weight even through your sitting bone.
  3. Lower your leg and foot to the floor and repeat on the opposite leg.

#2 Swimming Level 3

  1. Kneel in front of the ball. Gently walk your hands forwards along the floor until your pelvis is resting in top of the ball. Balance with your fingertips and toes on the mat. Align your pelvis in the neutral position and gently set your centre.
  2. Simultaneously lengthen and hover your right arm and left leg from the mat.
  3. Hold and then lower your arm and leg to the mat.
  4. Repeat alternating sides.

#3 Bridge Hip Dips

  1. Sit on top of the ball and engage your centre. Slowly walk your feet forwards and lower your back until you are in the bridge position. Support your head, neck and upper back on the ball. Bend your knees to 90 degrees. Keep your centre engaged and gently engage your gluteal (buttock) muscles.
  2. Stabilise in the bridge position.
  3. Lower your hips and pelvis downwards without arching your lower back.
  4. Lift your hips and pelvis returning to the bridge position.

#4 Shoulder Bridge Level 1

  1. Lie on your back with your legs in the tabletop position, resting on top of the ball. Position your hips knees and ankles into parallel lines. Align your pelvis into the neutral position.
  2. Gently roll your pelvis and peel your spine away from the mat, one segment at a time rolling up to rest on your shoulder blades.
  3. Hold the shoulder bridge position.
  4. Roll your spine back down on to the mat, one vertebrae at a time to return to the neutral pelvic position.

#5 Plank Walks

  1.  Kneel in front of the ball. Gently walk your hands forwards along the floor until your pelvis is resting in top of the ball. Balance with your fingertips and toes on the mat. Align your pelvis in the neutral position and gently set your centre.
  2. Walk your hands further forwards along the floor. Simultaneously, lengthen your legs and lift your feet off the floor. Your body will align into the ’plank position’ where your spine and legs form a horizontal line. Only walk out as far as you can control.
  3. Hold the plank position.
  4. Walk your hands back along the floor and lower your toes to the floor, keeping your arms and legs long.

Read More 

We have lot’s of informative and educational Pilates articles over on our blog, which you can find here

If you’re interested in finding out more about joining our specialist Clinical Pilates classes at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford, take a look at the details of what we offer, our timetable of over 20 classes a week and more information about getting started with Pilates.


Pilates: It’s more than the core!

Posted on 1st July 2019 by

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“You need to strengthen your core!”

“You’ve got a weak core!”

“Pilates will help your core!”

Sound familiar? Particularly if you’ve ever had back pain, these may be comments or messages you’ve heard quite frequently.

The buzz of ‘the core’ started back in the 1990’s, when targeted exercises towards the deep core muscles were thought to be the best way to help with back pain. It was thought that low back pain may have been caused by weak deep core muscles and that by working and ‘strengthening’ the core muscles, you could help back pain. Therapists and exercise pro’s leapt on this ‘theory’ and you will still read and hear people talking about this all the time, despite there being no link ever having been found between back pain and core muscle ‘strength’!

The current thinking and evidence surrounding ways to both prevent and help people with back pain (an in fact many other common injuries, aches, pains and long-standing conditions) is that it’s movement, activity and any exercise is the best way! The key is that you find something you enjoy, fit’s in with your daily life, you can commit to regularly and that challenges your body in some way.

There is a common misconception that all Pilates exercises do is work your ‘core’.

But there’s a lot more to Pilates than the core!

So, although Pilates exercises will focus around exercising your ‘core’ tummy and back muscles, doing Pilates exercises will also work and benefit your body in many other ways! This makes it a fantastic form of exercise if you do have back pain, a long-standing condition such as arthritis or other aches and pains.

A Pilates class will challenge and work on:

  • Your balance and flexibility
  • Strength in your arm and leg muscles
  • Breathing techniques
  • Movement and body awareness – so becoming aware of your posture and how your body moves and rests, important in helping you be mindful of your body and connecting with it
  • Relaxation and time invested in you
  • Co-ordination

Our specialist classes here at goPhysio will further support you, by providing access and support from our dedicated team of Clinical Instructors – so you can be rest assured you will be in great hands! Being Clinicians, our team can integrate their knowledge and experience of not only how the body works and moves, but also injuries, aches, pains & MSK conditions for which you might need specific support.

Read More

Pilates at goPhysio

Pilates Articles


5 Elements of Posture and how Pilates can help

Posted on 1st June 2019 by

Having an awareness of your body and posture is a great way to help maintain a healthy, well-functioning body.  Sustained postures that your body isn’t used to or a lack of awareness of how your body feels in certain positions can lead to low back pain, neck pain, headaches, injuries, shortness of breath and even digestive problems. Being aware of your posture can help with maintaining the body’s natural spinal curves, reducing muscle tension and improving movement.

The APPI (Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates institute) method of Pilates taught at goPhysio is based on 5 key elements which are the focus of postural awareness:

5 Elements of Posture How Pilates helps
  1. Breathing
  2. Centering (engaging the core muscles whilst maintaining the neutral spine)
  3. Rib cage alignment
  4. Shoulder blade placement
  5. Head and neck position

Through these 5 key elements, Pilates can really help us become more aware of and in tune with our body. Ultimately, this can help encourage us to move more, move better and prevent injuries from occurring.

Whether you work at beginner or advanced level, Pilates exercises focus on maintaining an optimum postural position throughout all exercises regardless of the specific muscle group a particular exercise may be targeting.  Always looking for optimal alignment and movement control of the pelvis, spine, ribcage, shoulders and head whilst maintaining good breathing patterns. With practice, this is transferred through into daily life as you are moving around.


The Anatomy of A Pilates Reformer

Posted on 28th May 2019 by

As you may be aware, we are delighted to be starting Reformer Pilates here at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford.

Having offered mat based Pilates at goPhysio since 2008, alongside the extra space and growing team, expanding into Reformer Pilates was the next step.

Many of you will not be at all familiar with the Reformer equipment, so we thought we’d share a little overview of the key components that make up The Reformer.

THE CARRIAGE is a flat, lightly cushioned bed section, which you lie, kneel, sit, lunge or stand on. This platform smoothly glides up and down the rails. As the carriage moves as part of your Pilates exercises, you will need to engage and work key muscles in a controlled and symmetrical way.

THE FOOT BAR is used to rest your hands or feet against to stabilise you as you move.

THE SPRINGS provide a variable, dynamic resistance to your Pilates exercises. They demand control throughout your full range of movement, which adds a whole new dimension to Pilates. The different colours represent different resistance (from very light and easy to heavy and more challenging!).

ROPES & PULLEYS are used as an alternative to the static foot bar. Hands or feet can be placed inside the loops or handles, and used to work in multiple directions. This further challenges stability and balance.

HEAD REST is an adjustable section to rest your head whilst you are lying on the Reformer bed.

SHOULDER RESTS are used when lying down, to block your shoulders and assist with moving the carriage during exercises as your shoulders press against the rests. They can also be used as hand holds for different exercises.

STANDING PLATFORM at the foot bar end of the Reformer, is a non slip surface that you can place a foot on for doing certain exercises (the foot bar is lowered out of the way for these exercises). The other foot will be placed on the moving carriage.

BOX is placed on the carriage for variety of exercises. It can be great for those who are a little less flexible or to help make some exercises more comfortable.


For anyone who starts Reformer Pilates with us here at goPhysio, you will have a comprehensive introductory session, where one of our Reformer Instructors will introduce you to the Reformer and go through the equipment, how it works and make sure you are confident and comfortable before you start!

The great thing about the Reformer is that although it may look a little daunting, it can actually make Pilates easier, as your movements and exercises can be assisted, supported and facilitated through the Reformer bed, springs and pulleys. At the other end of the scale, the Reformer can take your Pilates to another level by challenging you too – so it’s great for all abilities!

Interested in our upcoming Reformer?

Click here to register your interest.



Mixing Up Pilates With Equipment

Posted on 1st April 2019 by

Pilates is a great whole-body conditioning class, which can be done in many different ways. Our classes here at goPhysio are mainly mat based, however, we like to mix things up to ensure you get the most out of your classes and add different challenges and keep them varied.

One way in which we do this is to use small pieces of equipment. Using equipment has many benefits it can be used to assist you, and/or give you more of a challenge.

There is a lot of different pieces of small equipment that can be used in our Pilates classes. Here’s a few examples of some of my favourites!

Resistant Exercise Band

Exercise bands are a great to use, as we can use different strength bands depending on what we are trying to achieve. Clams can be made harder by tying the band above the knees to add resistance and to really get your gluteal muscle firing. Roll ups can be a challenging exercise however, we can use a strong band to assist you to achieve a full roll up. 


The ‘Magic Circle’

The Magic circle-this is a great piece of equipment, although some would say they are a bit like Marmite; personally, I love using them! They add great resistance, making you work that little bit harder and ensure that you really feel which muscles you are working. 


Gym Balls

Pilates ball is always a fun class with the added balance component to compete with, in some exercises. The pilates ball can allow you to do exercises in a seated position, whilst having to engage your muscles to keep you nice and stable on the ball. 

goPhysio Gym Ball Pilates

Weighted Balls

The weighted pilates ball adds increased resistance and challenge. The balls come in different weights so you can pick which weight you are happy with. The balls that we use weigh from: 0.5Kg-1.5kg 

Pilates balls goPhysio

So, if you would like a bit more of a challenge or are struggling with an exercise, ask your Pilates instructor about the different types of equipment that you could use in your class.

Written by Graduate Sports Therapist & Pilates Instructor, Francesca 


Top 3 Pilates Standing Exercises

Posted on 1st April 2019 by

This month, Physio and Pilates Instructor, Chris, has chosen his top 3 Pilates exercises you can do in standing.

Our mat based classes (as the name suggests!), involve a range of mat exercises in sitting, lying on your back or side. However, Pilates exercises done in standing are very important too. Doing these exercises will engage and work different sets of muscles.

#1 Arm Openings Level 1

  1. Start in a natural standing position.
  2. Lift your arms forwards to shoulder height, shoulder width apart, palms facing inwards.
  3. Level 1:
    • Inhale, rotate the thoracic spine, head and neck to the right, keeping the pelvis still. Let your right arm follow the movement of the spine while reaching forwards with your left arm.
    • Exhale, rotate your body back to the midline, allowing your arm to follow the movement to resume the starting position.
    • Repeat up to ten times alternating sides.

#2 Foot Series

  1.  Starting position in a natural standing position. Centre engaged.
  2. Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, bend your hips and knees 45 degrees.
  4. Inhale, peel the heels off the floor, keeping the hips and knees bent.
  5. Exhale, straighten your hips and knees, keeping the heels lifted.
  6. Inhale, lower the heels to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat up to ten times and then reverse the direction of movement.
  8. Watch points:
    • Keep your back in a neutral position, so don’t bend forwards or backwards from the spine.
    • Aim to rise and lower largely on the vertical plane only. No shifting of the center of gravity.
    • Try and keep your big toe on the floor.
    • Control the lowering phase slowly.
    • Avoid locking your knees.

#3 Side Leg Lift Level 1

  1. Starting position – Right lunge. Left leg extended to the side, with the tip of the big toe resting on the floor. Trunk hinged forwards from the hips at around 45 degrees. Hands on waist. Centre engaged.
  2. Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, reach your left toes away and then lift your left leg horizontally up from the hip, keeping the pelvis stable. Hold.
  4. Inhale, reach and lower the leg to the floor.
  5. Repeat up to ten times and then repeat on the opposite side.

Read More 

We have lot’s of informative and educational Pilates articles over on our blog, which you can find here

If you’re interested in finding out more about joining our specialist Clinical Pilates classes at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford, take a look at the details of what we offer, our timetable of over 20 classes a week and more information about getting started with Pilates.


Top 5 Pilates Exercises for your Abdominals

Posted on 1st March 2019 by

The abdominal (or tummy muscles) play a key feature in Pilates. ‘Setting the core‘ is often a starting point for many exercises.

The great thing about Pilates based abdominal exercises are that the movements are slow, considered and controlled. They very much focus on ‘quality’ movement, making sure you’re aware of your lower back, which, if you’ve ever experienced low back pain, is really important.

These 5 exercises that focus on your tummy area can help ease and prevent aches and pains around the back, hips and pelvis,

#1 Scissors

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent up in the Pilates Rest Position. Legs hip width apart, shoulders drawn down and in and your neck long. Centre Engaged.
  2. Float your legs one at a time into the tabletop position (hips and knees bent to 90 degrees).
  3. Hold this double tabletop position, so both of your legs are bent up.
  4. Lower your left leg and tap the tips of your toes on the mat and then float the leg back up into the tabletop position.
  5. Lower your right leg and tap the tips of your toes on the mat and then float this leg back into tabletop.
  6. Repeat alternating legs.

#2 Hip Twist

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent up in the Pilates Rest Position. Legs hip width apart, shoulders drawn down and in and your neck long. Centre engaged.
  2. Float your leg up into tabletop.
  3. Keeping your leg in tabletop, glide this leg outwards from your hip joint.
  4. Draw this leg back in again until your knee is directly above your hip.
  5. Repeat on alternate legs.

#3 Abdominal Prep

  1. Start in the Pilates rest position with your hands interconnected and placed behind the top of the neck to support the head. Elbows slightly lifted away from the floor, shoulders drawn down and in.
  2. Slide your ribcage downwards towards your waist to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat whilst maintaining the neutral spine position.
  3. Hold and then lower to the mat.

#4 Half Roll Back

  1. Sit on the mat with your legs in front, hip-distance apart. Bend your hips and knees a little.
  2. Roll off the back of your sitting bones and round your spine into a deep C-shaped curve from the crown of the head to the tailbone. Arms long, reaching forwards parallel to the floor.
  3. Scoop your tailbone upwards towards the ceiling and roll further back-wards off your sitting bones to round your pelvis and lower towards the mat behind you.
  4. Roll your body forwards to the starting position, moving from your pelvis.

#5 Criss Cross

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent up in the Pilates Rest Position. Legs hip width apart, shoulders drawn down and in and your neck long. Centre engaged.
  2. Float both legs one at a time into the tabletop position. Fold your hands one on another and place them at the base of your head for support. Lift your elbows into your peripheral vision. Then scoop your upper body into the abdo. prep. position.
  3. Reach your right leg forwards and upwards on a diagonal. Simultaneously, reach your right shoulder blade diagonally across towards your left hip, keeping the upper body lifted. Allow your head and neck to follow the diagonal movement of your upper body.
  4. Alternate legs and rotate your upper body to the right, reaching your left shoulder blade towards your right hip. Keep the upper body lifted throughout.
  5. Repeat alternating legs with rotation of your upper body. Keep your upper body lifted.

Although at first glance these exercises may not seem too challenging, when performed correctly, they may surprise you!

Read More

We have lot’s of informative and educational Pilates articles over on our blog, which you can find here.

If you’re interested in finding out more about joining our specialist Clinical Pilates classes at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford, take a look at the details of what we offer, our timetable of over 20 classes a week and more information about getting started with Pilates.

#LovePilates



A pain in the neck? Not with Pilates

Posted on 1st March 2019 by

The average weight of the human head is 4.5-5.0kg.  It is therefore no surprise that with this weight at the top of our bodies, how your neck moves and works, the positions that are demanded of it and the support it has, can play a part in problems experienced with neck pain and headaches.

However, the neck can not be considered in isolation. The position of the head at the top of the spine is also influenced by the alignment of the whole spine.

Stress on the cervical spine as related to posture. (From: Hansraj, K. K. (2014). Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the headSurgical technology international25, 277-279.)

What’s great about Pilates, is that it can assist with maintaining the natural curves of the spine, including the neck, by increasing conscious awareness of posture and by strengthening the deep muscles that play in important part in supporting your body well.

Breathing patterns are also a fundamental part of Pilates and by achieving correct breath control and ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ we can ‘switch off’ the neck muscles that are often overactive with breathing and a component of causing neck pain.

Pilates can therefore help with neck pain by improving spinal alignment, strengthening deep stabilising muscles, relaxing overactive muscles, reducing tension and improving range of movement.

Read More

10 Ways to keep your neck pain under control


Perfecting Your Posture With Pilates

Posted on 1st February 2019 by

You might be surprised to hear that there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Posture’. It has become a deeply ingrained belief that slouching will lead to back problems. However, the most recent evidence makes it clear that posture variability – so changing positions regularly, is the most effective way to prevent back issues. In fact, trying to hold yourself straight and upright all the time may even add to back problems, as you’ll be creating unnecessary muscular tension.

But, that said, if you do spend a lot of your day sitting at a computer, driving or sat in meetings, doing regular exercises such as Pilates, can be really beneficial.

Here’s some excellent Pilates exercises that may help combat the effects of sitting.

#1 Spine Twist

  1. Starting position: Natural standing position. Centre engaged.
  2. Cross your arms over your chest and place the palms onto the front of your shoulders.
  3. Action: Breathe in to prepare.
  4. Breathe out as you twist your upper body to the right, keeping your pelvis stable. Imagine growing taller from your waist as you twist.
  5. Breathe in as you twist your upper body back to the centre, maintaining a lengthened spine.
  6. Repeat up to ten times alternating sides.

#2 Arm Openings Level 2

  1.  Start Position: Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked. Head supported on a small cushion. Ensure your back is in neutral and your centre is engaged. Hips bent to approx. 45 degrees and knees bent to 90 degrees. Arms reaching in front of the body and resting one on top of the other.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, float the top arm upwards and over your head, beginning the first part of a circular motion, keep the eyes in line with the hand.
  4. INHALE for the second half of the circle as you return to the starting position.
  5. Tips: Imagine holding a piece of chalk in the top hand and drawing a large circle above the body for level two. Think of your shoulder blade drawing downwards as the top arm lifts like the counter weight on a railway gate.

#3 Cobra

  1.  Start Position: lie on your stomach with a cushion under your tummy for support if required. Ensure centre is engaged, shoulder baldes are drawn down and back of your neck is long. Bend your arms into an ‘L’ shape and place your elbows slightly higher than shoulder height. Hips turned outwards and legs wider than hip width apart.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, gently slide your shoulder blades downwards and lengthen your upper body off the mat, using your hands for support. Maintain length from the crown of the head to your tailbone and continue peeling your body away the mat, section by section until your hip bones are lifted.
  4. INHALE and hold your cobra position.
  5. EXHALE, layer your body back down onto the mat commencing with your hip bones and finishing with your forehead to return to neutral spine position.
  6. Tips: Imagine peeling the body away from the mat section by section beginning with the forehead, then the shoulders, breastbone, lower ribcage, waist then hip bones. Reach your tailbone towards your heels to prevent over extending your lower back.

#4 Breaststroke Prep Level 2

  1.  Starting position: Lie on your front. Forehead resting on a small (1 inch) cushion or folded towel. Back of the neck long. Arms resting long beside the body on the floor. Palms facing inwards. Neutral lumbo-pelvic position. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare
  3. Exhale, slide the shoulder blades gently downwards and reach from the shoulder blades to the fingertips towards the feet and allow the arms to hover 1 2 inches off the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body off the mat to hover the breastbone approx, 1 inch form the floor (no lumbar extension). Keep the back of the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale, relax the shoulder blades and arms to the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body as to lowers to the mat to return to the starting position. Keep the back of the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

#5 Swan Dive Level 1

  1. Starting position: Lie on your front. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart. Arms bent up beside the body, with the elbows slightly below the level of the shoulders. Forehead resting on small cushion or folded towel. Neck long.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, lift your breastbone to hover off the floor, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale and lower the breastbone to the mat, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

Doing these exercises throughout the week can be really helpful at easing any built up stiffness and areas of tension and reminding muscles to work! But there’s no substitute for moving regularly. Don’t forget, the most important thing is moving and changing position throughout the day!

#LovePilates


Bringing Pilates Into Everyday Life

Posted on 1st February 2019 by

Pilates is a great form of low impact exercise to help strengthen your core muscles, improve your posture and help to keep you flexible and mobile. Whilst doing a class once a week is a great start, you can bring some of the key elements of Pilates into your daily life to get even more benefit from Pilates.

Here are five ways you can bring Pilates into your everyday life:

#1 Engage your core

This isn’t just for Pilates classes! Keeping your core gently engaged through the day when you are moving around is a great way to further strengthen your core. Practice makes perfect! Try engaging your core before you get out of bed in the morning, before climbing a flight of stairs or before bending down to reach into a cupboard. Read more about this key building block of Pilates here.

#2 Move correctly

Pilates classes involve a series of slow, well controlled movements. Take this principle and apply it to all your movements, thinking about moving in a more purposeful and controlled manner, rather than rushing from A to B with no thought! Avoid any sudden or jerky movements and aim for smooth stable movements. Think quality of movement from the cues you might have picked up in your classes.

#3 Be Mindful of Your Posture

Imagine you have a helium balloon attached to the top of your head, pulling your spine up tall to stop you slouching. Think about sliding your shoulder blades back and down into your back pockets to open your chest and keep your upper back strong. Tuck your chin in slightly and keep the back of your neck long. If you work in an office and spend a lot of time sitting or in 1 position for long periods of time, you can start to feel the effects – by keeping these principles in mind you’ll be more productive and feel less achy at the end of the day! 

#4 Keep breathing

Try bringing some Pilates style breathing into your day – place your hands on your ribs and take a deep breath in, filling and expanding your lungs all the way to the base. Hold the breath for a moment and then exhale, pushing all the air out your lungs. Repeat 3-5 times. This is a great way to bring some calm or clarity to a busy day!

#5 Stretch it out

Start or finish your day with some basic Pilates stretches to get your body warmed up for the day ahead or cooled down after a long day. Try a ‘Cat Stretch’ on all fours to get your spine moving and then take it into a ‘Thread the Needle’ to get some rotational movement. Use a ‘Childs Pose’ or ‘Shell Stretch’ to relax and unwind at the end of the day.