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5 Key Elements of Pilates

Posted on 24th March 2020 by

All of our Pilates classes focus around 5 important, key elements. These elements help to underpin all the exercises we do, connecting your breathing, posture, mind and movement.

Many people are now taking part in our online Pilates classes in their own time, or starting Pilates for the first time. We would normally always go through these important underlying steps with you on an individual basis, before you start Pilates. And remind you on a regular basis. So, we thought it would be useful to provide a reminder of these 5 Key Elements.

Key Element #1: Breathing

  1. Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent up (the rest position).
  2. Place a folded towel under your head if you feel that your chin is poking upwards.
  3. Place your hands across the lower half of your ribcage with the tips of your fingers slightly interlaced.
  4. Breathe in and allow your ribs to expand widthways.
  5. Let your fingertips draw apart from one another slightly.
  6. Breathe out and allow your ribcage to sink inwards and downwards.
  7. Your fingertips may interlace slightly as you empty your lungs.
  8. Watch that you do not lift your breastbone as you breathe in. Instead imagine the back of your ribcage spreading wide into the mat underneath you 

You can repeat this in standing or sitting to truly understand your Pilates Breathing.

Key Element #2: Centering

Lie in the rest position.

FINDING NEUTRAL SPINE POSITION.

Place your thumbs in your belly button, your fingertips on the pubic bone and flatten the heels of your hands onto the bony pelvic bones to form a diamond shape, AKA – the pelvic diamond. Tilt the pelvic diamond away from you to exaggerate the arch in your lower back. Tilt the pelvic diamond towards you to flatten your back. Repeat these gentle tilting movement a few more times. Now position the pelvic diamond in the middle of these two positions – this is your neutral spine position. 

SETTING YOUR CENTRE WITH ABDOMINALS MUSCLES.

Feel your deep abdominal corset by placing your fingertips on your bony pelvic bones and then sliding your fingertips in and down 4cm. Now imagine your deep abdominal muscles forming a natural corset, criss-crossing the torso in layers. There are 10 notches in this corset, below the belly button, just like a belt. Breathe in to prepare, breathe out all the way and before the next breath in slowly and gently draw in the muscular corset from below the belly button onto the third notch. You should feel the muscles under your fingertips subtly draw away. Hold your centre and keep breathing normally. Less is better – the contraction is very gentle so don’t over do it.

SETTING YOUR CENTRE WITH PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES.

Gently draw your pelvic floor muscles in and up to hold your bladder from emptying. Now breathe normally and try to keep that engagement in your pelvic floor muscles. Now place your fingertips onto your deep abdominal muscles. You may also feel the muscles under your fingertips gently draw away – this is normal!

Key Element #3: The Rib Cage

Lie in the rest position, with your arms resting over your ribcage. Find your neutral spine position and set your centre. As you take a deep breathe in, feel the movement of your Ribcage expanding laterally and upwards. Breathe out and notice the movement of your ribcage back to its start position. Repeat this movement about 6 times.

Key Element #4: Shoulder Blades

Lie in the rest position.

SHOULDER BLADE RETRACTION AND PROTRACTION

Keeping your arms long, float them upward vertically to the ceiling. Imagine you are holding a helium balloon between your hands. Breathe in and reach upwards through your fingertips, allowing the helium balloon to lift your arms further upwards and glide your shoulder blades gently apart from one another. Breath out and gently draw your shoulder blades back towards one another without pinching them together. Repeat several more times and then lower your arms to the mat.

SHOULDER BLADE ELEVATION AND DEPRESSION

With your arms resting long beside your body, breathe in and glide your shoulder blades gently upwards, keeping your arms on the mat. Breathe out and gently glide your shoulder blades down away from your ears (this movement is produced by the lower trapezius muscle). Repeat several times.

Key Element #5: Head and Neck

If you have neck pain or headaches, always commence this exercise lying down to reduce the load through your neck.

Lie in the rest position. Place a small folded towel under your head if your feel that your chin is poking upwards. Place a shiny magazine on top of the towel to reduce friction. Feel the bony area on the back of your head resting on the magazine. Now lengthen this bony part of your head away from the base of your neck. Hold for a second or two and then relax. Repeat several times. Alternatively, imagine that someone is gently pulling the hair on the crown of your head to lengthen the back of your neck.

Less is better – the contraction is very gentle so don”t over do it. Place your hands on the muscles on the front of your neck. The muscles should remain soft.

The Rest Position

In the rest position your muscles are relaxed and your joints are in neutral alignment. You should try to incorporate the key points of the rest position into all postures throughout your day.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent up and you head supported on a small cushion or folded towel.
  2. Relax the weight of your head into the support.
  3. Lengthen the back of the neck by reaching the crown of the head towards the wall behind you.
  4. Gently draw your shoulder blades down towards your waist to relax the neck and shoulders.
  5. Soften the ribcage into the mat to connect the back of the ribcage on the mat.
  6. Place your feet and knees hip distance apart.
  7. Make sure that your weight rests on the six key points of the feet: the base of each big toes, each little toe and the centre of the heel on each foot.
  8. Imagine your pelvis is a bucket of water. Tip it backwards to spill some water out the back of the bucket and you will feel your back gently flatten onto the mat. Now tip it forwards to spill some water out of the front of the bucket and you will feel your lower back arch slightly. Find your ‘neutral spine’ position by resting the bucket halfway between these two movements. There should be a small space between your back and the mat, and your pubic and hip bones should form a small flat triangle.
  9. Maintaining the neutral spine position, INHALE wide into the sides and back of the ribcage and then EXHALE. At the end of your exhale, slowly draw up through the pelvic floor muscles to engage these and your deep abdominal muscles.
  10. Hold this gently contraction and keep breathing for up to ten breaths,

If you’d like to join us for some online Pilates classes, head on over to our Pilates Facebook community group.



Pilates Exercise of the Month: Double Leg Stretch

Posted on 1st February 2020 by

Each month we’re bringing you a different Pilates exercise to practice and focus on, as recommended by one of our Pilates Instructors. This month, Hugo recommends the Double Leg Stretch.

This is my favourite Pilates exercise. It is the most complete one. Not only do you need to focus on keeping your core muscles engaged but also on coordinating arms with legs. Coordination and stability, all in one exercise, can’t beat that!

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent up in the Pilates Rest Position.
  2. Have your legs a hip width apart, shoulders drawn down and in and your neck long. Centre engaged.
  3. Float your legs one at a time into the table top position and lift both arms to the ceiling.
  4. Breath in to prepare.
  5. Breath out and lower both arms overhead. Simultaneously, reach your left leg forwards and upwards on a diagonal.
  6. Breath in and circle your arms outwards and then downwards. Simultaneously, fold the left leg back into tabletop.
  7. Repeat alternating legs.
Hugo Carvalheiro - Physiotherapist & Level 2 APPI Pilates Instructor

Enjoy this month’s exercise! Hugo, Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor



Thinking of Starting Pilates?

Posted on 7th January 2020 by

The new year always gets people thinking about or talking about starting something new. It can be a great time to give a boost to your health and wellbeing.

Pilates is a great form of exercise, so many people are recommended to do it by friends, family, their GP or surgeon. But many people don’t actually know what it is or what it will entail and that can put them off.

Starting any new form of exercise can seem daunting at first, many us worry about looking silly in front of a class or not knowing what to do, what to expect or even what to wear!

But fear not!! Everyone started somewhere, and although many of our classes have formed close friendships, they can too remember what it was like to start out!

This is one of the reasons we always offer everyone new to Pilates a free 30 minute induction session. This allows you to talk through any health or injury concerns with one of our Clinical Pilates Instructors and help you find out more about Pilates. The Instructor will modify any exercises to suit your individual needs and guide you towards a suitable level class for you.

You’ll also learn the basics of what pilates is: finding your postural muscles and learning some of the common beginner exercises to get you up to speed before entering a class.

You’ll have the chance to ask questions about anything else you’re concerned about so you can start your first class in confidence.

Your first class

The first class can be as much as a mental workout as a physical one whilst you get used to controlling your breathing whilst using new muscles in a new way. However, no one expects you to be perfect straight away so don’t panic – the Instructor leading the class will make sure you’re exercising safely and at the correct level, as long as you are still breathing that’s a good enough start for the first few weeks so don’t worry if you can’t co-ordinate everything straight away!

As with learning any new skill it takes time. Remember that pilates is non-competitive so you will work at your own level during each class. We’ll progress your exercises gradually and encourage you to move up to intermediate and advanced level classes when you’re ready.

It can take 6-8weeks to build muscle, and much longer if you’ve had pain or weakness in an area for a long time so whilst we can’t expect an overnight body transformation, you will notice the difference if you stick with it. Our regular pilates attendees report increased flexibility, reduced pain, improved balance, improved muscle tone and strength, better posture and improved confidence to exercise as just a few of the benefits of our classes!

pilates gophysio

Don’t forget – everyone was a beginner at some point and our classes provide a really supportive and friendly environment to exercise.

We run 20 classes a week from our studio in Chandlers Ford and offer a range of flexible membership options, to suit everyone. If you’d like to give it a try, why not book a FREE no obligation 1-2-1 by calling us on 023 8025 3317.

Read More

More about Pilates

Pilates Timetable

Centreing, the building block of Pilates

How is Clinical Pilates different?


Pilates Exercise of the Month – Roll Up

Posted on 1st January 2020 by

Each month we’re bringing you a different Pilates exercise to practice and focus on, as recommended by one of our Pilates Instructors. This month, Roz recommends the Roll Up.

This is a more advanced abdominal exercises that ensures you continue to activate all the layers of abdominal muscles together.  If the deeper ‘core’ muscles are not working effectively your feet will lift off the floor, giving you the perfect feedback as to how well you are doing the exercise.  As your control improves you simply increase the range you move through.

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, hip distance apart. Bend your hips and knees a little. Ensure that your pelvis is in an upright, neutral position. Lengthen your upper spine and back of your neck. Lift both arms to shoulder height, keeping the arms long.
  2. Breath in to prepare.
  3. Breath out and roll off the back of your sitting bones to round your lower back and tilt your pelvis backwards. Continue to move in this direction as far as you can maintain control, allowing your back to form a C shape curve. Keep the head upright.
  4. Breath in and maintain the C shape curve of your spine and bring your shoulders over the hips, then roll your pelvis forwards onto the sitting bones and re stack your spine, one bone at a time to resume your starting position.
goPhysio Pilates Instructor

Enjoy this month’s exercise! Roz, Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor



Pilates Exercise of the Month – Abdo Prep

Posted on 1st December 2019 by

Each month we’re bringing you a different Pilates exercise to practice and focus on, as recommended by one of our Pilates Instructors. This month, Rosie recommends the Abdo Prep.

Abdominal preparations (Abdo Prep) does what it says on the tin! It prepares the abdominal (tummy) muscles for all the other Pilates exercises and helps to train those ‘centering’ muscles in a correct and controlled manor. Training the abdominal muscles can help with keeping the core tight and stable which helps in day to day life.

This isn’t one to be afraid of and its always good to push yourself with this exercises but remember to breathe! Getting this exercise right and practicing it regularly will help with all your other Pilates exercises.

  1. 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. INHALE and lengthen the back of your neck.
  3. EXHALE, slide your ribcage downwards towards your waist to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat.
  4. INHALE to hold.
  5. EXHALE and lower to the mat.

Tips

  • Think of lifting and lowering your body from the ribcage and not the head or neck.
  • Maintain the neutral spine position.
  • Do not allow your lower abdominals to dome.
goPhysio Pilates Instructor

Enjoy this months exercise!

Rosie, Sports & Rehabilitation Therapist and Pilates Instructor


The Power of Pilates for your Winter Holiday Prep

Posted on 1st November 2019 by

Skiing and snow-boarding are both a highly active activity and form of exercise that people of all ages can enjoy.  Unfortunately, it is not something that we can practice all year round and tends to be a long-awaited trip we take each year.  This means our bodies are often unprepared for the strenuous work we ask of it during a week on the slopes, sometimes causing us significant pain and discomfort – whether it’s just a result of our efforts on the snow or of sustaining an injury.

Many people are starting to realise this and are taking steps to get ‘ski fit’.  They do this by taking classes such as circuit-based classes.  These classes are great in improving cardiovascular fitness. However, these types of classes often neglect our core muscles.  Skiing and boarding demands a lot from these muscles, so it makes sense to prepare them in advance of going to the slopes. 

Pilates is a fantastic way to do this, improving both strength, endurance and balance throughout your body from your core through to your arms & legs.

Having a flexible, strong and resilient core with give you greater control on the snow.  This improved control and agility help you feel like movement is effortless when on your skis.  Effortless movement requires less concentration as well as a reduced demand of your cardiovascular system.  This reduction in fatigue allows you to be more alert on the snow, so less likely to fall as you get tired and distracted. 

At goPhysio our Pilates classes are all lead by physiotherapists and sports therapists, all with a vast experience of rehabilitating around pain and injury.  We have classes available from beginners through to advanced and we can adapt any exercise for you to work around any limitations you may have.

Here’s a couple of great Pilates exercises for you to practice if you’re off to the slopes this season.

Foot Series

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart
  2. Bend your knee into a squat, keeping your chest upright and knees pointing over your toes
  3. From the squat position slowly rise up onto your toes (keeping the knees bent) then lower the heels
  4. Repeat 5 heel raises per squat, 10 times

Shoulder Bridge

  1. Lying on your back with your knees bent, with or without a resistance band round your knees
  2. Squeeze your bottom to lift your hips off the floor, keep resistance in the band if you’re using one
  3. Hold, keeping the pelvis level
  4. Lower then repeat

Clam Level 3

  1. Start in a natural standing position.
  2. Bend your right hip 45 and the knee to 90 degrees, keeping your legs a hip distance apart.
  3. Put your hands on your waist. Inhale to prepare.
  4. Exhale, rotate your right hip outwards, keeping your pelvis stable.
  5. Inhale, rotate your right hip back to the middle, keeping the pelvis stable.
  6. Repeat up to ten times on the right leg and then repeat on the opposite side.

Allow us to help you prepare for the slopes and to make your holiday as enjoyable as it should be.  Take a look here for more information about our range of Pilates classes and flexible booking options.

Read More

Train For The Slopes

Get Ready For The Slopes

5 Tips To Survive The Slopes This Winter

The Benefits of Pilates For Winter Sports



Strong, Steady & Straight – Benefit of Pilates for Osteoporosis

Posted on 1st October 2019 by

Osteoporosis, although a well known condition, comes with much worry and fear surrounding it about physical activity and exercise. A diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia (reduced bone density on a less severe scale than osteoporosis), can often conjure up thoughts of being fragile and fearful of doing too much or exercises that might be harmful.

So, it’s great to see some updated guidance around exercise and physical activity for osteoporosis. The guidance is structured around 3 important themes:

  1. STRONG – the types and amount of exercise and physical activity needed to promote bone strength.
  2. STEADY – the importance of including exercise and physical activity to reduce falls and resulting fractures.
  3. STRAIGHT – a focus on ‘spine care’, keeping the back straight. A positive approach to bending, moving and lifting safely to reduce the risk of vertebral fracture, improve posture and relieve pain after vertebral fracture.

The key principles of the guidance include some important messages:

  • Physical activity and exercise has an important role in the management of osteoporosis – promoting bone strength, reducing falls risk and managing symptoms.
  • People with osteoporosis should be encouraged to do more rather than less. This should be supported with a positive and encouraging approach – ‘how to’ rather than ‘don’t do’.
  • Physical activity and exercise is not associated with significant harm – though some caution is advised, the benefits of physical activity and exercise outweigh the risks. Seek specialist support and advice to help you exercise in the most beneficial way.
Physical activity and exercise for osteoporosis

This makes Pilates a fantastic option as the main aims of Pilates are: 

  • Strengthen your muscles
  • Improve your balance
  • Improve you posture.  

Notice any similarities?!

Not only that, Pilates doesn’t involve any sudden impact so further reduces the risks of fractures associated to osteoporosis.

The added benefit of Pilates at goPhysio is that our classes are taken by a rehab professional with experience of treating patients with osteoporosis amongst other common conditions.

You can find out more about our Pilates classes here.

Read More

Love Your Bones – World Osteoporosis Day

More about Osteoporosis



More Pilates Exercises In Standing

Posted on 1st October 2019 by

Mat based Pilates exercise are carried out in a variety of positions, including lying on your back, front or side, sitting and kneeling on hands and knees. In addition to these positions, there are many popular Pilates exercises you can do in standing.

Here’s a few of our Pilate’s teams favourites!

#1 Mermaid Standing

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Imagine your head is a helium balloon to lengthen your spine. Imagine your pelvis as a bowl resting upright to align your pelvis in the neutral position. Gently set your centre. Glide your shoulder blades downwards towards your waist. Place your hands on the brim of your pelvic bowl.
  2. INHALE and lift the left arm to the side and overhead.
  3. EXHALE and lengthen the curve of the spine to the right while maintaining the neutral position.
  4. INHALE and return back to upright starting position.

#2 Corckscrew Warm Up Move

  1. Standing upright, back of the neck long, shoulder blades set, neutral spinal position, knees soft, weight placed evenly through the feet. Arms resting long beside the body. Centre set.
  2. Inhale, circle the arms outwards and upwards overhead. Keep the arms within your peripheral vision and the shoulder blades set, so pulled back and down.
  3. Exhale, fold the arms and place the hands at the base of the head. Keep the back of the neck long.
  4. Inhale, glide the shoulder blades upwards. Keep the collarbones wide.
  5. Exhale, glide the shoulder blades downwards. Keep the collarbones wide.
  6. Inhale, reach the arms overhead. Keep the arms within the peripheral vision and the scapulae set.
  7. Exhale, circle the arms outwards and downwards to return to the starting position.

#3 One Leg Circle

  1. Start in a natural standing posture. Hands on your waist.
  2. Put your feet and heels together. Keeping your heels together, turn your feet outwards slightly.
  3. Inhale, slide your right leg forwards keeping the toes on the mat.
  4. Exhale, circle your right leg outwards, placing your foot directly behind your right hip. Keep the toes in contact with the mat.
  5. Inhale, slide your right leg forwards, placing your floor directly in front of your right hip. Keep the toes in contact with the mat.
  6. Repeat up to ten times in this direction and then reverse the direction of your leg circles on both sides.

#4 Clam Level 3

  1. Start in a natural standing position.
  2. Bend your right hip 45 and the knee to 90 degrees, keeping your legs a hip distance apart.
  3. Put your hands on your waist. Inhale to prepare.
  4. Exhale, rotate your right hip outwards, keeping your pelvis stable.
  5. Inhale, rotate your right hip back to the middle, keeping the pelvis stable.
  6. Repeat up to ten times on the right leg and then repeat on the opposite side.

#5 Roll Down

  1. Stand in a natural standing position. Engage your core.
  2. Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, lengthen the back of the neck and curl the head and neck forwards. Continue to curl the body forwards, one bone at a time. Wheel the pelvis forwards and continue to roll the body downwards as far as comfortable. Allow the head and arms to relax forwards with gravity and keep the knees soft.
  4. Inhale and hold the roll down position.
  5. Exhale, draw the tailbone downwards and wheel the pelvis upwards. Continue to roll the spine upwards one bone at a time. Lengthen the upper body upwards and widen the collarbones to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat 3 5 times.

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 mat Pilates.

Read More

Top 3 Pilates exercises in standing


The goPhysio Pilates Team

Posted on 24th September 2019 by

Specialist Clinical Pilates is one of our core (excuse the pun!) services here at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford. We are unique in the area in that all of our Instructors, in addition to APPI Pilates Chandlers Fordbeing specially trained Pilates Instructors, are clinically qualified, so have a degree in Physiotherapy or Sports Therapy.

This level of qualification and specialist experience enables then to incorporate Pilates with rehabilitation and recovery of injuries, and/or using Pilates for injury prevention.

The Pilates qualifications that all of our Instructors have is from The Australian Physiotherapy & Pilates Institute (APPI). This is the world leading provider of Pilates education.  The APPI has developed a unique modified Pilates technique. This technique has been developed specifically for rehabilitation settings. It ensures that safe and scientifically researched movement patterns are learned and taught to be part of effective Rehab, retraining of alignment, correcting posture, improving range of motion, supporting the spine and for safe sport and strength training.

All our Instructors are a minimum of Level 2 qualified with APPI. 

Meet Our Instructors!

We are so privileged to have 6 fantastic Pilates Instructors in our team. As they all work clinically too, this helps provide seamless care if you are moving from physiotherapy, sports therapy or rehab to Pilates or via versa.

So, whether you’ve heard great things about Pilates and would like to start, are looking for small, supportive classes to help with prevention or recovery from injury or want to do Pilates as part of a regular exercise routine, look no further!

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Here’s all the information you need to know about:

Clinical Pilates

Our regular timetable

How to book a Regular Pilates at goPhysio

How to book PAYG Pilates at goPhysio


Back To School Pilates Offer

Posted on 20th August 2019 by

It’s coming to the end of the school holidays, time to start thinking about YOU again!

September can be a great time to start something new, it’s a time of natural change and fresh starts, new timetables and schedules. Maybe you have more free time for yourself with a little one starting school or gaining more independence going to senior school or college, or even university!

Have you thought about starting or re-starting Pilates? Perhaps you used to do Pilates and would love to get back to it? Pilates is a fantastic form of exercise. It’s a whole body workout, helping you get stronger, leaner, more flexible and helping you invest in your health. Even better, it’s sociable and fun!

We’ve got a very special offer for you and a friend!

What’s the offer?

For the total price of £300, you and your friend will both recieve:

  1. A 30 minute 1-2-1 Pilates session to get you started
  2. 3 consecutive months of Pilates classes, with a dedicated space every week in your chosen class from our timetable
  3. A pair of Pilates socks
  4. Access to our special Pilates membership (5% discount off all services, special offer of the month, monthly Pilates newsletter with exercises for home practice)
  5. The option to continue Pilates at a special reduced monthly rate of £55/month (normally £60/month).

That’s £300 between you – so only £150 each! A saving of over £150 off our normal price. If you haven’t got a friend to join you, you can pay £150 for an individual package.

We only have 10 of these special offers available, so be quick, once they’re gone they’re gone.

Read more about our range of specialist Pilates classes here. You can also take a look at our timetable.

Our Pilates classes offer:

  • 20 classes a week for all abilities
  • A dedicated place in your chosen class every week
  • A ‘make up’ class system, so you don’t loose any missed classes
  • Small classes, so you get individual attention and guidance
  • Clinically trained Instructors, specialists in helping and preventing injuries (with on hand advice every week!)
  • A spacious, fully equipped, air conditioned studio

To take advantage of this offer, please call us on 023 8025 3317 to have a chat, book your 1-2-1’s and find out what classes we have spaces in.

T&Cs

  • Offer only open to new members, existing members do not qualify for this offer
  • Payment of £300 for 2 people (or £150 for 1 person) is to be taken upfront. This is non refundable
  • Offer expires 30th November 2019
  • 3 month’s of classes include September, October and November 2019
  • Any unattended classes can not be carried over, however, you can ‘make up’ unattended classes as long as 24 hours notice is given
  • Classes are non-transferable