Here are some plank variations. Those of you who know me well know I’m a perfectionist and so I am going to correct my own form. During the point and flex variation, when both feet are moving, my free leg shouldn’t be lifting and lowering. This is an indication that my glutes were not firing the whole time. My free leg needs to be active throughout the whole exercise to help lift the leg up. The only part that should be moving is the ankles and the shoulders are a reaction to the movement. But after these exercises your abs will love you!
Here are some ideas to strengthen the pelvic floor. These exercises will help with delivery and also are great preventative exercises for incontinence. These exercises can be done pre and/or post pregnancy as well. The upper body exercises are added to help strengthen the upper body for carrying around your baby. In the video soft weighted balls are used, but you can also use a thera band or soup cans or small weights that are around the house. If any questions please email me and I will give you more ideas.
I had a request for some prenatal videos. The first video is tips of things to be aware of when you are practicing Pilates and are pregnant. The second video is exercises to replace your prone work since you can no longer lie on your stomach. I will be making a video about Kegal exercises and will add it to this post later on. Let me know if there is any specific exercises you would like to know how to modify during pregnancy. Congrats new Mommies! Very Exciting 🙂
1tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cup of quinoa
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted – You can used sliced almonds too
1/3 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350F – Spritz baking pan with cooking spray. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out seeds and flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell and reserving the flesh. Brush zucchini shells with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. While zucchini is baking chop the reserved zucchini and place in a medium size bowl. Add garlic and combine. Heat the remaining oil in a non stick skillet and cook the zucchini mixture for 3-5 minutes, until zucchini is softened. Remove from heat and add cooked orzo, quinoa, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and marinara sauce.
3. Fill each zucchini shell with about 1/3 cup filling and top each with 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Return filled zucchini to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes until filling is heated through and cheese is melted.
Great point, we quite often forget that tight muscles in other areas of the body can create referral pain. Although, if you are sore in the back, be careful about arching backwards. It may be better to keep a straight back until you increase flexibility in the hip flexors. Another option is arching to the side instead of arching backwards.
May 15, 2010, two friends and I had decided we wanted to see a friend play live at one of the local clubs. On our way there, we were sitting patiently at a red light, when all of a sudden my car went flying. I turned to see if everyone was okay and I watched the driver continue to hit us 3-4 more times before he drove away. I hadn’t realized until after that my car seat was broken and when I got out of the car I needed to crack my back. I immediately called my parents because I was in a state of shock and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t realize that I was limping either. The police were on the scene very quickly as witnesses called 911 immediately. The police were able to catch the guy that night and my car was towed back to my house.
The next day I was taken to the hospital because my back and neck had stiffened up and I couldn’t put any weight on the leg that hit the steering wheel. I was told to take a couple of days off of work and to take Tylenol.
Why am I telling you this? Like most of my clients, they have been in a car accident, which has affect their mental and physical state. I worked with MVA’s previously to my car accident, but now I know how much a car accident can change one’s life.
Being part of the fitness industry and being a young, fit and healthy female a lot of people will tell me, “You’re fine”, “But you’re young”, “You don’t look injured”, etc. But pain is not a visible injury and when you live with injuries every day you learn how to cope. I have learned to watch client’s facial expressions and body language when working with them. I listen to how they feel and try to adjust their exercises so that they can still work on improving their strength without hurting themselves, which is what I call “working within the pain free zone”.
Plus symptoms can come on randomly, picking something up and all of a sudden you can’t stand up straight due to back pain, turning to look at someone irritates your neck, reading is difficult because of constant headaches. I understand that clients who have injuries are not always going to be as productive as I would like during a training session because they are experiencing flare-ups and pain.
Mentally clients are fatigued because they are tired of dealing with their injuries, they are not sleeping well at night because their pain makes them restless and they are frustrated feeling the way they do. I understand exactly where they are coming from, I was there and still have my days. At first, I would have tantrums about how much I hated the drunk driver who hit me. How I wanted him to suffer because I was suffering from a situation that I could not avoid. There was no sign that the accident was about to happen, no squealing tires, no horn because the breaks did not work on the driver’s car. I could not protect myself in any way, but at least I was relaxed, if I was tense I could have done greater damage to my body.
I have developed car anxiety and constantly visualize car accidents because I don’t believe people are going to stop or that they are not paying attention to the road. My clients appreciate the fact that I can relate to them and I don’t think they are crazy.
At first, I could not carry more than 15 lbs. in my hands without irritating my neck and being out of commission for several days. I was determined to get back to work and to recover. I also decided to go back to school since teaching Pilates full time was not an option any more because getting up and down on the floor and flexion irritated my neck and often gave me headaches. I wanted a physical job, but it needed to be vertical so I decided I would go to school for massage. I did not want my injuries to prevent me from being successful in school and making changes to my life so I changed my workouts to more strength training. I focused on strengthening my upper body, but had to adjust my exercises until I could lift weights over head and also make sure the weight in my hands was not over stretching my traps. I started light and worked my way up, modifying when necessary.
Another factor that often affects clients and that I experienced was being forced into a sedentary lifestyle to heal. You are sore, you are exhausted from the pain, you sleep more than you are use to and this chips away at the hours of the day. Before you know it, you have been on the couch all day, you are miserable because you feel like a slob from eating and not moving all day. You start to be hard on yourself when you look in the mirror and you see yourself gaining weight.
When I first was injured I lost my appetite due to being in so much pain, I was mostly immobile except for my doctors appointments and quickly lost muscle mass. I dropped 10 lbs. in the first month; people were complimenting me and saying how great I looked, until I started to look ill because the weight had come off so quickly. I knew I didn’t lose the weight in a healthy manner and I wasn’t feeling good about my body. I needed to work on improving my body composition and weight. Now not all people are “so lucky” if you consider the weight loss lucky. After that first 10 lbs., I plateaued. I started to be a little more mobile and was working on improving my condition. But when I would have flare ups, I would lie at home for several days and eat horrible and feel horrible about my situation. I try to use this experience to help my clients push through the hard times and let them know that they have my support along this long and difficult road.
My strength has improved tremendously, but that amount of time, dedication and tears it took was surprising and humbling. Mentally, I still thought I was the same strong fit girl. When my trainer told me to do preacher bicep curls and the signal was not going to my muscles, I started to cry during my session. I was thinking it but my body was not responding. I now try to help my clients realize what kind of effort and time it will take to see these improvements but also that they are not alone. I am there for them during these hard times so that they can see the changes they want. It will take longer than the average person because they have a barrier that is preventing them from working on a regular basis. But it is achievable.