Entries in Equipment/Resources (51)
By Julie Poplawski
You all know the drill: a new client comes in and looks around the studio, intrigued yet uneasy in our dominatrix-looking den. The newbie has heard about how Pilates helps to create long, lean muscles, and she wants that! As an instructor you are excited to aid in her success, hoping she will become a long-term client.
Often, achieving that long, lean body may mean the client ultimately needs to lose weight. That is where every Pilates teacher I know encounters the delicate dilemma of balancing education with expectation. A new client doesn’t understand that an articulating spine feels amazing. She hasn’t discovered that a balanced gait can let her run and walk for hours pain-free or that scapular stabilization just might cure her chronic afternoon headache. She just wants to look lean!
Facing an eager student seeking weight loss, it’s tough to deliver the message right off the bat that although Pilates is a movement modality, it (and probably any exercise for that matter) will not produce weight loss if a person’s diet isn’t appropriate for their goals—if they eat too much.
In my mind I used to justify that postural muscle development would eventually let my weight-loss-seeking clients’ bodies work more efficiently to burn fat. I would further justify that some movement is better than no movement. Sometimes I’d get downright self-righteous and think: Well, even though they don’t want the real benefits of Pilates I can still make their bodies work better. No matter how vigorously I asked my clients to perform the Hundred or flow through the Pilates postures, I knew I couldn’t help them lose all the weight they needed for that lean look using Pilates alone.
I searched through weight-loss books and talked to everyone who had either short- or long-term success with weight loss in hopes of finding a straightforward, no-guilt handbook to give to my clients. I couldn’t find one. So I developed my own approach to take with these clients, and even wrote a book, called Fill Your Cup, as a guide for them. You might not be motivated to go that far, but there are many things you can do—in addition to providing a great workout—to help support their weight-loss goals. It doesn’t take a degree in nutrition or an entire Pilates session to talk healthy habits for weight loss. Here are some ideas:
How many of your clients have shoulder tension? All of them? It was certainly Pilates instructor Rachael Maddalena’s most common complaint from clients. “They would tell me they worked at a computer all day, they had a long commute, and their posture at their computer or in their car would cause them tension that lingered,” says the Bellingham, Wash., instructor.
Rachael went beyond recommending a good masseuse and set out to invent a solution that would really work. She came up with the Pressure Pillow, a clever take on the common practice of rolling out shoulder and back tension on a rubber ball. She’s made the process easier and prettier by packaging two hard balls in padding and covering them with attractive fabric. A strap helps you change positions and control the placement.
Rachael based the pillow design on a combination of Thai massage, Pilates and dance medicine therapies. It targets the trapezius muscles specifically, and she uses it to help her clients get a better understanding of a relaxed and supported shoulder girdle. To use it, place it behind the shoulders using the straps to place it where you’d like the pressure. Then lean back on the floor, a bed or a chair, relax and breathe deeply. Rachael lists more ideas on her website.
Rachael sells the Pressure Pillow through her site for $20 and takes wholesale orders in sets of 10 for $149.95. It comes in at least eight colors and patterns, even a “Route 66” version.
Enter the Giveaway!
Rachael has offered one Pressure Pillow as a giveaway to Pilates-Pro.com readers. To enter, tell us here or on our Facebook page how you would use the Pressure Pillow. We’ll draw one winner on Monday, July 26.
You can visit RecycleYourMat.com, a site that makes the process simple and easy. Founded in 2008 with a mission to keep yoga mats out of landfills by yoga and nature enthusiast Stephanie Stano, RecycleYourMat.com accepts mats made from any kind of material. First, clean your mat (the site provides ample information on ways to do that). Then you either send it to the company headquarters in Eugene, Oregon, or drop it off if there’s an affiliate center near you. The site allows you to search by zip code to find out if there’s a drop-off spot near where you live. If not, you can always sign your studio up to be a drop-off location for the program. Some studios charge a nominal fee for the service. For more information and details on shipping and recycling, check out RecycleYourMat.com’s FAQ page.
By Nicole Rogers
Have you ever wished for an online Pilates encyclopedia? If so, Pilates Interactive, a new web platform from BASI Pilates founder Rael Isacowitz, might be what you’re looking for. It’s an instant exercise reference tool, a continuing ed program and, for those like me who work alone, a digital colleague, packaged onto one site and accessible at any time. It is an extremely handy tool for Pilates in the 21st century.
At its most basic, Pilates Interactive is an online video library of the BASI exercise repertoire. Each video on the site is a demonstration of an individual exercise, and most feature Rael Isacowitz performing and/or cueing the movement. The videos are searchable and sortable by key word, difficulty level, apparatus, muscle, or BASI block (BASI’s unique system). Because all of the video content is streamed, nothing needs to be installed or downloaded onto your computer. The site’s main interface is sleek and easy to navigate and the viewing interface for each exercise has at-a-glance exercise notes, organized into set-up, movement, muscle focus, objectives and cueing sections. At last count, 327 exercises were available and BASI is still adding to the site.
By Dianne Wise
The Foot Corrector is that small, saddle-like piece of equipment you’ve probably seen on the floor in Pilates studios. It was designed by Joseph Pilates himself, just like the rest of the Pilates apparatus, yet it seems not to be used as frequently. After all, how many of our clients ask us to work out…their feet?
Developing a “foot program” for your clients, however, can yield many benefits. A lot of people don’t realize that our bodies’ joint-alignment begins with the feet, which act much like the foundation of a house. If the foundation is not properly laid down, the rest of the structure does not have a stable base of support. To compensate, some parts of the structure might take on more weight than they’re designed to hold and can become damaged, or simply buckle. As the foundation for our bodies, our feet do a lot of work supporting our body weight. They also endure the abuse of walking on hard surfaces all day long. It’s very important to keep them healthy and happy— too often they are ignored.
There are many excellent options for working the feet in Pilates: apparatus exercises such as Footwork on the Reformer or Parakeet on the Cadillac mobilize and strengthen, while props like small hard balls (for tissue release) and Therabands (for spot-strengthening) are excellent for detailed work. The Foot Corrector, however, is the only piece of Pilates apparatus that works the feet in a weight-bearing, and therefore functional, position.
We thought we’d ask what you would like to see on Pilates-Pro.com this year. This is a great opportunity to speak up and let us know what kind of coverage you’re looking for. Vote for the category that most represents your needs.
If there’s something you’d like to see that we didn’t mention, please share specific requests in the comments section below. Do you have a burning Pilates question you think we can help answer? Or perhaps there’s a topic you’d like to suggest we look into? This is your chance to let us know!
By Christine Binnendyk
Pilates and dance conditioning have a long history, and they make for a highly effective combination. Joseph Pilates himself was well-known for working with many prominent dancers during his lifetime. I’d heard the buzz about barre-style workouts such as Lotte Berk, Fluidity, and Bar Method. I had even tried out a few videos. But it wasn’t until I ran across Barre3, the Portland, Oregon, based studio with the tagline, “Where ballet barre meets yoga and Pilates,” that it hit me: Dance conditioning can be a breath of fresh air for Pilates studios, to draw new clients and keep existing ones coming back for more.
Mt. Pleasant Pilates studio owner Nicole Wallen launched a program called Body By Barre just over a year ago. “It’s been a great success,” she says, and the ticket to bringing in new clientele.
By Nicole Rogers
Continuing education workshops are something I go back and forth on. Don’t get me wrong; they are absolutely essential to high quality teaching. Yet, sadly, I often zone out at some point. Sitting on the floor for eight hours makes me want to jump out the window and I don’t like eating raisins out of my purse for “lunch.” But if I learn even one good cue or variation from a workshop, it makes all of the discomfort worth it. The infusion of knowledge enriches my teaching and gets me excited about the process all over again.
Jillian Hessel’s new DVD, Learning From Two Masters, basically solves my problems with workshops since I can watch and review at my own pace. And there is a bounty of information to review. No matter what your background, you would be hard-pressed not to find something of interest here. Though Hessel started her Pilates education in New York, plenty of variations have found their way into her work. And I think there is something here for everyone with an open mind. Hessel trained with many of the elders, and most intensively with Kathy Grant and Carola Trier. Here, she teaches a workshop sharing her vast knowledge as an instructor, specifically as influenced by Grant and Trier.
As 2009 draws to a close and we refocus our energies on the year to come, it’s nice to reflect on the year past. Thus it’s time for our very own Pilates-Pro.com “Year in Review,” a countdown of the site’s 10 most popular articles in 2009. (This is a great place to start if you’re just discovering us!) We’d like to extend huge thanks to all of the innovative, thoughtful, dedicated and generally amazing Pilates experts who contributed to Pilates-Pro.com this year. Kudos as well to the growing number of community members who use the articles and forums as a place for lively, insightful discussion. Pilates-Pro.com continues to grow because of you. And of course, if you have topics you’d like us tackle in 2010, please drop a line and let us know!
1. Pilates for Scoliosis by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
2. Pilates for Feet by Madeline Black
3. Five Ways to Combine Cardio and Pilates by Nicole Rogers
4. Pilates on Call with Siri Dharma Galliano
5. Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back by Debbi Goodman, MSPT
6. 16 Fitness Wear Discounts for Pilates Instructors by Christine Binnendyk
7. Pilates DVD Review: The Jump Board Workout by Nicole Rogers
8. Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs
9. Five Ways to Hook Men on Pilates by Julian Littleford
10. Five Ways to Build Successful Client-Instructor Relationships by Devra Swiger
By Rebekah Rotstein
Back when I was seeing private clients in their homes, I would lament not having Pilates equipment with me. Many of my clients have specific conditions and past injuries, so I rely heavily on the machines for the neuromuscular feedback, assistance and challenge that springs provide. The need I had for transportable equipment—a need I’m sure that many instructors still have—would be diminished now, thanks to the PilatesStick®. This clever device allows you to set up a resistance unit in your own home, or anywhere you like for that matter. Just secure it into a door and you have your own springboard with a rolldown bar.
The brainchild of exercise physiologist Charles Blount, the PilatesStick is a portable kit containing a bar, a thick resistance band called Slastix, cotton loops for the feet or hands, a foam anchor to secure it into a door and a yoga mat. All this comes in a sleeve making it as easy to carry around as a yoga mat bag, with the Slastix serving as a strap to throw over your shoulder. The basic kit will run you about $150. The system also offers additional items for purchase like wall mounts and a ballet bar attachment.