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Pilates Practitioner 101: Weeks 8-12_Fall 2014

Updated on November 20, 2016
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe has been practicing Pilates at her local gym for 3.5 years, and even at home during the winter season.

Glancing back, springing forward

Since this year is coming to an end this week and winter's officially here, I've had my final five Pilates sessions for the year, which ended yesterday afternoon. Depending on the weather, it's going to be real tricky for me to go to class at the gym, while I'll be spending my time doing plenty of indoor Pilates practice. Since I've been practicing Pilates for almost three months, and doing home practice for two months, I've noticed a small chance in my back pain. While my back may never be 100% pain-free, but it improved my posture and lessened the aches down a tiny bit. And that's a well-deserved dramatic change over time and patience.

Keep improving

Since my last hub post, I've been following the complete body guide for Pilates from for the past five weeks. Halfway through, some of the workouts I've done were new to me, while the rest of them were the same I've done before. And that's okay to have it as as a refresher course to hone in the practice and improve it every time. When I'm done with the rest of the workouts, which I continue to keep track on my computer's spreadsheet every week for my Yoga calender.

For the past two weeks, I've added new challenging exercises to the routine, like the kneeling side kick and the scissors side kicks, including the inverted scissors exercise, too. And starting this week for my next workout session, I'll be adding a new classic Pilates exercise that I haven't done before to challenge myself for next year's Pilates classes. When I'm finished, I'll downgrade my practice to three times a week for home practice, except for every day, like when I've started.

Pilates ball exercises are tricky and tough for balance exercises on the map and takes practice

Pilates ball poll

Would you ever do a Pilates workout routine with the exercise ball?

See results

Pilates body balance balls give you a workout, when you sit on it, roll it or balance it on your legs

My final Pilates sessions

During my final five Pilates sessions for the year, I've discovered that some of the exercises I've done at home were close of being correct, especially when it came to breathing, like with inhaling. That's why I'm thankful for going to the gym to improve on those exercises, which is my goal to get it close of perfection. And that's what I appreciate about it as well. Practice maybe really does make perfect, right?

Five weeks ago, and three weeks ago, we used the big exercise balls and put them on the stand. It made it even more challenging and trickier to do the exercises on it. I had trouble with the ball period, when it kept rolling away from me or dropping from my feet. It wasn't fun, either. At least, I wasn't alone, when it happened to someone else in my class. Then we've used the good old exercise rings with the same exercises and some new ones. Last week, we've added dumb bells to the workout routine, like to the planks. Yesterday, it went back to the classic mat routine, when we did some Pilates exercises I've done before at home.

Overall, we've done many variations of the hundred, like on our stomachs, with the ring and the ball between her ankles. I've done it with lowering my legs at home. For the planks, we've did many different side plank poses, which are a bit tricky for me, when my socked feet slip off the mat. Sometimes, it's hard to keep on track with all of them and review them online to refresh my memory. I would get better with the breathing and perfect those tricky exercises for sure.

This is my old yoga mat I used for Pilates (and Yoga) that I've gotten for X-mas in 2014 for home and gym practice--before I lost in 2 months ago

Final notes on my Pilates class dilemma

Since I've haven't heard anything back from my gym's land class developer about Standing Pilates, when I last posted her, I've talked to my instructor and another classmate about it. We all believe, that class I took back in October was no way Standing Pilates, when I've heard "CrossFit" mentioned a couple of times. That's what I've first thought then and even now. Talk about creative writing or false advertising. It didn't look anything I've found online about Standing Pilates, either. I'll be contacting them next week and hope to get that straightened out. Come March 2015, I would try it out one more time, and see if I'm stronger from when I first started out.

Also in the spring, I'll be doing Hydro Pilates water aerobics classes and maybe give Yoga-lates and Stretch-lates a try. If you ever done those two hybrid sessions before, let me know. Maybe I'll do Pilates Plus in the future, when I feel I'm ready to take on more advanced Pilates sessions yet. On another note, I've gotten a fitness buddy to help me out, when I've asked someone two weeks ago. It's not too late to get one, whether in person or online, for next year.

Although I didn't get a Pilates beginning kit for X-mas, I did get my yoga mat to use for home practice and gym class sessions. Check it out I hope to get the exercise ring, resistance band and the ball, somewhere down the road. Happy new Year! Keep warm with Pilates!

Get comfortable with a foam roller in Pilates class to help massage sore muscles

Home Pilates practice poll

Have you improved your Pilates workouts with home practice?

See results

Massage and stretch tense muscles with a foam roller for your practice

Give it a roll with a Pilates roller

Foam rollers are cross-over equipment from rehab training. They're versatile, lightweight and inexpensive--making them ideal for a home workout or studio. It's very simple pieces of equipment, (nothing more than a cylinder made of high-density foam), foam rollers are put to all kinds of uses, such as stretching, self-massage, body support, and stability exercises. Rollers are those white cylinders that you see piled up in the corners of Pilates studios and gyms. It's an ideal way to get ideas by using them, when Pilates instructors are incorporating them into their routines. But they invite experimentation--and you can't really make a mistake, unless you try to stand on it without something nearby to aid your balance.

How to use your roller..

  • Massage tool: Try rolling that muscle or area on the foam roller. You actually put your body weight on the roller and gently rock and roll your way to stress relief.
  • Body Part Prop: Under your knees! Lie on your back in rest position and let the foam roller to support your slightly bent knees. It would help lengthen and relax your spine. There are other way to use the roller as props, when you can see the roller under your hips or supporting a limb.

STOP! What you MUST know Before attempting to treat your Sciatica:

  • Stretch Support: You can use the foam roller as a support for stretching, since you now have a curved surface to work on. You can really relax your stretch, since you're not far off from the ground, and chances of tipping off are slim (unlike exercise balls). You can find creative ways to work off a stretch with the foam roller. For example: Sit with straight legs and the roller under the calf (don't lock the knees!) Leaning forward over your leg will give you a nice stretch.
  • Stability Exercises: Pilates is famous for taking advantage of the core strengthening potential of an unstable surface. All of the deep muscles of the back and abdomen are recruited to help maintain balance, as a person tries to maintain balance while working with an unstable surface. Pilates instructors are inventing many ways to enhance mat exercises and mimic exercises with the foam roller. Like the plank and the push-up, you might try them with your hands on the roller than on the floor.

Buying a Foam Body Roller:

Foam body rollers comes in a variety of lengths and diameters. Thirty-six inches long and six inches in diameter is the popular size. Though the surface is soft enough to be comfortable as one rolls body parts over it, most are made from high-density packing foam that doesn't crush the body weight. Foam rollers may become lumpy or collapse in the middle and do tend to "break in" over time. Some people don't mind this effect in their own rollers--kind of like breaking in new shoes or your perfect spot on the couch--but it's not so pleasing to find a roller like that in the studio. You might want to invest in the most expensive rollers that are made from closed cell foam or super high density EVA foam, if you anticipate a lot of heavy use for your foam rollers.


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    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Give Pilates a try to see if it's right for you. Yoga and Pilates share the same poses in their workouts like down dog and plank.

    • Benny01 profile image

      Ijeoma Peter 

      4 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

      I have being practicing some yoga poses on my own but I would love to try pilates as well.

    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Bill for stopping by and commenting. Pilates will give you a strong workout for your core muscles. Give it a try.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      I also have never tried Pilates. Perhaps I'll give it a try. Thanks for sharing, very interesting.

    • Kristen Howe profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Pilates does give you a workout for your core muscles and for balances. It helped my back pain out.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I have never done pilates, but I do like yoga to stretch out my over worked muscles :)


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