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Old 09-20-2007, 12:07 AM   #1
majortink
 

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pilates question

ok, I've tried a few classes of pilates at the new gym and I'm getting very frustrated! I have the Winsor Pilates DVD's here at home and I tried doing it here with not much success - I thought it was because I didn't quite understand what I was suppose to be doing with the whole contract your abs thing and all so I was very excited to see pilates being offered at the gym. Well, having a trainer there hasn't helped much either. The trainer was very encouraging and all but I just couldn't do a stupid sit up without my feet coming up off the ground and pulling on my legs or pusing off with my arms if my life depended on it. I asked the trainer how long will it take after having a C section to 'get it' and she goes 'oooohhhhh, yeah it will take you longer' SHIT! I have no patience for this! As a former gymnast, not being able to do a stupid simple sit up is driving me nuts.

So, should I stick with it and just suck it up or am I a lost cause after having a C-section? Anyone know if there are certain pilates moves that will help more than others in strengthening my lower abdominals so I can do a sit up?
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:58 AM   #2
nikhi19
 

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I'm actually a Pilates instructor!

Stick with it! It will get easier. Contracting your abs isn't as intuitive as contracting your bicep or your calf or other muscles we visibly use each day. Think of pulling your belly button back towards your spine and making a "bowl" out of your lower stomach. Relax your shoulders and don't "suck in". The contraction happens on the exhale.

If you lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor you can practice a simple contraction exercise: Place both hands on your stomach right next to your belly button. Now, without moving your hands, try to pull your stomach away from your hands as you exhale. You are pulling your belly button back and down towards your spine and allowing your hips to roll forward to really force the lower back into the ground. This is called "Spinal Imprinting". Practice like this on the ground and eventually your body will get what you're trying to do and the light will click on that connects the brain to your abdominal muscles. Then you will have an easier time contracting in other positions (standing, seated, lying, on stomach, etc.)

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:14 AM   #3
majortink
 

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Thanks, Nikhi. I'll try that when I'm watching tv tonight! The instructor mentioned doing bridges might help more as well since I have to contract to keep myself up. Do you agree? I find my back gets sore doing bridges so I think I'm using more my back muscles than my stomach????? Does that make sense?
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:20 AM   #4
CathyFlora
 

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you two may be speaking different languages. by bridges, as a gymnast you are thinking back bends, and she's probably talking about planks.
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:26 AM   #5
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oooppps! sorry, I meant planks! little tired today - up too late last night on here catching up!
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:34 AM   #6
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try starting out from the knees, and do some on your sides for the obliques. they are great.
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:35 AM   #7
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Using your transverse is a hard concept for many people to understand so dont worry that you cant do it right away!
I am also a pilates instructor and I do pilates with my athletes at my university as well.
When you sneeze or cough you are contracting your transverse so try to mimic that feeling that you have. For women , if you perform a kegel (sp?) that begins a contraction of your transverse, for men if you tell them to stop their flow when going to the bathroom then they are contracting their transverse.

Like nikhi said start with your knees bent on the floor and contract your abs and flatten your back to do imprinting, then start to straighten your legs out and continue to try to imprint, as your core gets stronger that will begin to be easy then you can work on holding that position for time like you will in pilates and then you can start to add movement (ie pilates movements) the key is to keep that core stable the whole time during pilates or you arent getting anything out of it.

When you do bridges , I think of hip bridges like old school jane fonda style, that is what I consider a bridge. And if that is what you are doing when your back hurts I would focus on not only your abs but make sure that you are squeezing your glutes, your posterior chain fires (or should fire) glutes, hamstrings, low back, but many people fire hamstrings and low back and no glutes which puts unneeded stress on the low back, which is NO GOOD!

Let me know if you have anymore questions, and dont get frustrated, your abs didnt get good in a few months before you had the baby, so we cant expect them to come back so soon after (although we all wish it would )

Have a good day!
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majortink
oooppps! sorry, I meant planks! little tired today - up too late last night on here catching up!
haha so since you meant planks the same thing is true
while in a plank you should be tightening your abs and trying to keep hollow, and you MUST squeeze your glutes to hold that hollow position, many people do not understand this and think that planks are easy but once you get the whole body involved by keeping the glutes tight it becomes a completely different exercise
Start with 20-30 seconds and work up to 1 min
also do side planks with pushing up through your shoulder and keeping your glutes tight....all of these will help with that core
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:12 PM   #9
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When I think bridges I think of Pilates bridges: laying on back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and then contracting the abdominals to raise the hips off the floor until they are in line with the knees and shoulders while the shoulders and head rest on the ground.

Planks are great, and until you build up the ab strength you should really do them on your forearms, keeping your elbows under your shoulers. When you raise up, do what CTri17 said and keep your glutes engaged, your stomach contracted by pulling your belly button towards your spine and keep your head, back, butt in one long line from head to toe. Practice this 2-3 times for 10-20 seconds each time and you will begin to build your abdominal strength.
Here's a great article from AFAA's CEU corner (published in American Fitness Magazine) on Core exercises and TA (transverse abdonminal) contractions: Complete Core Care
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikhi19
When I think bridges I think of Pilates bridges: laying on back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and then contracting the abdominals to raise the hips off the floor until they are in line with the knees and shoulders while the shoulders and head rest on the ground.
Agreed...that's what I think of as well
some people call planks elbow bridges though
...at work we call them watch TV....not sure why haha
and i've heard other schools call them bows and toes
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTri17
Agreed...that's what I think of as well
some people call planks elbow bridges though
...at work we call them watch TV....not sure why haha
and i've heard other schools call them bows and toes
Watch TV's?? That's an interesting name!

I like to make up different names for the Standard Pilates exercises in my classes just to keep things interesting! But its funny how each studio/teacher/method has it's own name for the same things.
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