It’s about that time of year. The time when we get lots of questions about how to get rid of neck pain. Maybe it’s all the online shopping?
Here is what we recommend to let the healing begin.
As always, anytime you have pain you want to calm things down.
First step is to decrease the inflammation.
Next CHECK IN on these 3 areas:
Hip Check In- stiff muscles or tightness causing pain in your neck can be a sign that you’ve got some underlying weakness in your core and postural muscles.
Why check your hips when you’ve got neck pain? All movement begins at the hips which are the base of your core. Your hips don’t lie. Imbalances in strength and mobility of your hips will cause issues all throughout the body.
Wait what? Yes it's true and because everything’s connected to everything through your fascia (connective tissue). If your hips are tight and pelvic floor muscles are weak, then your neck may be working overtime to hold you up against gravity.
Posture Check In- it’s important to check that you aren’t straining your neck with your positioning in bed and wherever you sit for long periods (i.e. office chair, sofa, car seat).
Bed Tips: How many pillows do you sleep with? You want to find just the right amount of support particularly in your neck area so that you aren’t too flexed or too flat. You’ll need to take into consideration if you sleep on your back, side or belly. They make pillows for all types of sleepers now. Find one that fits you just right.
If your neck is flared up, you might need some extra support in the curve of your neck just below the base of your skull. You can roll up a towel and place it in the bottom of your pillowcase for some extra support.
If you’re a belly sleeper, a good goal would be to try and become a side sleeper. You could even get a body pillow and sleep halfway between your side and belly sleeping for less stress on your neck.
Chair Tips: ideally you want to sit in a position with good low back support that encourages you to sit with your shoulders over your hips and head in line with your spine. Try to have your elbows supported to take tension out of your shoulders and put any screen at eye level to avoid slumping over and flexing your neck too much. Standing desks work for some folks also to break up their sitting time.
It’s impossible to have perfect posture all day long but you can become more mindful of how you sit and take frequent movement breaks to reset your posture and help your tissue stay hydrated throughout the day.
Stress Check In- most of us are aware that when we are stressed, we hold tension in our necks. Taking simple relaxation breaks from 3 reps to 3 minutes throughout the day will help you calm your nervous system and help you feel more ease each day.
Now that you’ve checked in, which of these areas needs some attention? Keep that in mind as you work on the next step: moving without pain.
NECK BASIC MOBILITY WORK
Here are a few gentle movements to help relieve neck tension or pain.
Relaxing your face- There are 2 simple moves that can help you relax your face and put less tension on your neck. Smiling and putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth while you breathe. I know it seems too simple but try it while you are working on the computer or working out to see if it helps keep tension out of your neck.
Relaxing your shoulders- Good form is important not only in sitting but when you are lifting weights or doing arm movements during Pilates or Yoga exercises. Check in and make sure your shoulders are not pulled up toward your ears (elevated) when you are sitting, cooking, driving, working out, talking on the phone. Instead keep your shoulder blades pulled down toward your hips and think arm pits to hips as you move and go through your day.
Chin Tuck Exercise- Sit up tall, shoulders over hips, arm pits to hips and gently move your chin back toward your spine like you’re making a double chin. Think about lengthening the back of your neck. Repeat 10 times as long as this doesn’t increase your pain. Rule of thumb: if a movement makes your pain worse, don’t do it or modify it.
Nose Circles Exercise- Sit up tall with good posture and move your nose in a circle like you are drawing a circle the size of an orange. Repeat 5-10 times then reverse directions and repeat circles 5-10 more times.
Modifications: If you’re super flared-up, you might want to do the Chin Tucks and Nose Circles laying on your back with a supportive pillow or towel roll. Bend your knees with feet flat on floor to take even more tension off your spine. You can do these several times a day especially at the end of your day. When someone has a recent injury, you typically have them do 10 reps every hour to help calm the area and get out of the pain cycle.
Remember we want to calm the body when it’s in pain.
As things calm down and you’re able to move better without pain, the next step is to turn on your postural muscles with stability exercises.
POSTURE WORK FOR NECK PAIN
Even though you are dealing with a neck issue, you want to start with stability exercises aimed at strengthening your hips and pelvic floor muscles to help improve your posture and take tension off your neck. You can literally reshape your body with a few minutes of daily fascial body work.
We show you how to improve the mobility and stability of your hips and spine using fascial stretching, massage and stability work in our online program, HIP Camp™: Stretch & Rest Care Tools To Reshape Your Body. Learn more here.
WHEN TO SEEK HELP WITH PAIN
If you have sharp or constant pain or start to lose sensation or control of any muscles, it’s time to call your doctor. Seek medical help immediately when you have an acute (new) injury.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc or have numbness/tingling into your arm, you will need a health care professional to guide you with your recovery. You’ll want to find someone that has strong manual therapy skills and training with myofascial tools like cupping, kinesiotaping or dry needling. You may benefit from traction techniques also. Your provider should also give you a home exercise program to do between sessions.
Don’t forget you are still fragile as you are healing. Go slow as you get back to normal activities even when you start to feel better or have less pain.
P.S. Ho. Ho. Ho. It’s time to Roll. Our favorite foam roller is 30% off this month. It’s like having a PT, Chiro, Massage Therapist in one and the closest we can get to sending our hands home with you. You can find it here*.
In our online program, HIP Camp™, we show you how to use the foam roller & more to help you reshape your body for better energy, mobility and posture. Learn more here.
For more stress management tips, download this Daily Planner to help you add 1-3 minute rest & relaxation breaks into your day.
DIY Self Care Book Resource for Neck Pain: McKenzie Method- Treat Your Own Neck. Available in English and Spanish. You can find it on Amazon or here.
For more for tips on having good form during workouts, refer to this Fit Blog.
For suggestions on how to build your rehab team, refer to this Fit Blog.
*denotes affiliate link
Ready to have some fun? Dust off your mat. It’s time to try the Baby Get Up.
Baby Get Up is one of our favorites for warming up your spine and turning on your core before a workout.
To be honest, I stole this exercise from Ender. His athletes all love it. But I've spiced it up for you.
Besides being a great prep for your workouts, it’ll give you some feedback on which side of your body is tighter and which side is less coordinated.
Remember we all have a difference between the right and left side of our bodies because of which hand is dominate and what we do all day.
As you do the Baby Get Up, which side is more clunky or feels harder to do? That’s the side that needs more reps or attention.
Before you try it, please read through everything below so you get the most out of it and stay safe.
Watch the video one time before you try it (it’s only 1.5 minutes). You’ll find some more details below the video on how to do it safely.
If you can’t even attempt it safely due to pain or tightness, you need to get yourself into HIP Camp™ to unlock your tight & tender spots using our favorite bodywork tools. It’s never too late to improve your mobility and strength, but you probably need some tools to help you.
OK, let’s do it. Watch the video then test it out.
HOW TO DO THE BABY GET UP
TIPS TO MODIFY THE BABY GET UP
You can modify by holding your knees as you rock, using your elbow on the floor as you rock, or make the rocking motion smaller.
EXERCISES TO DO AFTER THE BABY GET UP
If you love Pilates Mat Work, you could add on the following exercises after your Baby Get Up’s:
If you love resistance training, do some band work that targets your shoulder, core and hips after the Baby Get Ups.
If you love Yoga, do some Warrior Poses after the Baby Get Ups.
Lastly, Baby Get Ups are an excellent warm up for the old school Turkish Get Up Exercise.
If you can’t decide, do them all in the order I wrote them for an awesome core workout that targets and balances both sides of your body.
A few reps with good form of each exercise will improve your mobility, strength, and overall posture.
And if you’ve got kiddos, it’s a good one to show them.
Have fun with it!
Mollie (& Ender)
P.S. Want to reshape your body and have better mobility, posture and energy? Check out HIP Camp™.
Disclaimer: We do not provide medical advice. Always consult with your physician before starting a new fitness or wellness program.
Have you gotten clear on your ONE fitness goal for January 2020?
Does it include having more energy and less inflammation in your body?
Is 2020 the year you become a joyful & well-rested Wellness Warrior?
If so, we’ve put together a few NEW YEARS deals on our online bodywork camps to help you get started without burning yourself out.
They’ll help you take the first step to having more energy, ease & flow each day… by giving your body the gift of stretching and massage to release your tight & tender spots with less than 10 minutes of daily self-care (or what we call "stretch-care").
Both camps begin on January 6th.
At this time of year when there’s a ton of pressure to speed things up and change everything about your workouts and diet, we want to show you the benefits of slowing things down.
Let’s set you up for success by breaking the habit of going too hard, too fast. It’s THE recipe for inflammation, injury and burnout.
Instead let's calm your body with daily fascial stretch-care and bodywork tools so it has time to work its magic...to heal itself and get stronger.
Your body gets stronger at rest.
You can train smarter by resting harder whether it's to support your workouts or your wellness.
Our bodywork camps show you how easy it is to do this.
They lay the ground work for you to stay active, agile, & pain-free at any age.
It’s like when the flight attendant says to “put on your oxygen mask first.” Our camps are the "oxygen" for a strong, well-rested body & mind.
Our online bodywork camps are on special until December 31st. Choose the one that is the best fit for your body's needs right now.
GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR STRETCH-CARE:
If you’re a newbie to fascial stretch-care, our online MINI Bodywork Camp™ (How to Foam Roll & Massage for More Freedom & Flow) will help you get started with a simple daily foam roller routine. You'll learn how to use our favorite flexibility hack, foam roller massage, to calm your body for better mobility & stretch results- it’s 50% off for a limited time. Learn more.
GOING PRO WITH YOUR STRETCH-CARE:
If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into improving your mobility for better posture & faster recovery from workouts, you’ll want to check out the special we’ve got on HIP Camp™ (Stretch Care & Recovery Tools for the Mindful Athlete). It includes an AWESOME bonus holiday offer: The Pelvic Floor 5 Day Strength Challenge.
HIP Camp™ is our 4 week online base training program that will help you build a strong core with a well-rested body & mind. We'll walk you through our simple system to find & treat ALL your spots- the tight, tender, weak (& tired) spots to make lasting changes in your mobility & performance. You can get $150 off when you pay in full or we have a new payment plan option available with this special offer. Learn more.
It’s time to renew & refresh yourself in 2020.
Let’s do this!
Mollie & Ender
P.S. All holiday deals and bonus offers expire Tuesday, December 31st at 5pm CST.
The Pelvic Floor 5 Day Strength Challenge is a BONUS offer when you purchase HIP Camp™ by December 31st. It includes a pop-up Facebook Group for coaching & support beginning February 3rd. We’ll have daily challenges + office hours for questions, prizes, and cover strength, cardio, & clean eating exercises to improve the health of your pelvic floor & more. It’s the perfect compliment to HIP Camp™ trainings. Learn more about camp here.
Real quick, let’s do a body check.
How well are you moving without pain or stiffness?
Mobility is your ability to move without pain or restrictions during your daily activities.
So how are you doing with that?
Before you throw the age card out, here me as I gently call B.S. to that.
It's NOT a sign of healthy aging to wake up or end the day with a lot of tightness or soreness.
Healthy tissue doesn’t hurt. It isn’t tender to touch. It isn’t stiff. It doesn’t hurt when you move.
Inflammation, soreness and stiffness are signs of inflammation and over-training (or over-doing).
I know you go, go, go and never take a time out to allow your body to rest.
I see you...
Seriously, you may not be giving your body enough rest and recovery time between your workouts and activities.
Stiff, sore muscles are signs you need to slow down and work on your mobility.
Most people think about stretching as the way to better mobility.
We’re asked all the time what's the best way to stretch for this or that.
Yes, gentle stretching is a great way to work on your tight spots and improving your flexibility.
Going after your tight spots is one piece of the mobility puzzle.
But there's a flexibility hack you can do to maximize your stretch results.
It's a way to make lasting changes to your mobility, posture, and performance.
Want to get better results with less effort when you exercise?
Here's a cool fitness tip for you to test.
One of the best things I started doing a few years ago was planning my day around my body’s natural rhythms and peak times.
If you pay attention, you can figure out your peak times for exercise, work, and other activities.
Peak Time check in: When are you at your best?
One of the first steps to know your peak time for exercise is figuring out if you’re a lark or a night owl.
In the research, a LARK is defined as an EARLY RISER or what you might refer to as a morning person.
A NIGHT OWL is someone who naturally goes to bed at 1 or 2am.
The summer is a great time to figure out which one you are naturally especially if you’re on vacation.
When you don’t have an alarm clock, when do you naturally wake up or go to bed?
The goal is to exercise, train, or do physical activity when you’re at your peak time.
The best time for LARKS is to exercise is between 7am to midday.
And the best time for NIGHT OWLS to exercise is around 8pm.
Schedule your workouts or training at your peak time to perform better with less effort.
You’ll naturally have more energy during and after exercise plus it’ll be less depleting to your body overall.
I realize work and other commitments can interfere with your ability to do this all the time. Just do your best to block it off.
Be creative and mindful as you plan your workouts to see if you can shift any of your current activities to support your peak times.
Even if you do this 20% of the time, you’ll feel a huge difference in your energy and performance.
P.S. Download this free daily planner to help you pick out a few self-care & mini moves each morning. Your body will love them!
Do you wake up feeling well-rested and pain-free on most days?
Did you know that’s even possible?
Lots of clients tell us they’ve always been tight, are living with aches and pains, and assume they always will be.
Because that’s what happens when you get older, right?
You’re not destined to a life of stiff or sore muscles, slowing down, and eventually falling and breaking your hip.
Stiff joints, sore muscles, and fatigue are all signs of over-training (or over-doing) and not giving your body enough rest or recovery time between your workouts and activities.
Your body needs time to work its magic…to heal and repair itself.
Stiff, sore muscles are also signs you need to work on your mobility or flexibility.
The truth is…
You can win the battle against gravity, sitting, adhesions from old injuries, and the impact exercise has on your body’s flexibility as you age.
It’s possible even if you’ve never touched your toes.
It’s about technique and knowing what to target.
Once you know the fundamentals, you can see how easy they are to sprinkle into your day.
The pill-free way…
So, how can you stop struggling with stiff, sore muscles and fatigue?
You can stretch.
You know that thing you skip when you're trying to squeeze in a quick workout.
But, here's the deal.
Healthy tissue isn’t stiff. It’s elastic. Bungee cord like versus rope like.
Is that how you feel when you move right now?
If not, it’s OK because it’s never too late to improve your flexibility.
The first step…
Stretching is the first step to bringing the spring back into your tissue (after having good hydration and sleep habits).
And it doesn't take a lot of time when you know what to target and what to do before and after you stretch.
Just like we’ve evolved from flip phones to smart phones, we’ve made advances in stretching that’ll make a lasting impact on your flexibility and posture.
If you feel pain with stretching, you’ve gone too far…
There’s nothing more annoying than seeing an athlete on the sidelines getting his hamstring cranked on by a trainer. There is such a thing as over-stretching.
Bottom line: if you have pain with stretching, your body will tighten up more. The body’s response to pain is to protect, tighten up, guard.
And since you’re the best judge of what’s painful or not, you’re the one who should be the stretch “super star” of your body.
You can help your body stay active, agile, & pain-free at any age when you know # 1 thing to target with your stretching and how to stop over-stretching.
We’ll show you how in our FREE training, MINI MOVES: How to have more energy, ease, and flow in your workouts (& life).
In this free mini training series, you’ll learn:
READY TO BE ACTIVE & AGILE AT ANY AGE?
The technique we’ll share with you can benefit everyone. We’ve used it on clients with chronic neck or back pain to professional athletes.
Our pros always seem to achieve their personal best after a treatment (i.e. no hitter, new race time).
Are we promising you’ll become as flexible as a prima ballerina if you stretch daily? No, anatomy and genetics does play a role.
But it’s never too late to improve your flexibility…
if you’re willing to spend 10 minutes a day on simple self-care stretches and moves.
Let's get you stretching with (lasting) benefits!
Mollie & Ender
P.S. Sign up before 6/10/19 to get the free Mini Moves training – it's in 3 short parts (just like your stretch self-care can be) to help you feel better, move better, and ultimately live better.
Do you ever wish you had more energy to train?
Learning how to balance training with rest will not only boost your energy but improve your performance.
We grow at rest NOT by pushing harder. This includes growth in the areas of your strength, healing and energy both mentally and physically.
There are 3 easy steps to follow to make your own Recovery Training Plan that will increase your strength and energy while decreasing your overall stress level and your risk for injury.
If you missed our previous blog that shared the benefits of recovery plan, which types of recovery are best to improve performance, and how important it is to plan your training around a recovery day each week, you can find it here.
Which recovery techniques work best to help you recover faster from training? It depends!
You have to know your body, your sport, your work load, and emotional stress level to decide what’s most beneficial for you.
PRO TIP: The challenge is to feel good while getting stronger and more flexible!
Although there are a variety of tests used in research and some training facilities (i.e. jump test, blood tests- high levels of muscle enzyme creatinine kinase- delayed onset muscle soreness, questionnaires) to monitor recovery and post exercise fatigue, you don't need fancy tests or equipment to figure out what your body needs.
You just need to listen to your secret weapon- your body's signals- to help guide you.
We've created a Spring Training Recovery Guide (free download) to help walk you through a 3 step process to learn how to tune into the signals your body gives you each day to make your own recovery plan.
Take the pressure off of yourself and think of this as: a journey and an experiment. Fitness is about progress not perfection.
3 STEPS TO SET UP YOUR PERSONALIZED RECOVERY PLAN
*Get recommendations for managing symptoms in the free Recovery Guide and Planner.
3. TUNE IN:
BEFORE YOU BEGIN TESTING: GET TO KNOW YOUR BODY FIRST!
We recommend a Pre-Test to find your baselines for your resting heart rate, sleep, hydration, nutrition, fatigue and pain. This will give you something to compare to each day.
The Recovery Guide with Planner will walk you through getting your baselines. Once you’ve got your baselines, you can start testing recovery techniques.
WHERE SHOULD YOU START TESTING?
Sleep is #1 place for everyone to start no matter what sport, type of exercise you do, your age, or gender.
Sleep is when we produce the most growth hormone and when new information we’ve learned and memories are saved. It’s when we filter out the garbage as well.
Are you getting 7-9 hours of sleep consistently? If so, is it quality sleep? Do you feel rested when you wake up?
If not, this is where you should focus your energy initially.
PRO TIP: If you are experiencing frequent injuries or not making progress despite your best efforts, you may want to have your physician check your thyroid function. Also consider decreasing inflammation using recovery tools and diet modifications, increasing rest, and/or consulting with someone on your rehab/medical team.
OVER TO YOU:
Ready to get started? Download the Spring Training Recovery Guide with Planner and Daily Tracker to help you get stronger & have more energy without injury and overwhelm – it’s FREE!
Go Test, Train & Tune In!
Team Core Power
A strong foundation or “core” helps decrease your risk for injury, promotes good posture, and improves coordination and power during sports. It’ll help you walk, run, bike, row, and move better.
There are 3 key exercises you can add before or after a run to help you build a strong core and turn on your hip muscles:
THE BRIDGE, FRONT PLANK AND SIDE PLANK
Runner’s Core Sequence
BRIDGE AND MARCH:
Lay on your back with feet in line with hips. Lift hips evenly off floor into a bridge position. Press hands into floor, pull belly up and in as you lift a foot a few inches off the floor. Shoulders and neck relaxed. Keep hips level as you alternate lifting one leg off floor into a table top position like you are marching. Do 5-10 reps each leg.
FRONT PLANK ON ELBOWS:
Press your forearms down into the floor as you lift your hips and knees off the floor until they are lined up with your spine. Slide shoulders down toward your hips. Pull belly up and in and tuck your booty. Gaze at floor slightly in front of your hands. Feet are in line with your hips. Hold 10 seconds and breathe or alternate bending knees slightly while keeping spine/hips steady.
Lay on your right side with left leg slightly in front of right leg and inner thighs squeezing together. Press down through right forearm as you lift hips off floor a few inches. Your head, shoulders, spine and hips should be lined up once you lift off floor. Place your left hand on your hip. Pull your belly up and in. Squeeze your inner thighs. Hold 10 seconds and breathe. Repeat other side.
REPEAT THE ENTIRE CORE SEQUENCE 2 MORE TIMES
New to these exercises? Remember to:
1. MODIFY AS NEEDED
Bridge: you can start by just lifting your hips up and down and progress to foot off then to marching.
Planks: you can start them on the floor with your knees down and progress to knees off.
You shouldn’t begin these exercises if you are pregnant and new to them or have a recent injury. Consult your health care provider for guidance.
2. FOCUS ON FORM
During all movements, you want to:
3. THE GOAL
Add these 3 core exercises before or after your Running workouts 3 days a week. Overtime build your endurance to holding planks 30 seconds and 15 reps of bridge for 3 sets.
Got a running or workout buddy you think would enjoy these exercises? Please share this blog post with them.
Get Stronger, Run Longer!
Team Core Power
P.S. GO PRO TIP: Add the runner’s lunge stretch to open up, activate and reset your hips before or after your run.
You’ve done your research and found your Pilates studio and instructor. You're ready to take your first class but aren't sure which one to start with. Here are some things to consider before you sign up.
MAT OR EQUIPMENT CLASS?
Pilates exercises are performed on the mat and on equipment. The classical (“traditional”) exercises are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced exercises.
There are traditionally 34 Pilates mat exercises but many ways to modify them for your fitness needs and body type.
There are also 100’s of variations for each piece of Pilates equipment (Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Barrel or Spine Corrector as well as additional tools/props).
Keep in mind as you join classes that not every piece of equipment is appropriate for everyone all of the time.
Investing in an experienced instructor will not only help you build a strong foundation but teach you how to modify the exercises and guide you to the right equipment for your current fitness level.
When I started Pilates, I was rehabbing from a back injury so I spent a lot of time on the Barrel and Cadillac. As I healed, I added more exercises on the Reformer which requires more stability.
Ideally you'll learn both the mat and equipment exercises. Once you know the mat work, it can supplement your equipment workouts.
In order to prevent injury, you should always be encouraged to master beginner exercises before moving onto intermediate or advanced levels no matter your fitness level. Every exercise builds on itself.
Aim for 2-3 workouts a week when starting out.
You’re going to hear some common cues when you are taking a Pilates class. Let’s decode some of them.
Pilates Common Cues to Master
Stop and regroup if you lose your form during your workout. Watch that you’re moving symmetrically. Keep your hips and shoulders even. Make sure you’re not:
I know. It’s a lot to think about. That’s why Pilates is mind body exercise.
You have to be mindful while you do the movements otherwise you're just going through the motions and won’t see or feel changes in your body. The more you practice, the easier it is to focus on your form.
I recommend you learn to do a head to toe mental checklist while performing each exercise. I actually start at the feet and work my way up to the head during each movement to check that I’m in the correct position. Download this VIDEO to get the sequence I use.
Pilates is about quality not quantity. Low reps with good form and a variety of movements will make up a good workout session.
When you can coordinate your breath with the movement, you’ve most likely mastered that particular exercise. It’s the more challenging aspect of Pilates but also the most healing. The breath work is calming for your nervous system and gets your circulation going which helps keep your tissue healthy and release toxins.
In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body- Joseph Pilates
Pilates is an excellent form of exercise to build a strong foundation and a more balanced body but what you do outside the studio can have a bigger impact on your overall posture and performance.
Want to truly transform your body and take Pilates concepts and cues into your day, gym workouts, or running?
Download this free video on the HEAD TO TOE POSTURE CHECKLIST that I made to help you reset your posture (and identify some of your tight spots) throughout your daily activities.
P.S. Don't forget to share the HEAD TO TOE POSTURE CHECKLIST video download with your exercise buddies.
OK, you’re ready to transform your body with Pilates but not sure how to find a good class. Learning Pilates is like learning a new language. It’s going to be much more effective and beneficial if you go to a great teacher.
Since anyone can call themselves a Pilates Instructor these days, it’s good to know what to look for.
How do you find one? Here’s a secret… they’re usually hanging out at great Pilates studios.
First, if you’ve never stepped foot in a Pilates studio, don’t panic. The equipment can be intimidating at first glance and remind you a bit of a torture chamber but I promise it won’t feel that way.
Pilates equipment has springs that provide proprioceptive feedback to your fascia, muscles, and joints that can help “turn on” more efficient movement patterns. Your body and brain will love it so let’s find the perfect studio for you.
8 step checklist to finding a great Pilates studio:
Be aware if you're allowed to jump into a group class without a private session.
Most Pilates studios require 1-3 private sessions for new clients before you can join a group class not only for safety reasons but to get you the best results. This will also include new clients who have taken Pilates before as every studio and instructor’s teaching style is different.
Investing in a private session with an experienced Pilates Instructor is totally worth it.
Great Pilates instructors typically go to private sessions with an experienced instructor to get regular tune ups. Even though they know the exercises, there’s nothing like having someone’s expert eyes on you while you go through the movements.
Your Pilates Instructor doesn’t have to look like a ballerina but they need to know the exercises and be passionate about teaching them.
Anyone can teach the exercises but a great instructor will have the ability to design and adapt a workout for you based on how you walk in the door each session. They can take one look and go “OK we need to work on your shoulders today or your hips look tight, let’s do some barrel work.”
The great ones also have the ability to speak and cue you in a way that makes sense to you. If their cues aren’t clicking with you, they should be able to give you a different one so you can execute the movement properly.
If you’ve ever taken dance classes with a choreographer, this is similar to how it should feel during a Pilates workout with a great instructor. They will guide you through the movements.
Your instructor’s cues will help you make corrections, modify the exercises, and progress them as you get stronger. You're always learning in Pilates so it’s important to find a teacher that’s the right fit for you.
8 step checklist for finding the perfect Pilates Instructor:
It’s not about the burn…
The goal of a Pilates workout isn’t sore or burning muscles, sweat soaked workout clothes, or vomiting like in a boot camp. It’s about getting in a state of flow, a moving meditation, where you engage your mind and body in a coordinated, graceful way.
Yes you’ll feel taller after class but your body should also be “turned on” because you’re more grounded, centered, present, calm yet empowered and energized!
The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power- Joseph Pilates
It’s powerful stuff for sure. Once you’ve found your studio and instructor, you need to start learning the language of Pilates or “cues” you’ll hear in a Pilates workout. I’ll decode some of the more common ones in my next blog post.
Subscribe so you don’t miss out on the “Head to Toe Mental Pilates Checklist” to help you not only improve your posture in your Pilates class but also when you're running or playing your sport.
P.S. You can download a summary of the 8 step checklist to finding a great Pilates studio and instructor here.
Mollie Miller, PT