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How to Stretch , Issue #14
March 07, 2013


Thank you for joining me. Together, we can enjoy our pilates exercises with increasing understanding about what our bodies need.
This month : All about Core Strength -

1. Information about the importance of doing core exercises
2. The Benefits
3. The best Core Exercises
4. Core strength video + pelvic floor exercises video.
5. Celebrity Spotlight

The Importance of having Core Strength

Firstly, I would like to offer you my sincerest apologies for not sending newsletters in the past few months. Life has been chaotic in so many ways from moving house to massive issues with Google in relation to my website. I hope I am forgiven, and you havn't forgotten your Pilates Newsletter.

For this month's issue, I want to concentrate on Core Strength. The core we refer to, is your torso - from tope of your neck to base of spine, and all muscles in and around the area. Core muscles not only include "the six pack", but also layers of abdominal muscles that wrap around your torso, pelvic floor muscles and back muscles.

If you're interested, these muscles include: the rectus abdominal, transverse abdominal, the pelvic floor, back muscles and abdominal obliques. All these muscles are very important - most back pain can be attributed to weak abdominal and back muscles.

Benefits of doing Core Exercise

The benefits of a strong core are many. Apart from acquiring a more shapely figure you'll develop better posture, balance and more confidence to walk tall. Lower back and neck problems will be alleviated, plus, if you include pelvic floor exercises, you'll benefit in ways too numerous to mention (check out the video section below).

How do I do Core Exercises

The first abdominal exercise will work your oblique muscles which wrap around the abdominal area as a corset would. These muscles work (are engaged) when you twist and bend sideways. All these exercises are done on the floor.

The crux of this one is to lift the left shoulder towards the right knee, bring them together (as in this pic), and then the other way - right shoulder towards left knee. Breathing is inhale in the first movement, and exhale in the next.
The second exercise, and quintessential pilates core exercise is the "Hundreds". Hold this position at left, and pump arms up and down slowly. Inhale for 2 breaths and exhale for 2. Try to lift as much of the upper back off the floor as you can.
The third exercise that I would like to tell you about is the "Single Leg Stretch". In this position, stretch out the left leg, placing both hands on the right bent knee. Then change the position to the opposite, with both hands on the left knee, and stretch out the right leg.

How to Engage Abdominal Muscles

The transverse abdominal muscles wrap around your body like a girdle. Although some evidence suggests that these muscles are automatically engaged before exercise, pilates methods encourage you to learn how to "turn on" those muscles during exercise.
There are 2 ways of doing this:
1. Imagine a small zip from the navel to the pubis bone and "zip it up" on the EXHALED BREATH.

2. The second way to engage abdominals, is to do a pelvic floor contraction. The pelvic floor pays an extremely important rol in the strength of our abdominals. Pretty amazing?

These exercises are much neglected in fitness routines. Did you know that when you do these exercises you are involving not only the pelvic floor, but many other abdominal and lower back muscles. It's so very important to do them - no matter how old you are. Click here at: Pelvic Floor Technique VIDEO you, will find a 2 minute video and a PDF file to download with full instructions.

Stand Tall with a Strong Back

We not only need to strengthen the front of our bodies, but also our back muscles. You'll find the best 3 back exercises in the short 3 minutes VIDEO at: Lower Back Exercises.

Joseph Pilates was fond of saying that you are only as old as your spine, so quit slouching.

This Months Videos

In case you missed the Videos above, here are the links again:

For PELVIC FLOOR VIDEO + PDF FREE DOWNLOAD, to to: Click Pelvic Floor Technique

For LOWER BACK EXERCISES, click: Lower Back

Our Celebrity Spotlight

Read all about how our celebrities managed to to keep toned and flexible during 2011 with fitness strategies. These profiles will get you going for the year ahead.
This month, celetrity fitness trainer, Ann Pelino demonstrates exercises Hollywood actresses such as Cameron Diaz, Megan Fox and Reese Witherspoon love to do.


Til next month,
Good luck and all the best,

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