Fitness Expert’s Tip of the Month – August

Basic Pilates Principles

In order to get the most out of your Pilates workout remember that each movement incorporates at least one if not several principles of Pilates that makes Pilates unique. Learn these principles and they will assist your practice.

1) Awareness and Concentration – In order for Pilates movements to be effective, one must concentrate on the actions being preformed. Mindfulness and awareness are the keys to understanding where your body is in space.

2) Breath control- Breathing is synonymous with life and with movement. It is all-encompassing; the link between body, mind and soul. Remember to inhale through the nose and use a forced exhale through the mouth, emptying out the rib cage and belly. Make sure to open your mouth in order to relax your jaw every time you exhale. Breathe is the fuel for what Joseph Pilates called the powerhouse- the engine that drives the movement.

3) Spinal Elongation – The longest length between the tail bone and the crown of the head. Begin by creating a sense of space between your torso and your pelvis, as if to separate your hip bone from your lowest rib.

4) Shoulder Organization- Begin to open the chest and back simultaneously by moving the tips of the shoulders to the outside walls without squeezing your shoulder blades together. The goal is to create an equal sense of space in both the front and back side of the body.

5) Pelvic Scoop- One of the biggest differences between Pilates and other ‘core based” workouts is the understanding of actual core control. To practice this, lay on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet and knees hip distance apart with your toes pointing forward. Create length through your spine and width through your chest. Begin the scoop by engaging your Kegel muscles (Kegel muscles are the muscles of your pelvic floor. To find them stop the flow of urine and then release the contraction. The Kegel muscles are in charge of creating the contraction.) Draw your belly button towards your spine, and exhale in order to funnel your rib cage close together. As you perform these actions tilt your pubic bone slightly up towards the sky and create a scoop in the area between your belly button and pubic bone, while maintaining low back contact with the floor. This scoop will assist in creating control through your belly and a contraction in your abs as well as initiate muscles to begin working in your lower back.

6) Precision, Control and Fluidity– ALL Pilates movements should be executed with a sense of rhythm, precision and control. Your movements should always be preformed at a pace and size that works best for your level of experience and alignment. You want the movements to feel precise and tightly preformed rather than large and sloppy.

For more information on Pilates please contact Amy at:

~Amy Lademann
Fitness Expert, Campus Calm

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