Mari Winsor Beginner’s Pilates/Perfect Form Pilates

>> Hi, I'm Mari Windsor, and this is Lindsey LeGrande from my Santa Monica studio If you're new to Pilates, or you want to review Pilates principles, you're going to get some great tools to get the most out of your workout

First and foremost, Pilates exercise is developed around control; controlling the body, not flailing the arms and legs, but always knowing where your body is in time and space Now, this all controls from the powerhouse This is your control center, I like to call it So the ribs are part of it, the upper abs, the lower abs, into your butt cheeks even, a little bit, and the upper inner thighs So this is all your center of gravity

This is where you want to pull everything in and support the rest of the body for movement and stability So, Lindsey, please lie down on your back, and I'd like you to follow along with us Now, I want Lindsey — and you at home — I want you to just lift up your head Just go for it Yikes

That's a little — looks a little uncomfortable; let's see if we can straighten that out So part of your powerhouse, again, are your ribs So take your hands and place them on your ribcage I want you to take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, I want the ribs to pull down into your middle spine Try that again

Inhale — this should feel really good in itself — and exhale full down The deep breath is also really nice because it feeds warm air and oxygen to your muscles so that you can perform better Inhale and exhale Now, as you exhale, lift your head and shoulders up off the mat so you're completely supported by this part of your body Doesn't that feel better? Good

Alright, lower your head down Now, we're using the powerhouse there for stability So now we're going to use the powerhouse for movement So lengthen one leg out I want you to squeeze your inner thighs and your knees together

That's right You should feel your inner thighs a little bit when you do this; that's an extra added bonus for you today So take your hands on your tummy, and take a deep breath in and breathe out and pull the tummy in away from your hands Again, and inhale and pull the tummy in Now, try to keep your tummy tight and your ribs in as you lengthen the leg away from your center

So you're taking weight now away from your center So it's more challenging to hold your tummy in Again, lower the leg down just a little bit more — that's it — and lengthen it Think of the leg like an arrow coming out of your hip socket so you're always long coming from your powerhouse That's why people always say, "Gee, I feel taller after I do Pilates

" Hmm! Alright Now bring the leg up and bend the knee in Let's try the other leg You should feel your tummy working; you should feel the tightness in your tummy That's a good thing

Lengthen the leg down Ribs are in Lengthen it out like that arrow Come on, make that toe longer You can do it

Come on Longer That's it Now bring the leg up You have to work sometimes just that hard and just that precisely to get the great results from Pilates that it has to offer

So the first exercise that we always do in Pilates is the 100 Breathing in through your nose for a count of five, and out through your nose for a count of five, until we reach 100 Now, keep in mind that's a nice, smooth, deep breath, as the arms are pumping So you're going to actually pump your arms 100 times But your breathing is smooth for five counts and exhale for five counts

If you have sinus trouble, you can always breathe through your mouth, but make sure that it's a smooth breath, and not like a little choo-choo breath, okay? Nice and long and smooth, alright? So with the 100, let's pull the ribs in and lift up your head with that exhale, and let's bring the knees into your chest by pulling your tummy down a little bit more So we're using that whole powerhouse Now, reach with your arms and start to pump your arms and inhale smoothly, exhale smoothly Good, that's it Now, if your neck does get a little tired, you can go ahead and put it down at this time

We don't want to make the muscles tight, but we do want to strengthen muscles that are weak in the body Pilates will always strengthen your muscles that are a little weak in the body, alright? So you can always just test the waters, lift up your head again and test it out, see how long you can keep it up the next time, right? Now, keeping the tummy pulled in and the arms long and the shoulders down, you want to lift your legs up Good See if you can rotate your legs in a Pilates first position where the heels are together and the toes are apart Squeezing the heels will get your inner thighs and your buttocks activated

It's an extra added bonus Now you can lower your head down and bring your knees into your chest That's a lot of information, but it's important information, and that information stays stable It stays constant It doesn't change

It's always the same You can always work deeper in your powerhouse; if you think you're pulling your tummy in, try another inch Give yourself a little challenge Try to motivate yourself and you'll be amazed at the results you get Okay, take your hands on your legs, chin to your chest, ribs in, and walk your hands up to your knees

With control, right? She's controlling from her powerhouse So your back is curved, your tummy's pulled in Her elbows are bent; you're doing the same thing at home to test out the waters here So pull the tummy in and squeeze the buttocks and lean back until the arms are straight Hold the tummy in a little bit deeper and come up

So we're using the powerhouse to create a curve in the spine, yes? And lean back We call this the C-curve because it resembles the letter C Pull the tummy in and come up Try to squeeze your inner thighs together and tighten up your buttocks a little bit too; that will help you get deeper into these muscles That's your job

This will prepare you for other things that we do after Now stretch your legs out in front of you, and let's talk about a straight back What is a straight back? So flex your feet, reach your arms out in front of you like you're sleepwalking, and give me what you feel a straight back is It's difficult to assess because you can't see it, but let me see if I can give you some tips to help you get there Now, as you can see, Lindsey does not have a straight back

So I want you to squeeze your butt cheeks together, and see how that lengthens your waist a little bit; it's like magic, and it pulls you right up It's beautiful You don't want to stick your ribs out too much because that will make your back arch You want to be in control of your body at all times, alright? Really reaching with the arms Now we're going to go into that beautiful C-curve again, pulling your tummy in and reaching with the arms

Exhale as you go Inhale, sit up tall A lot of the breathing is designed to increase the capacity of your lungs So exhale with the movement and exhale down Good

Reaching long with your arms Now, articulate the spine, stack the vertebra up as you roll up, you can actually see that She's got a nice tall torso Let's try that one more time Exhale down

Good This is articulation of the spine from the powerhouse Roll up You would do that by pulling the tummy in and squeezing the buttocks together a little bit Very good

Did you feel that at home? That's it; good So let's turn over on the tummy A lot of times when we arch the back, people either over-arch or pull into their shoulders too much, and they don't use their buttocks to support their lower back, alright? So let's look at that first Squeeze your butt cheeks together and just feel — you can see on Lindsey how that lengthens her lower spine and automatically pulls her tummy in Automatically activates her whole powerhouse

So she's going to keep that Her hands are slightly out in front of her, elbows are bent Now just lift up your head A lot of people think, "I'm going to lift up my head and arch my upper back" That's not — that looks uncomfortable doesn't it? You're uncomfortable at home, too, I'm sure

So let's try it a different way, shall we? Pull your tummy in, squeezing the buttocks, lift up your torso Let the powerhouse lift you up You can go to bent elbows that might be enough for you Lengthening the neck Now, if you want to go a little bit further, you can simply straighten your arms, lift your heart — I like to say — to the ceiling, and let your focus go to see where the heart went

So that gives you a nice lift without scrunching your neck back That's not a good place to be Good Lower down, squeeze with control Notice how she's moving always with control

Now, push yourself back to what we call, in Pilates, a little piece of heaven If you're familiar with Yoga, this is also known as Child's Pose It's a wonderful way to relieve tension and stress in your lower back If this is tough on your knees, you can simply take a pillow, lift up your seat and that will give you a little bit of cushion so your knees aren't bent so much, alright? So there always are things that we can do to modify exercises so that you can build strength and get more advanced and get better results So you can go ahead and sit up; that was a great job

Thank you for demonstrating for us, Lindsey That was beautiful If you follow these basic Pilates principles, you're going to get some fabulous results: stability, lengthening the muscles, you're going to get long, toned muscles, just like a dancer's body, which is what people love You're going to feel taller, you're going to feel more graceful But you have to have control of the body, control from the powerhouse

Those two things are really important for you to get the best results And you know I want you to get those results

Source: Youtube

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