Pilates Builds Better Bodies!

Why Endurance Pilates is different from every other exercise regimen you have ever done!!

When I started teaching Pilates 20 years ago, I initially considered it just another fitness regimen to add to my repertoire of teaching tools.  I had no idea that this form of exercise would actually change my life, movement and entire physique, as well as allow me to assist countless others to do the same.  Today, I have a client list that includes professional athletes at the top of their game, elite professional dancers in the upper echelon of their companies and supermodels that are recognized world wide.  Folks that completely rely on their bodies to earn a living.  And, they choose Endurance Pilates as their go-to regimen.  As do thousands of other students with less public profiles!  In fact, we do our most important work on a completely volunteer basis with folks that have differing abilities- amputees, spinal cord injuries, MS, ALS, cancer patients and countless other situations that contribute to approximately 25% of our overall business.  Let’s take a peek at what makes Endurance Pilates and the Endurance method of teaching exercise different from any other sort of exercise you will ever do in your life!

Pilates is much more than just the choreography you may have tried at the gym or the reformer studio.  Joseph Pilates called his regimen Contrology and he sought to teach his students how to master the control of the muscles via the mind!  Admittedly, this spoke right to my Type A self when I was in my 20s!  Plus, Madonna did it and I had suffered from back pain my entire teenage life!  I was convinced at 17 years old that I could never have children because I had such intense back pain from any sort of movement.  From the moment I started Pilates, I have learned how to move and haven’t had back pain since my first class!  Our goal at Endurance is to educate our students as to the best, most efficient, calorie and fat burning manners of moving their bodies all of the time.  The work we do in the studio sculpts better physiques and builds our student’s bodies into phenomenal machines!  

We do so by:

1- Focusing on form

2- Correcting improper movement patterning

3- Ensuring that all movement is done with control and intention from the moment a student enters the studio

4- Helpful hands on and proper tactile advisement for the most informed teaching for all of our students

At Endurance, we have developed a system of teaching folks how to move well.  Our specialty training is extremely beneficial for all bodies- from professional athletes to folks recovering from severe and life-changing injuries.  We have a student who is a second year resident at MGH that we have worked with over the past few years.  She is living with Ehlers Danlos- a syndrome that causes hyper mobility in the joints.  We have worked diligently to teach her body to support itself with all of her stability muscles to the point where her body has become unconsciously competent at providing a suit of armor from within via her own muscles.  This has been very helpful to her as she puts in long hours in an environment where she needs to be 100% on the whole time- her patients lives depend upon her ease of movement and stability.  She has progressed from barely being able to tie her shoes to taking cycling classes most days of the week without fear of injury.

We also have the pleasure of working with several professional athletes.  During their off seasons, we do some major core work as each athlete recovers from the rigors of his professional career.  We seek to train the entire body in a perfect movement pattern so that he is able to resume the rigors of the his profession in the best possible condition.

Models LOVE working out with Pilates.  We work on posture and condition muscles to allow our models to be confident and strong.  With their already long and lean bodies, we work on putting just the right amount of muscle in all the right places- upper back, abs and glutes in particular.  We seek to lengthen the entire body and to ensure that every model is confident in her posture and her body,  Models depend on their bodies for a living and we make sure to account for this when putting their workouts together.Celeste0001Celeste0001Celeste0001Celeste0001

Effective Stretching

Why Pilates is the Safest and Most Effective Method of Stretching the Body 

Pilates is hands down the most effective, controlled and safe way to manage proper range of motion at all of the joints within a practitioner’s body.  Because Pilates is practiced with control and places strength behind the controlled movement into a stretch, it is an extremely effective way of managing the proper amount of flexibility within the body. Using a couple examples from traditional fitness, yoga and Pilates, we can see that the ability of the body to hold the shape of the stretch is imperative in the Pilates practice, while the stretch itself is more the focus in the other regimes.

 Let’s take a look at the Pilates Rollup, Seated Forward Fold yoga asana and a traditional hamstring seated stretch performed as a warm-up or cool-down post exercise. They may look very much the same, but the ways of entering the poses or exercises are very different as are the eventual outcomes. A little bit of abdominal control makes a lot of difference in a person’s physique and flexibility- the more strength, the better!

The Rollup from Classical Authentic Pilates 

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The Rollup is a basic Pilates Mat exercise that is actually very challenging to execute properly! Every moment of the exercise should be a full body movement, including the start position, lying down on the floor. By focusing on the abdominal control to move the spine and the torso, the Rollup teaches the body to move into and out of torso and spinal flexion with support, over time increasing the mobility in the back and at the hips and hamstrings with the proper amount of support from the abdominal muscles. No flinging or use of the shoulders and hip flexors to lift allowed! Let’s give it a try!

  • From supine (lying on your back) position: Stretch arms behind head, engaging all of the muscles in the body to lengthen along the mat. 
  • Lift the arms toward the ceiling, then the head, shoulders up between the frame of the arms. 
  • Reach the fingertips long toward the hips feeling the lats kick in to draw shoulders down and feel the entire length of the rectus abdominus kick in to lift the torso away from the mat, maintaining the spine in a long and lengthened c-curve. 
  • Continue to lengthen up and over the legs while pulling the belly back in opposition to the arms and legs reaching forward. 
  • Keep the abs in control as you lower the torso back to the mat pelvis first, maintaining the long c-curve of the spine and continuing to keep the abs engaged all the way back to the start position

Seated Forward Fold from Yoga (Paschomatiasana)

Beautiful woman practicing yoga, Seated forward bend pose, paschimottanasana

A seated forward fold is a traditional Hatha yoga posture or asana that appears in different places during a yoga sequence depending on the tradition. It is likely to follow a fairly lengthy movement sequence of vinyasa and standing postures which depend on the legs for movement and support. When a practitioner reaches the seated postures, many times it is an “ahh” moment of release without a focus on the strength to accomplish the stretch. The focus is on bringing the upper body toward the thighs, without mention of abdominal connection or support for the lower back and the hamstrings. For every movement, there is an opposing counter-movement. When the hamstrings and lower back are being stretched, the abdominals must be the opposing muscle group, otherwise, the newly found flexibility does not have a safe or stable base to provide support for the greater length at the joints and this can lead to injuries over time. A simple cue to pull the abdominals in and up could make the difference between a safe stretch for the back and hamstrings and overdoing the movement without the proper structure.  

To learn how to properly execute this pose step-by-step, check out this great “how to” article from Yoga Journal. 

Traditional Hamstring Stretch from post-Exercise

Fit fitness woman doing stretching exercises outdoors at park

In the 90’s, when I was training to be a Group Exercise instructor (prior to being introduced to the fitness world as a mainstream form of movement) we were instructed that “unsupported forward flexion of the torso was always contra-indicated” and should never be taught in an exercise class. Somewhere around the mid 90’s, the large certifying agencies changed their tune and informed us that yes; flexion was ok, as long as it was supported by the abdominals. I certainly applaud the effort to bring awareness that yes, the abdominals are the key to supporting the back, yet looking around at any group stretching pre- or post-run and some of the instruction was lost in translation! Nowadays, we see tucked pelvises, rounded and compressed spines all achieved in the process of reaching for the toes. Forget the toes, straighten the back and use the abdominals to safely reach the torso over the legs, creating length in the spine and when appropriate, a controlled flexion of the spine in order to create length through the vertebrae. By moving safely into the stretch, a student can create length through the entire back line of the body safely- hamstrings, calf muscles, back extensors and protect all of the moving parts into and out of the stretch! Use the abs to stretch your hamstrings and back!

Everybody’s Working for the Wedding

Wedding season is upon us! We know that you’re hard at work planning the wedding of your dreams, so why not let Endurance take care of getting you in the best shape of your life for the big walk down the aisle?

 

This month, Endurance will be participating in two amazing events aimed at making the wedding planning experience as stress-free as possible:

 

Boston Magazine’s Bubbly Brunch

Sunday, May 5th 11am-2pm

The Four Seasons Boston

 

Come meet the team at Boston Magazine’s first ever Bubbly Brunch! Enjoy a fabulous brunch, sip champagne, meet some of the city’s best wedding professionals and learn how Endurance can get you in tip top shape for your wedding day.

 

South End Bridal Block Party

Sunday, May 19th 11am-1pm

Endurance Pilates and Yoga

 

Endurance is excited to be hosting a free block party for all of our neighborhood brides & grooms. The event will begin and end with a free 30-minute intro to bridal boot camp class with the opportunity to network with some of the South Ends’ top wedding vendors. Space is limited, so be sure to register HERE.

 

Can’t make it to these events? You can still learn more about our amazing Wedding Boot Camps, available in 3-, 6,- or 12-month packages HERE or by contacting the studio at info@endurancepilates.com