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The Crunch: 5 ‘Get Specific’ Tips to Get Better Results


What is the most effective core exercise?  It is easy to be bombarded with the “best core workout” claims but in the end effective core work comes down to the specifics of how you are performing the exercise more than the exercise itself. Choose an exercise, perform it with precision and control and that will stand a much better chance of giving you the results you are after. [clickToTweet tweet=”Choose an exercise, perform it with precision and control @edenpilates #pilates #workout” quote=”Choose an exercise, perform it with precision and control!”]

So with this in mind.  Here are a few tips on how to do a safer, more effective abdominal curl.

Get Your Position Right  If you are keeping your feet on the ground keep your pelvis neutral, meaning keep a natural space behind your lower back.  This is smaller than you might think.  It involves the bottom 5 vertebrae of your spine and no more than that.  In order to make sure your haven’t exaggerated your neutral position make sure you feel the bottom back of your rib cage staying gently connected with the mat at all times.  Elbows in line with your temples, not forced open.  Performing the exercise with good alignment helps to ensure the right muscles are working and that those muscles are working as effectively as possible.  You will get better results, faster!

Activate The Inside First.  Before beginning your curl think of lifting up from the base of your pelvis while simultaneously sinking just above your pubic bone.  This action “turns on” your pelvic floor (kegels) and transversus (deepest layer of abdominal) muscles .  These muscles work together to play a large role in stabilizing your spine so activating and strengthening them  improves back pain and helps to prevent injury.  It is also the combo action of the pelvic floor and transversus that work to shrink your waistline and flatten your stomach because they contract inward when used properly. They don’t always activate automatically though!  Most people need to engage them before the movement begins to ensure they are working at all!

Let the Abs Lead Let your abdominal muscles be what carry you through the movement.  Think of them being what pull your head and shoulders off the mat and what resists as you lower back to it.  Try not to use you neck or your legs to assist the movement.  Keep the exercise isolated to abs alone.  This retrains muscles that shouldn’t work, to relax and keeps the work where it needs to be (in your core).  Isolating the abs by trying to let go of anything else that wants to assist forces your abdominal muscles to work as hard as they can so you are getting the most out of each rep thereby making your workout much more effective.

Use Your Breath to Lead You Deeper  Start your breath out a moment before you move.  Your exhale helps your core activate.  Follow this flow: 1. Breath leads to abs 2. abs lead to movement  While you are flexed up use a deep inhale to challenge your abs further.  Think of the bottom of your rib cage opening 3 dimensionally as you stay flexed up and keep your abs working (not popping out).  Breathing in while you stay flexed up teaches your abs to stay engaged while you breathe.  Your body learns how to keep the abs strong at all times even when you aren’t thinking about it.  Consistent abdominal support is integral to lower back pain recovery and injury prevention and  feeling like your stomach is strong day-to-day feels fantastic.

Pay Attention to ‘the How’  Work slowly and methodically.  Don’t let momentum carry you from one rep to the next. Remember it’s not just about using your abs it’s HOW you are using them that really counts.  Think of contracting inward and flattening them as you workout not just contracting them any way they want to.  Training your abs to flatten during the exercise, not push out, works your core right down to the deepest of abdominal layers.  Working your muscles this way consistently is what will give you the results you are after.

Following these simple steps will help you get the most out of every rep you do.



What is Pilates and Why Should I Be Doing It?


Joseph Pilates originally developed his unique system of exercises in the 1920’s. Self-educated in various health disciplines, he came to see that a new method was needed that would balance the body, strengthen the core and contribute to mental and physical health in a holistic way. Since its humble beginnings and hand-built bedspring prototypes, Pilates has been developed and refined into a sophisticated, science-based series of floor exercises and state-of-the-art resistance equipment.

Pilates is a full body exercise and rebalancing technique that focuses on the core being the center and guiding point of all movement. It is a great workout, but that is only the beginning! With Pilates, exercise becomes a body metamorphosis program; retraining your body to move from its centre and in complete balance. Moving from the centre is vitally important in exercise as it creates an equilibrium that allows all limbs and muscles to be utilized in balance, resulting in a stronger, pain-free body.

During a Pilates workout, attention is placed on the connection between breath and movement, and because of this it is often compared to Yoga. Although the two disciplines do share certain aspects of their philosophies and work well together as adjuncts, considering Pilates and Yoga to be one and the same would be inaccurate. The Pilates exercise system favours movement and the building of long lean muscle, whereas Yoga focuses on held postures and the passive stretching of the body. In fact, Pilates is generally considered to bridge the gap between Yoga and conventional Strength Training. While bicep curls, triceps extensions and leg presses are integral parts of our movement vocabulary, Pilates’ spring resistance equipment and the completely unique system of isometric exercises puts that training in a completely different light. Pilates works to develop a strong yet flexible body with movements that utilize lengthening muscle contractions – not muscle bulking.

Talented Pilates instructors are also able to customize classes to individual needs, not only appealing to all different types of fitness enthusiasts, but proving highly valuable in rehabilitation therapy. In short, whatever your fitness level, your specific limitations or requirements, or simply what type of exercise you prefer, Pilates is for you.

Pilates is exercise that inspires people to achieve levels of personal health that redefine traditional ideas of fitness. It utilizes six key principles designed to strengthen coordination, alignment, and balance for well-rounded achievements in health. Concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing are all areas of focus prepared to fortify one’s physical and mental health as one unified entity. In order to achieve our potential as healthy human beings, we must also look introspectively into the strengths we garner throughout our everyday lives. Pilates helps unify these inner and outer forces to develop fitness as a lifestyle, instead of simply an activity you feel obligated to perform. An experienced, detail oriented instructor can help guide you in mastering control over all aspects of your body and in doing so, conditioning your ability to find internal strengths you never even knew you were capable of.

Not only is it an exercise system that can help you get stronger and lose weight, it can make unexpected changes in your everyday life.  Clients find that their common aches and pains melt away, that they have the confidence to walk to work, or take the stairs, or train for a marathon; they generally discover sources of strength and vitality they were previously unaware of.

peace of mind

self motivation

team spirit

strive for balance

fight for greatness

growth as an individual

faith that you can achieve anything you desire

need for adventure

liberated spirit