Stretch it out!

Written by: Kayte Corrigan

Sometimes after class we need a little special attention on specific tight areas. There is always 10mins or more before each class at HIP. If you have a couple minutes after class you are welcome (and encouraged) to use the reformer to get in some extra stretches. Please ask your instructor for further explanation on any of the following. There are also foam rollers in the specialty room for you to use as well. Don’t be shy!

Stretching is an important part of working out. It increases blood flow and circulation as well as increasing flexibility and keeping your body even on both sides for good posture. Make sure to breathe through each stretch to get good blood flow to the muscle.

Stag – Use this stretch for hamstrings, groin and quadriceps. With two heavy springs, lay back, feet in straps. Extend the legs on a diagonal. Keeping the heels together, bend the knees into a froggy, but don’t let the knees come in past the hips. Extend the right leg out to the side then turn the left toe down the floor, letting it hang off the side of the machine. Bend the left leg deeper to increase the stretch in both legs. Stay for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.

Leg circles – A great hip opener. With 2 heavy springs lay back on the carriage with your feet in the straps. Legs extended above the hips, heels together laterally rotating from the hips. Lower the legs down to the diagonal. Exhale open your legs out to the sides, surrendering the weight of the legs to the straps as you circle both legs to close at the top to the ceiling. Repeat as needed and then reverse the direction of the circle.

Single thigh stretch – This is especially good for tight hip flexors occurring in people whose occupation keeps them at a desk. Start with the footbar one lower from the top forward with 2 heavy springs. Facing the footbar lunge with the right knee on the carriage, foot against the shoulder rest and the left with the ball of the foot on the foot bar, knee bent over the ankle. Sitting up straight, frame your foot with your hands on the footbar. Exhale and press back with the right foot against the shoulder block extending through the hip then extend the left leg pressing into the footbar. Inhale to bend the left leg in. Repeat as needed and switch to the other side.

HIP Pilates Mind/Body: Wrist Placement

Written by: Kayte Corrigan

Some exercises on the HIP Pilates reformer may strain the wrists, but that doesn’t mean they’re weak.

Anytime you support with your arms, like in plank, hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width, with fingers facing front. Check in with the inner crease of your elbows, which way are they facing? Ideally, they are turned forward, looking away from your body.

With your inner elbows facing forward, the shoulders rotate into the back and away from your ears. This is correct placement for your shoulders. Improper shoulder placement may cause an excess load on the wrist joint. Practicing correct placement of the shoulders will not only take pressure off your wrists but also strengthen the shoulder stabilizers.

Next, check in with your core. Engaging the abs, obliques, inner thighs, and glutes also lifts a bit of weight off your wrists. Keeping the core connected in all exercises also strengthens these stabilizers. And who doesn’t want to tighten those muscles?

If you have a wrist injury or carpal tunnel, your wrists will probably hurt in these positions. Always modify, but if you can, try to practice correct placement a little bit at a time to strengthen the wrists. With proper placement, you may feel a difference.

HIP Pilates

For more on this: http://www.merrithew.com/newsletter/august-2012-newsletter/ask-the-expert