I'm sure you've heard of them .... perhaps you've been told that you ought to be doing them ... but do you actually know what they are???
Kegel exercises will help to keep your pelvic floor healthy and fit for purpose. If you have a pelvic floor that's not 'fit for purpose', you will soon know about it!
The Pelvic Floor is basically a hammock of muscles that hold your 'gubbins' up ... by that, I mean your internal organs in the pelvic/abdominal cavity - womb, bladder, intestines, bowel etc etc. Faulty or weak pelvic floor can lead to prolapses and continence issues and it's especially important to pay some attention to your PF after you've had a baby! It's never too late to start ...
Here's a little rundown on how to do them. You can practice your Kegels, up to 3 times a day
You can do these standing or sitting but please make sure you have good posture, Take a few breaths to relax through the body before starting:
Type 1 (slow for stability)
Slowly draw up the muscles around the back passage and then bring that drawing up sensation to the front passage muscles.
You will draw both these muscle groups up, to the top of the contraction and then hold for a count of 6-10 .. make sure you are still breathing throughout.
Release the pelvic floor (PF) muscles, take a breath or two and repeat another 4-9 times. (build up your repetitions so you don’t ‘overwork’ your PF to start with)
Type 2 (fast for continence issues)
Draw up both front and back passage PF muscles at the same time – quickly to the top of the contraction in one go!
Hold for a single breath and then release both gently.
Again, repeat this 4-9 times, building up your repetitions over time.
Sometimes it's a good idea to create a habit based on an existing habit. So, for example, you could do a set of Kegel exercises while you're waiting for the kettle to boil every morning .... or do them whilst brushing your teeth ... or whilst waiting for the bus .... the best thing is, no one will be able to tell you're doing them .... unless you grimace as you do them!!
Hi all - just a quick blog post to announce a new class for the New Year 2019!!
Due to popular demand, I've decided to extend my Wednesday evenings in Bodicote and offer a second mixed ability Pilates class at 6.35pm for an hour.
This class, like all my others, is suitable for any level as the exercises are offered in layers - you can work at the level that suits you.
It should be noted that with Pilates, it's really important that you maintain good alignment: you don’t want to work at too high a level so you lose good form.
By keeping class sizes to 12 max, I can help you with the finer elements of Pilates. I will be there to demo the exercises and help you with your alignment.
Anyway, back to the point - NEW CLASS for 2019!!! yay!
Please get in touch if you need any more info or if you want to sign up!
hope to see you in 2019
Here it is ... your 40 minute whole body Pilates workout to tide you over the summer weeks while classes aren't running ...
Click the picture below to go to youtube to see the video ... enjoy!!!
Oh BTW, the location is my lovely Garden Pilates Studio that is now available for 1-2-1 and duet sessions (starting September) - great for beginners & improvers alike. Please get in touch for more info ... pre and post natal also due to start in September!!
"Maintain a strong centre..."
"Engage your core..."
"Use your Powerhouse ..."
All references to your 'centre', 'powerhouse' or 'core' usually mean the same thing ..... your abdominal cavity!
Imagine your abdominal cavity as a cylinder with your pelvic floor at the bottom, your diaphragm at the top and the Transverse Abdominus (and some back muscles) as the side of the cylinder: this is your 'centre', 'powerhouse' or 'core'.
When you engage the pelvic floor and your transverse abdominals (TVA), this increases the pressure in the 'cylinder' which stabilises your torso, protecting your spine in it's neutral alignment. Good alignment includes the neutral spine (not over arching or flattening in the lumbar area) with your ribs stacked on top. If you arch your back, you will notice your ribcage flaring out forwards ... if this happens, soften your rib cage so the front of your ribs line up more with the hip bones.
With this neutral alignment, when you mobilise (move) the shoulder and/or hip joints, those mobilising muscles and your deep core muscles will be strengthened, but at the same time, protecting your back from strain or injury.
So when your teacher tells you to 'maintain a strong centre' or 'stabilise your core' during an exercise, they're reminding you to:
If you cannot maintain a 'stable core' or your back is arching away from the mat, you should drop the exercise down a level - e.g.: if you have both legs in table top but you find your back is arching, work with one foot flat on the mat and just one leg in table top at a time. You will be able to build up your abdominal strength in time and then you will be able to progress.
Please feel free to comment on this blog post. Are there are any particular pilates cues that you don't understand what they mean exactly ...? Don't scratch your head, let me know and I'll try to do a breakdown.
No excuses!! Here's how to practice your Pilates Breathing right now, whilst you're sitting at your computer looking at this blog post!
This is Pilates Breathing .... even just a couple of minutes a day and you should feel that you've improved your posture, strengthened your abdominals, massaged your insides, oxygenated your body, reduced stress levels and cleared your mind.
So, I've been away on a course for Pilates with small equipment! Small equipment means the 7" ball, pilates ring, theraband and foam roller.
My favourite is still the ball - no euphemism intended!
With the ball, you can modify certain exercises to make them more achievable whilst you're building up strength, or, if you've mastered that particular exercise, the ball can add an extra challenge by increasing the instability so you have to work harder.
For example: The upper body curl up can be difficult for some, especially at the beginning when you are building up your strength. A ball just between the shoulder blades supports your upper body, you'll still be working those abs and neck flexors but to a lesser degree .... then, when you're stronger, you can take the ball away.
If you're after more of a challenge with the semi supine core strengtheners, you can put the ball just under your sacrum to increase the instability whilst you do the exercise as normal. Your stabilising muscles will be working overtime!!!
I also use the band a lot in my classes - this can help with body awareness, add resistance or give aid where a bit of support may be needed.
For example: The spine twist with wide arms can be a challenge to do correctly. Often, the forward arm will come across the body without you even realising it! If you hold the band in both hands, so it rests across your chest,, you will be more aware when you bring that arm forward as the band will come away from your chest ... and this helps you build good body awareness.
That's the beauty of Pilates - each and every exercise can be adapted to YOU!
If you need to build up strength, then there is a variation or modification to help you do the exercise at your level and then, when you're ready, you will be able to progress through the more challenging levels at your own pace.
Come and give Pilates a go ... your body will be glad you did :-)
So my first blog post is to let you know that I now have a youtube video channel ..... woo hoo!
It all started when I invited a whole load of friends over for a local festival that was being held in a couple of months time. Having made that decision, I then decided that I really needed to change my very messy 'office' into the spare bedroom it was supposed to be in order to host them all. That lead to me emptying the room and then deciding, whilst it's empty, why not redecorate!!! So I now had a freshly decorated, lovely EMPTY room and it just seemed a shame not to take advantage and create some video .... hence my youtube channel was born!
This is pretty much the story of my life ... one thing always leads to another. BTW I did the wallpapering myself too ... very pleased that it's still up!
Anyway, I do hope you find the videos of interest .... enjoy and I'd love to hear your feedback.
Click below to go to my YouTube channel now.
Level 3 Mat Pilates Instructor.