Pilates for Golf

Posted by on Sep 3, 2011 in Maui News | 0 comments

Pilates for Golf

Pilates for Golf

Article 1.3
August 2008 Maui Hawaii

Golfers Pilates

Golfers are finally catching on to the diverse benefits of the best exercise program for both athletes and the recreational sports enthusiasts. Tiger Woods, probably the greatest golfer of all time; David Duvall (a Major winner on the PGA Tour); Rich Beam (winner of the PGA Championship 2002); are doing Pilates. Our Olympic athletics’ are doing Pilates. How and why does this anatomical and biomechanical based exercise, Pilates, improve sports performance? Research has found Pilates exercises train the best known physical performance factors: Posture, Balance, Mobility/Flexibility, Stability, Coordination, Functional Strength and Endurance. These skills are essential for golfers and correct daily function.

STOTT PILATES ™ is based on research conducted by orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists world wide. This medically researched anatomical and biomechanical based Pilates curriculum is designed perfectly to enhance athletic performance. The basis of this program is to retrain correct body alignment with correct muscle recruitment using breath control. If all these factors are in place movement becomes stronger, more effective with greater speed, endurance and accuracy.

Research indicates that one of the major sources of back pain is inefficient muscle recruitment. The deep core muscles close to the joint that should fire first to protect and stabilize the joint fire too late. This incorrect firing pattern leads to the superficial muscles firing first moving an unstable joint. Superficial muscles aren’t supposed to fire first. They are not designed to protect the joint position. Superficial muscles are to be used to move the joint once it is stable. Moving joints with the wrong firing patterns of muscles can lead to injury, lack of performance, obscures accuracy, loses speed and weakens endurance. Pilates exercises done correctly can help the golfer re-program the timing of muscular firing patterns and enhance motor control.

Therefore, when training a golfer the STOTT PILATES ™ approach begins with 5 basic alignment principles and applies this to all the exercises thus, making correct movement patterns. It is then the job of the golf pro to teach the golfer the correct and precise movement for the perfect golf swing and score. Pilates movement exercises do not replace the practice and professional teaching of any specific sport especially the complex game of golf.

Our Golf program starts with the Footwork on the Reformer. Strong foot alignment leads to correct foot placement and is critical for the golf swing. Footwork is also done on unstable surfaces to face the challenges of sloping contours on golf courses. We teach correct spinal rotation using the essential core muscles between vertebrae. Strengthening exercises for correct spinal extension and flexion are a very important part to golf movements and a big part of our exercise program. We have a major focus on strengthening knee joints for golfers. Proper shoulder muscle recruitment is carefully taught at our STOTT PILATES ™ studio.

Teaming up with a professionally trained Pilates Instructor and your favorite Golf Pro is a winning combination. Let us make your golf game the best it can be.

Movement for Weight Loss

Posted by on Sep 3, 2011 in Health Tips | 2 comments

Movement for Weight Loss

Movement for Weight Loss

Article 1.4
January 2009 Maui Hawaii

Movement for Weight Loss

Accomplish your New Years resolution to loose weight. Simple breathing and movements are all it takes. Read on to find out why.

1st the Krebs cycle
A series of chemical reactions that occur in most aerobic organisms and are part of the process of aerobic cell metabolism, by which glucose and other molecules are broken down in the presence of OXYGEN into carbon dioxide and water to release chemical energy in the form of ATP. The Krebs cycle is the intermediate stage, occurring between glycolysis and phosphorylation, and results in the enzymatic breaking down, rearranging, and recombination of byproducts of glycolysis. The combination of glycolysis and the Krebs cycle ultimately allows 36 ATP molecules to be produced from the energy contained in one molecule of glucose and six molecules of oxygen. Also called citric acid cycle.

What’s all this have to do with your weight loss program? Plenty! As is food, Oxygen is fuel for your body. There are no calories in oxygen. You can breathe in all you want for as long as you want and still no calories! Not only that, but the extra oxygen you take in while using breath control while moving will cause the chemical reactions in your body, see Krebs cycle definition above, to take place faster. Simply put, the breath and movement combo makes the metabolism speed up. This makes you burn more fat and calories.

Yoga postures done correctly with breath can be a gentle form of movement for weight loss. And there are more possible benefits to your Yoga program in addition to weight loss. From the Eastern healthy living approach following gentle yoga postures may stimulate the lymphatic and endocrine systems of our bodies. As these two systems function in a healthy state over a period of time, these two complex systems of our bodies will promote weight management. Weight loss can be achieved when we factor the direct relationship of breath, combined with movement for burning calories, and a simple and pain free Yoga posture routine. This makes simple sense.

Along with Yoga, Pilates exercises emphasis breath. You not only get the added benefits of extra oxygen intake, but you are also aligning your body correctly. Many of us see this as “good posture”. When we see someone standing tall with assured and fluid movement they appear more fit, thinner and more confident. When our posture or body alignment is correct all the core muscles can work more efficiently from the pelvic floor to the diaphragm. Internally the organs will lay in an aligned position for better function.

Candice Crews owner and founder of Pilates Maui has been teaching Yoga postures since 1971. Please see her biography for more information. Candice has designed a gentle Yoga program for weight loss. Her Yoga classes are easy to follow and can be accompanied by her laminated Yoga at a Glance cards for home program use. Pilates Maui Yoga classes are 1.5 hours long to give you plenty of time to relax and have your questions answered. We hope to work closely with weight loss organizations in our community for happiness and health. Classes are small and in a private studio setting for your personal comfort. Visit Maui and request a Yoga on the Beach session at sunrise or sunset. Let the gentle waves of Hawaii calm you with your BREATH!

Low Back Pain “Shootin’ from the Hip”

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 in Featured Articles, Health Tips | 5 comments

Low Back Pain “Shootin’ from the Hip”

Low Back Pain

Article 1.5
February 2009, Maui Hawaii

Many of my clients suffered from low back pain. Especially in the sacral-iliac area. This is the back area at the low triangle of the spine. This joint consists of the connective area between the sacrum and iliac crest. Clients come to me asking, “Do I keep moving? Or do I rest?” I am not a doctor and medical diagnosis is recommended. I do suggest clients consider common sense. Asking questions like, does your back feel better later in the day or earlier after waking? If the joint is inflamed from over use it would feel worse later in your day due to moving. If the joint is stuck or fixed needing correct movement and lubrications the joint would most likely feel better later in the day after activity. Listening to your body is a good starting point. Our bodies want to be healthy and pain free. It is many times our determination to push, pull, over work or put our bodies in unnatural postures over long durations of time that disrupts our natural process of health and comfort.

Anatomically the large bone of the upper leg, the femur inserts into the low pelvis (hip joint). The sciatic nerve runs through this hip joint. There are six deep muscles that keep the femur correctly placed in the pelvis. Should these deep six muscles not be working up to speed or sleeping there could be improper placement of the largest bone of our body the femur, into our pelvis. When the femur is not correctly placed it can pinch and irritate nerves or cause friction and discomfort in the hip. This type of discomfort is many times described as low back pain.

What does all this have to do with Pilates exercises a great deal? Pilates exerciseswork these deep hip muscles. When compressive stress is applied to the leg and hip when working a leg press machine the large quadriceps and hamstring muscles want to do the work. If these larger leg muscles can’t complete the movement or the leg to pelvis placement is compromised then the low back muscles try to help out. Pilates exercises for the legs use light weight with precise leg/hip movements. Pilates exercises using light resistance work the deep hip muscles which leads to correct femur placement. This allows the pelvis to work as a stable station. When the pelvis is stable the low back has less work because it sits on top of a stable station. The legs come from below the pelvis working effetely allowing the pelvis to remain stable. Less work for the low back and more low back and pelvic stability can prevent low back discomfort.

Thus working the hip through correct Pilates exercises can help relieve low back discomfort. Anatomical knowledge is critical to Pilates exercises. Make sure your Pilates professional is certified and has higher education about biomechanical movement. Check accreditations and experience before choosing a Pilates instructor.

Candice Crews is certified and advanced trained with the STOTT PILATES education system. She also has studied directly with acclaimed Physical Therapists in Canada and the USA. She has taken the Injury and Special Population course through STOTT PILATES twice to obtain as much knowledge as possible. Please contact her at www.pilatesmaui.com for more information. Pilates Maui wants to make your Pilatesexperience the best it can be.

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Core Strength

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 in Featured Articles | 1 comment

Core Strength

Core Strength

Article 1.6
September 2009, Maui Hawaii

Pelvic Placement the “Genesis of Movement”

Our “core” or trunk is the center of body movement. The pelvis is the core or genesis of the trunk. When our movements begin from a correct and strong pelvic placement, all movements become more fluid, stronger, balanced and accurate. Pilates exercises focus on the pelvic area from both the top (superior) spinal connection and bottom (inferior) leg insertion. Pilates exercises address deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles during precise movements strengthening the “core”.

Beginning with the low lumbar spine coming into the top of the pelvis we see the need for stability for the largest vertebrae of our spine (L1-5). These vertebras take the brunt of gravitational pressure, upper body weight and stability challenges from the more moveable upper thoracic spine, neck and the connections at the base of the skull. We hear so many times, “My L4 and L5 are out, I am in pain”. The largest nerves of the body run through this lumbar region of our spine and through the pelvis. We need to stabilize the pelvis prior to any upper body movement giving the lumbar spine stabilization.

The trunk’s core muscles are the abdominal group. This group of muscles contains four major muscles, rectus abdominis (“RA”), external and internal obliques and the transversus abdominis (“TA”). The RA is our most superficial muscle exposed as the “six pack” in the front part of the trunk. The RA muscle is used for forward flexion on the trunk and assists the deeper muscles with compression of the abdomen. Because the RA muscle does not stabilize the pelvis it does not come into play with back strengthening or stabilization of the lumbar spine. Your typical “crunch” works the RA but does not challenge “core” or back strengthening. The external and internal obliques are the abdominal muscles located at the sides of the trunk. The oblique group does wrap around the trunk to the back and helps to stabilize the trunk for compression, side flexion and rotation. The obliques are instrumental in rib cage movement and assist the deep spinal muscles in upper body rotation. The TA is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and is the main pelvic stabilizer, our natural back brace. The fibers of the TA run in a circular direction around the waist area and compress the trunk. The front of the TA begins below the rib line wrapping around to the thoracolumbar fascia (low back, lumbar spine area). Pilates exercises emphasis this deep TA to engage prior to any trunk movement to cement the pelvic position for movement above the pelvis (lumbar spine) and leg movements below. The TA assists breath and helps maintain the shape of the trunk. The (TA) positions internal structures such as the vital organs and intestines.

Other deeper abdomen muscles or “pelvic floor” muscles support and stabilize the pelvis. The obturator internus forms the lateral walls of the pelvis assisting stability for movement beyond the pelvis. The pelvic diaphragm consists of two paired muscles forming the floor of the pelvis. While doing precise Pilates movements these pelvic floor “core” muscles are activated placing the pelvis in an optimal position for movements.

Anatomically, the large bone of the upper leg “the femur” inserts into the low pelvis (hip joint). The sciatic nerve runs through this hip joint. Pilates exercises for the legs use light weight with precise leg/hip movements. Pilates exercises using light resistance work the deep hip muscles which lead to correct leg (femur placement) below the pelvis. This large leg bone must have a strong, stable pelvic platform to move from. When the pelvis is stable and strong the femur can correctly align making walking, standing and sitting movements strong and fluid.

The pelvis is the true genesis of movement. Pilates exercises done consistently keeps the “core” of the trunk strong and able to make correct adjustments for movement above and below. We need strong core muscles for trunk compression or respiration. Strong deep abdominal muscles keep the correct position of our vital organs. Pilates programs, with guidance from highly trained professionals make our daily movement strong, stable and pain free.