Achieving Goals with Pilates…Guest post by Riki Shore

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Guest post by Riki Shore

On Sunday October 8th, IOBT client Anne-Claire Broughton will complete her first triathlon, the Ramblin’ Rose, in celebration of turning 50! A lover of challenge and a lifetime learner, Anne-Claire decided to celebrate her half-centennial by doing something active and enabling, and pushing herself to new physical frontiers.

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Ever since she can remember, Anne-Claire said her spine looked “unusual”, but she was only recently diagnosed with scoliosis. “I was always flagged for it when we got checked in school,” she remembers, “but the back pain didn’t come until after my daughter was born, and it intensified later when I had abdominal surgery.” Indeed, when she first walked into IOBT she wasn’t standing straight and tall, and she told me immediately that her back hurt “almost all the time”. And like a lot of mothers, firing the low belly muscles was nearly impossible – those muscles just didn’t seem accessible. More than anything, she came to Pilates to strengthen her deep core.

As her instructor, I build sessions that help her achieve her goals while creating space and length in her spine, pushing her to an edge without ever increasing her pain. We start every session with Footwork on the Reformer (see image below), which wakes up her feet and stabilizes her pelvis while using the deep abdominal muscles that Anne-Claire wants to strengthen. Since she’s not primarily looking to build muscle mass, we keep the spring tension low in order to facilitate smooth, continuous movement and highlight the connection between the spring tension and her Pilates scoop (what is sometimes referred to as “holding the spring with your belly”).

AC Reformer

If asked her favorite exercise, Anne-Claire would say Leg Circles, which she credits with helping to straighten her spine and reduce lower back pain.  We also do this exercise every session using the leg springs on the Cadillac. When we first started, I asked Anne-Claire to “stand” into a block that was pushed against the short box from the Reformer, which I had placed at the end of the Cadillac. I wanted to her to feel a ground beneath her extended leg as a stabilizing force while she circled the other leg exploring both movement and restraint. After several months together, she no longer needs the stabilizing block and can hop onto the Cadillac and go right into the exercise.

We always finish the session with some time draped over the Spine Corrector (see image below), which allows her to explore flexion, extension, side bending and rotation in a safe and supportive way. While there have been ups and downs in her triathlon training as she learns what her spine can tolerate, I can honestly say that Anne-Claire is stronger, leaner, taller and more supple than when we first met.

AC Spine Corrector

Like any busy not-quite-50-year-old, she sometimes experiences stress, fatigue, muscle tightness and pain, but she remains undaunted and committed to what she calls her Body Project. “I love doing things that at first I’m afraid of or I think I can’t do. Then when I do them…that is the best feeling!” I have no doubt she’s going to be feeling that way when she crosses the finish line in Chapel Hill in a few short weeks – and I’m proud to have played a small part in her journey. Thank you, Anne-Claire, for brightening IOBT with your presence!

AC Congrats

Schedule a private session with Riki or any of our instructors:        

919-361-0104         info@insideoutbodytherapies.com

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6 Reasons We Love Pilates Equipment Classes

Walking into a Pilates studio for the first time might be a little intimidating… Archaic looking structures made of wood, leather and metal with springs, straps, and fuzzy loops attached.  WEIRD. But, once you get to know the Pilates equipment, I promise you will understand and LOVE it!

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Today is the 1st day of the 12 Days of Specials at InsideOut and the special is on Equipment classes.  So, I thought I would share a few reasons why we love Pilates equipment classes!

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  1. Support- The equipment will support you, making the exercises a little easier…well maybe not easier, but easier to do with good form and alignment!  People who find Pilates mat or yoga classes too challenging or painful, often really enjoy the equipment. In a mat class, it’s just you, the mat and gravity!  The equipment will support and assist your body in an amazing way.
  2. Resistance- The springs provide resistance, but in a smooth and supportive way.  They act similarly to our muscles as they stretch and then recoil with our movements.  The resistance can be light or heavy, but the springs allow for smooth, graceful movement.
  3. Versatility- You can do SO. MANY. THINGS. on the equipment!  From beginner to highly advance, ANYONE can benefit.  There are hundreds of exercises in which you might be lying on your back to standing on your head.  The Pilates system of movement is so diverse and complete!  All body parts and types of movement are worked during each session!
  4. Challenging- You must be present during class as you have to focus on the exercises, breath, the equipment AND your movement.  This is challenging for the body AND mind, but is often a welcomed change from our daily stressors!
  5. Camaraderie- In a class, you have the support and sense of community from fellow classmates…whether they are cheering you on as you come up in Teaser on the reformer, or while joining in on a communal eye roll as the teacher says “3 more” after you have already done nearly 200 Hundreds!  We love seeing the friendships that form in our studio!
  6. Fun- It starts to look and feel like a playground for grown ups.  Have you been in the studio when someone suddenly flips upside down or stands on her head?  These things might sound impossible, but we have people of all ages and fitness levels doing fun, gymnastics-like exercises!  Only if you want…but the option is there! And even if you aren’t flipping around, the equipment is still really fun!

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Don’t let the flipping and headstands intimidate you- ANYONE can take equipment classes!  At InsideOut, we just require you to take a minimum of TWO private sessions to get familiar with the equipment before starting a class.  We have classes for people just coming out of Physical Therapy (check out our Back to Health program!) as well as classes from Leveled from 1 (beginner) to 5 (advanced).  Check out our website for more information on our classes and to find the schedule. We hope to see you in class soon!