exercise

Pilates Cues

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Clarity in Pilates Cues Sets You Up for Success

Lately I am having a lot of discussions about language and Pilates cues. Pilates teachers are asking me how to cue the spine, and clients are sharing with me how confusing they often find other teacher's cuing.

Verbal Cues Should be Clear

Communication is always best when it is clear, short, and to the point. For example, say I am teaching someone to squat. Once they are set up standing with feet at hip width or a little wider with a bench or chair behind them, I say, "You are going to sit down on a bench, which is behind you. All I ask is that you keep your heels down and that you don't move your spine. Just sit down and stand right back up."

Then I move the bench away. "Now, pretend the bench is there and do the same thing. Go to sit, and then stand right back up. Spine doesn't move." Now I can layer in breathing if necessary, I can introduce weights, and/or different leg positions.

Note that at no point did I discuss "differentiated movement at the hips" or "pressing your abs into your back" or even knee alignment. I didn't have to, because the original cues were clear and simple.

Because We Work With the Spine, Pilates Cues Should be Super Clear!

Most people, myself included, tend to compress their spines to stabilize. We push the lower back down, shove our shoulder blades together, tuck the pelvis, and wonder why everything is so hard!

I find that spine cuing can be easy if we just remember that in everything we do, we want to lengthen and decompress the spine. No matter where we are, in any position, we want a heavy sacrum and a long, lifted spine. I always say, "The trajectory of your spine from the sacrum should always be forward and up towards your skull!" Shoving the spine down is the exact opposite of what we want it to do.

This is how we maintain length without compression, which is a hallmark of Pilates. And yes, this concept works for flexion, extension, side-bending, and rotation!

How does cuing effect your workout? If you teach, how do your Pilates cues effect your clients' workout?

Hear some of my cues for pelvic stability in Pilates in this video:

Bye Bye Back Pain! 6-week Online Pilates for Back Pain Program

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Bye Bye Back Pain!

This is the most effective exercise-based back pain relief program you will ever complete. It will work for muscular imbalances, herniated discs, sacro-iliac instability, and stenosis. Starts Monday, January 16, 2017.

Your satisfaction is my guarantee, or your money back.

You don't have to live with back pain!

Learn how to find a neutral pelvis and strengthen your functional core. Gain more usable strength through proper breathing, correct form, and full body exercises including Pilates and bodyweight training.

Do the right exercises, at the right time, in the right way.

Throughout this program, we will be focused on safe and effective exercises that will help your back, as well as improving general strength, flexibility, and muscle tone. You’ll see the pre-pilates, modified pilates, and bodyweight strength workout moves that I use with all of my Back Pain clients.

If you follow the program, I guarantee that your back will feel better in 6 weeks!

In addition to less back pain, you can expect to see an increase in energy, better posture, and much more! Read the testimonials below to hear what my clients are saying about my Back Pain programs.

My Bye Bye Back Pain program will start on Monday, January 16, 2017. You will be added to a private Facebook group to learn the workout routines, and other pertinent information on January 16.

If you are ready to commit to this 6-week program, register below! Again, your satisfaction is my guarantee, or your money back.

The 6-week online training program will start on Monday, January 16.

What can you expect from this new on line program?

  • Convenient multi-week program that fits your busy schedule.
  • Accountability and a supportive approach that keeps you on track to accomplish your goals.
  • Affordable package option that is among the lowest cost options you’ll find (only $249 total).
  • The focus, quality, intensity, and commitment you’d expect from me, a Pilates expert and trainer with over years of success!

Here’s how it works:

  • Six-week on line training program starting on January 16.
  • You will be expected to follow a 5-day per week, 15-30 minutes per day, workout plan that includes written workouts and hyperlinked videos.
  • Exercises will be appropriate for all levels with modified options for beginners. The workouts will include breathing exercises, pilates, and bodyweight training.
  • Participants will be required to pay in advance and fill out all health forms and waivers before the program begins.
  • Participants will be required to do daily check-ins with me via email or Facebook group.
  • The training program is payable via cash, check, or PayPal ($249 total).

Please register for the training program using the button below. I am only accepting the first 50 people who register and several spots have already been filled. The price is $249. Use the button below to pay and register.

Within 48 hours after you register, I will send you the health and liability waiver forms. Payment (in full) and all forms are due prior to the start of the program. Please let me know if you have any questions at all!

To pay using cash or check, or to ask any questions, call (347) 462-6932 or email using this form:

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Read what current clients are saying about my Back Pain Program:

"Working with Lynda, I can’t tell you how much she has helped me with my bad back. Her pilates and fitness program compliments my yoga practice. No matter how crooked I wake up in the morning her affect is remarkable, Lynda has become a must on my list."

Donna Karan

I had the great fortune of finding my way to Lynda several months after my third back operation. I was terribly deconditioned and in desperate need of building a solid foundation that would allow me to recover enough strength to begin to recover what I had lost so many years earlier because of the problems caused by lower back disc compression and stenosis. Nothing was forced other than impressing the need to be committed to the program and to trust that it would work with time. The results came pretty quickly with strength returning to my legs and to my core within two weeks of starting the program Lynda laid out for both our in-person sessions and for my work at home.

David Richman

Review: Pelvic Clock Device for Back Pain

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The Pelvic Clock Device is brilliant for those of us with unstable pelvises and back pain.

A few months ago I received an email from the folks behind what was to become my new favorite little exercise device, the Pelvic Clock. And I did not answer right away.

I thought, "This little gadget is small, expensive, and what good could it really do?" After all, I have lots of small gadgets and rollers at home to help me feel better. Did I really need another thing?

But they were persistent, and I ultimately said yes. Now I wouldn't want to be without it.

What Is The Pelvic Clock Device?

Basically. the Pelvic Clock is a small (6.5" across, 2" deep) dome made in the US out of rubber, with an imprint of the human sacrum in the top. When positioned correctly, your sacrum is supported in the device with a little bit of traction. The basic lower back exercises are simple - flexion/extension, side to side, and circles (the pelvic clock exercise), followed by some diagonal stretches.

The first time I did the basic series, my SI joint was out, and it popped back in! Then I had hubby, who has a spondylolisthesis with herniated discs, get on it, and his back adjusted and felt better.

Feeling cheeky, I brought it over to the studio one day for my colleague Tori to try out, and her back happened to be out. It adjusted during our session and by the next day she felt 80% better. If she had to see the chiropractor, that one visit would have cost the full amount of the Pelvic Clock.

Meet Yana

Yana Blinova is a Lenin Scholar, with Master's in Exercise Science. She is also a former gymnast, who coached both the Soviet Army Rhythmic Gymnastics Team and the underdog Italian Olympic Team, who managed to win a silver medal in the 1992 World Championships and placed 4th at the Atlanta games. Did I mention that she is also blind?

In the 1990s, Yana’s doctors recommended an invasive spinal surgery to repair her back injuries and ailments: spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, and sciatica. She wanted to avoid surgery and did, using this device! She invented this in her tiny NYC kitchen.

I met Yana a couple of weeks ago when she came to visit me at Real Pilates, where we shot some videos of the device in use, with me and Yana teaching my colleague, Bridget Casey-Insana.

Good for More Than Just Lower Back Pain

As I learned while working with Yana, the Pelvic Clock Device can be used for the pelvis in supine, sitting, and standing (against a wall) positions. It can also help the upper back, shoulder girdle, and feet. In addition, there are several standing exercises that will help with balance and stability, including lunge and squat variations.

Because you can use it standing, it is safe for pregnant women and for folks who cannot get up and down from the floor. It can also be used in bed.

Note that to really be effective, you need to do the exercises daily for a while. But at least they take 10 minutes at home, versus going out to a PT or chiropractic session.

Pilates and the Pelvic Clock Device

I saw immediately where this device could be used in Pilates - the Corkscrew exercise being an obvious choice.

I highly recommend this device to Pilates teachers and personal trainers, both for your own back and your clients. It is so small and light that I can toss it in my purse! And they offer bulk pricing for direct orders.

Bridget felt so much better after this shoot!

Here is a playlist of some videos, including the basic exercises, the foot strengthening exercises, and the Pilates Corkscrew.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMgkxypyEoMMjwfrD4Pqe9_f25Ca8BaMk

Yeast Infections and Exercise

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Many women get more yeast infections when they start exercising. How to avoid yeast infections and treat them if you get one.

I have always been prone to yeast infections, even as a little girl. And my doctors always treated me with Monistat. First the 7 day treatment, then the 5 day, and finally the 3 day.

Now, of course, there is a ONE day treatment, and it is available over the counter at any pharmacy.

Avoidance is, of course, preferable. When I lived in the Caribbean as a fitness and pilates teacher, avoidance became quite important. I quickly learned the importance of always wearing cotton underwear, washing laundry always with a cup of white vinegar to kill yeast and mildew (if your clothing ever gets the mildew smell, white vinegar in the wash is the only thing that works).

Here are some more good tips from Monistat:

1.       Choose cotton underwear for workouts: It’s breathable, absorbent, and flexible — pulling moisture away from the skin and allowing some air flow. Moisture build up can lead to irritation, yeast infections, or bacterial infections and as you might guess, the more sweat the more moisture. If you are planning a heavy sweat session, make sure you are wearing breathable underwear and even plan to change pairs halfway through if possible.

2.       Make Sure It’s the Right Size: Wearing underwear that’s too tight can cause skin irritation by rubbing and pinching. Tight clothing in general can also limit breathability and increase the risk for yeast infections.

3.       Shower ASAP: When you finish up your workout, hit the shower as soon as you can. No sprays or wipes do the same job as a quick rinse in the shower. If you’re in a rush or planning to do more active things after your workout, like mowing your lawn or cleaning the house, try to at least change into a fresh pair until you can shower.

4.       Treat it Quickly: If you do end up with a dreaded yeast infection, don’t delay treating it with an over the counter suppository like Monistat which can cure a yeast infection without a prescription. There is nothing worse than trying hit the gym while dealing with serious discomfort that accompanies a yeast infection.

If you are interested in an all natural approach, check out Love Wellness, which offers all natural, boric acid-based yeast infection treatments that work!

Pilates Cures A Pain In the Neck

A great article on Pilates by Lisa Snider in the California based VC Reporter-- Grace to spare She turned to Pilates of sheer desperation — and found a life-long fitness routine in the process

After her doctor (cortisone injections), chiropractor, massage therapist, and yoga teacher could not get rid of horrible non-stop neck and shoulder pain, Snider decided to try Pilates. She started, as many do, in a beginning mat class where she spent a year and then added in Reformer (equipment) classes.

Says Snider, "I’ve been at this now for nearly two years and I’ve not only eliminated my pain, but I’m more toned and I’ve discovered a whole new life-long fitness regimen."

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Buy my 30 minute Pilates For Neck & Shoulder Pain audio Pilates MP3 download for only $7.77.

Back Pain and Exercise

I was painfully reminded this week about the importance of proper exercise for back pain. Someone came to cross training class yesterday and told me that she had hurt her back doing a spinning class. She had a chronic back issue and did not adjust the seat so she over-stretched her back.

Her back spasmed in the middle of the class and now she is still in pain a few days later even after acupuncture treatments. It is such a shame because last year her back was fine and even better after all of my Pilates classes.