Pilates. Rolling Plank Variation.

Looking for a way to perfect your plank form?  Two of the biggest mistakes people make when planing is elevated shoulders (shoulders by your ears) or shoulder blades pinching together (collapsing in your upper body).  Those two mistakes lead to increased stress in your low back and increased weight bearing on your wrists.  By engaging your serratus anterior you will be able to find width between your shoulder blades and find better engagement of your back and shoulder muscles taking undue pressure of your wrists and lumbar.   

The rolling plank variation starts you off with strong engagement of your serratus anterior by applying strength isometrically on the ground/mat outwards (isometric exercise refers to an exercise where a muscle length does not change during contraction, aka no movement occurs during the exercise).  

1) Start by placing your forearms parallel to one another, elbows facing outwards. Make sure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders.

2) Lift to plank position by engaging your core, back, shoulders, triceps, and quadriceps.  Keep you body in one long line!

3) Apply pressure on the mat outward, beginning to feel your serratus work and pull your shoulders wide on your back.  Hold the center plank for 20 seconds.

4) Keeping your shoulder stability roll onto your right side, stacking your hips, pivoting your feet and opening your left arm up to the ceiling.  Hold right side plank for 20 seconds. 

5) Roll back to center. Hold for 20 seconds.

6) Turn to the left. Hold for 20 seconds. 

7) Return to center. Hold for 20 seconds. Rest. REPEAT.

(you can do this exercise in each position for as long as you can hold with good form; 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, etc.)

A Pilates Teacher at the Australian Open.

I need to learn to turn my brain off sometimes and just sit back and enjoy.  Going to the Australian Open was one of Ryan's to do's in Melbourne.  I love live sporting events so I was totally up for it.  Upon entering the arenas the first thing I noticed about the players was their strength and athletic physique and the thing that caught my attention shortly after was the fact that all of them had protracted (rounded) shoulders forward (that's the Pilates teacher in me!).

I started my fitness career working in an athletic training facility as well as a rehab clinic.  In every sport you see common injury per sport, i.e. women's soccer players and ACL surgery, baseball pitchers and Tommy John surgery, basketball players and ankle injuries, and tennis players and rotator cuff issues.  As a Pilates teacher and NSCA coach of strength and conditioning one of the biggest things I work on with clients, athletes or not is building strength uniformly throughout the body.  With sport, lifestyle, exercise, and daily habits our body's begin to build strength in the areas that we use repetitively and the areas that are under utilized begin to lack in strength.  What happens next is when the body needs to use those muscles (the weaker ones) our larger muscles take over and we create compensation patterns which commonly lead to injury. As for tennis players, many of them have rounded shoulders because so much of the movement in tennis for the upper body is forward.  Their chest muscles and frontline of their arms become more developed than their back muscles leading to weakened rotator cuff and middle back muscles which can lead to shoulder injuries due to instability and weakness of their stabilizers.  

I know I just gave you lots of information about muscles but I do this so hopefully you can understand why strength training the front, sides, and back line of your body are ALL important.  When we build our muscles uniformly we are less likely to become injured because one muscle or group of muscles isn't then trying to do everything! In addition to working your whole body, working precisely is super important, if you aren't sure if you are working with good form take a session with a personal trainer or a private Pilates session!

Workout Plan for the Week:
Sunday: 8 mile run and 90 min Vinyasa Yoga
Monday: TRX workout
Tuesday: Teach Bootcamp
Wednesday: 60 minute Vinyasa Yoga
Thursday: Teach Bootcamp and Pilates class
Friday: Treadmill Interval Workout (a new one coming for you!)
Saturday: OFF