Entries in Equipment/Resources (54)
By Nicole Rogers
Continuing education workshops are something I go back and forth on. Don’t get me wrong; they are absolutely essential to high quality teaching. Yet, sadly, I often zone out at some point. Sitting on the floor for eight hours makes me want to jump out the window and I don’t like eating raisins out of my purse for “lunch.” But if I learn even one good cue or variation from a workshop, it makes all of the discomfort worth it. The infusion of knowledge enriches my teaching and gets me excited about the process all over again.
Jillian Hessel’s new DVD, Learning From Two Masters, basically solves my problems with workshops since I can watch and review at my own pace. And there is a bounty of information to review. No matter what your background, you would be hard-pressed not to find something of interest here. Though Hessel started her Pilates education in New York, plenty of variations have found their way into her work. And I think there is something here for everyone with an open mind. Hessel trained with many of the elders, and most intensively with Kathy Grant and Carola Trier. Here, she teaches a workshop sharing her vast knowledge as an instructor, specifically as influenced by Grant and Trier.
As 2009 draws to a close and we refocus our energies on the year to come, it’s nice to reflect on the year past. Thus it’s time for our very own Pilates-Pro.com “Year in Review,” a countdown of the site’s 10 most popular articles in 2009. (This is a great place to start if you’re just discovering us!) We’d like to extend huge thanks to all of the innovative, thoughtful, dedicated and generally amazing Pilates experts who contributed to Pilates-Pro.com this year. Kudos as well to the growing number of community members who use the articles and forums as a place for lively, insightful discussion. Pilates-Pro.com continues to grow because of you. And of course, if you have topics you’d like us tackle in 2010, please drop a line and let us know!
1. Pilates for Scoliosis by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
2. Pilates for Feet by Madeline Black
3. Five Ways to Combine Cardio and Pilates by Nicole Rogers
4. Pilates on Call with Siri Dharma Galliano
5. Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back by Debbi Goodman, MSPT
6. 16 Fitness Wear Discounts for Pilates Instructors by Christine Binnendyk
7. Pilates DVD Review: The Jump Board Workout by Nicole Rogers
8. Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs
9. Five Ways to Hook Men on Pilates by Julian Littleford
10. Five Ways to Build Successful Client-Instructor Relationships by Devra Swiger
By Rebekah Rotstein
Back when I was seeing private clients in their homes, I would lament not having Pilates equipment with me. Many of my clients have specific conditions and past injuries, so I rely heavily on the machines for the neuromuscular feedback, assistance and challenge that springs provide. The need I had for transportable equipment—a need I’m sure that many instructors still have—would be diminished now, thanks to the PilatesStick®. This clever device allows you to set up a resistance unit in your own home, or anywhere you like for that matter. Just secure it into a door and you have your own springboard with a rolldown bar.
The brainchild of exercise physiologist Charles Blount, the PilatesStick is a portable kit containing a bar, a thick resistance band called Slastix, cotton loops for the feet or hands, a foam anchor to secure it into a door and a yoga mat. All this comes in a sleeve making it as easy to carry around as a yoga mat bag, with the Slastix serving as a strap to throw over your shoulder. The basic kit will run you about $150. The system also offers additional items for purchase like wall mounts and a ballet bar attachment.
By Nicole Rogers
Sometimes the best gifts are things you’d like to receive yourself. While you’ve been out shopping for family, friends and clients, have you stopped to think of what you might like to find gift-wrapped for your own Pilates practice this year? With that in mind, we asked some Pilates professionals what items are on their Pilates wish list for 2010, and they answered with great ideas and suggestions for every budget.
Practical and Portable
With a busy schedule and a practical budget, Kayla Laurene, who is currently pursuing her certificate at Power Pilates in Manhattan, has a list full of pragmatic ideas in a variety of price ranges. First on it, she writes, is this Sweetheart mat bag in papyrus green, “a great mat bag that is big enough for a nice thick Pilates mat and is really pretty too!” The regular price is $125, but it’s on sale for $85.
by Lauren Charlip
We’ve noticed several Pilates group equipment circuit classes pop up lately, so we decided to rustle up the instructors who teach them for a closer look at this new trend. Some teach just one circuit hour a week and some base a large chunk of their business on group circuit work. Each has their own unique way of running things. A few themes did emerge among the instructors we spoke to: They all agree that multiple-apparatus work allows for a deeper, more well-rounded experience for the client, and that a circuit class is an affordable way to reap those benefits. They also stressed the importance of previous experience on the Pilates equipment for clients before they join a circuit class; the more machines involved, the more complicated the skill set. For more details on how different studios and instructors are adopting this format, we’ve provided five takes on Pilates equipment circuit training from around the country.
Chicago Pilates instructor Laurel Silverman teaches out of her home and rents space at One Mind Body & Being to teach group classes. She hit upon the circuit idea when only one client showed up for her Reformer class and she realized she could move her onto other apparatus. Because that client had mostly Reformer experience, the difference in the work was readily apparent. Silverman noted her client was making new connections and that it was much easier to gauge her strengths and weaknesses. “I started thinking clients who are only able to afford Reformer classes are being done a disservice without access to other equipment,” Silverman says. She began to spice up her Reformer classes with a new apparatus exercise here and there. “Clients really took to the idea. I first started incorporating one exercise that we would circuit through, then we would talk about it and compare,” Silverman says. “It was amazing to see changes when they got back on the equipment that they’re used to.”
By Kathryn Comperatore
If you dread doing planks and push-ups because of wrist pain, Wrist Assured™ Gloves, or WAGs, offers a wearable solution. WAGs, from licensed occupational therapist Paula Wilbert, are designed to ease pain and improve comfort for practitioners of Pilates and yoga.
WAGs features an ergonomic gel cushion inserted into the base of the glove, which is designed to help support the wrist. In addition to taking pressure off of the wrists, the insert encourages proper weight distribution in the hands. This pad raises the height under the base of the hand relative to the fingers, preventing hyperextension at the wrist. It is slanted to direct weight into the thumb and index finger while preventing overuse of the lateral heel of the hand. The arch-supporting pad has a V-cut out shape that prevents strain of the soft tissues of the hand, including the median nerve. WAGs also features a slip-proof grip on the palm and has sweat-absorbent liners inside.
Wilbert set out to create WAGS after recovering from a wrist injury; she noticed that she still had pain in certain weight-bearing positions in her yoga practice and felt that her wrists needed relief from the stress of those positions.
For beginning students and for those with wrist pain, WAGs are a helpful aid for loading the forearm and upper extremity correctly in weight-bearing exercises.
It’s surprising that there are so few books out there that directly address the anatomy of Pilates, considering the Pilates world’s enthusiasm for studying anatomy, and considering there are plenty of books out there about the anatomy of yoga. But if you’ve been wishing for a Pilates-specific anatomy text, you’re finally in luck.
Paul Massey’s The Anatomy of Pilates, released earlier this year by North Atlantic Books, covers the basic anatomy of the classical mat series. It is a great introduction to Pilates-specific anatomy, and it is definitely intended for Pilates professionals. The book is filled with excellent illustrations that clearly show the key muscles and how they function in each exercise. The first two chapters provide an introduction to Pilates, and a guide to posture and movement assessment. Then the book provides a description of each exercise: the movement, the breathing, the possible “pitfalls,” and of course the specific muscles that are used.
The book is a straightforward text that deals mostly with musculature.
Here’s an idea for going green in your studio: choose Pilates equipment made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials. A new Pilates equipment brand, Root Manufacturing, has now made that easier, with the launch of its inaugural line, the first ever made from bamboo.
Root is the first Pilates apparatus line direct from Colorado’s Hart Wood Incorporated, which has been making equipment for the past 13 years for other Pilates brands. “It’s a brand-new offering,” says Root founder and president Vic Hart. “There’s innovation going on, particularly with the bamboo, which offers not only sustainability, but also beauty, strength and hardness.”
Bamboo is technically a grass, not a wood, and Hart says it’s very hard yet lightweight, and stronger than actual wood because of the multiple laminations required to engineer it, thus making for durable and easier-to-move Pilates apparatus.
Hart says the company has prototyped and finessed many of the Root designs with ample feedback from the Pilates community over the years. Design highlights include locks instead of knobs for adjusting high Ladder Barrels, and multiple sizes and configurations for Reformers, including two standard widths, four standard lengths—combinable in any form and compatible with pole systems for converting to Cadillacs and Towers.
“We have a lot to offer the Pilates community, in terms of product,” Hart says. “We’re also trying to help studios grow and sustain themselves. We realize equipment is not inexpensive, sometimes ‘grow as you go’ is the only way to make it happen.”
Root Manufacturing also offers oak and maple products sourced from suppliers who use sustainable forestry practices. The equipment is all hand-crafted, and there is plenty of information about Root’s materials, as well as a nifty color selector on the company’s Web site. “We’re trying to make a product that is going to last a lifetime and also at the same time be good a citizen of the world,” Hart says.
By Nicole Rogers
Carola Trier (1913-2000) was the first person to start a Contrology studio outside of Joseph Pilates’ own studio, and she did so with his blessing. Pilates elders like Kathy Grant and Lolita San Miguel started their Pilates training with Carola Trier. And yet, until now I knew little about her other than the fact that she was a contortionist. It turns out she was actually a roller-skating contortionist! This is one of many entertaining insights to be gained from the new DVD Carola Shares, by Jillian Hessel.
By Lauren Charlip, Managing Editor
STOTT PILATES® will hold its biennial conference for its global Licensed Training Centers in Toronto Oct. 21–24, 2009, but this year’s gathering has a new twist. Named Community of Excellence 09, the event was expanded to include STOTT PILATES equipment distributors, all Instructor Trainers and a final day of programming open to all fitness professionals.
This year’s gathering is the first to be called Community of Excellence, though according to STOTT PILATES president and CEO Lindsay G. Merrithew, that “has been a living organic philosophy for about 10 years or so” for the company.
“We’ve grown tremendously in the past couple of years, and want to focus on the STOTT brand and what it means and how we can all work together,” he said. “This is a time for all of our business partners to come together and share best practices and experiences.”
The conference will feature updated Pilates programming for rehabilitative and aging populations, both growing sectors of the STOTT PILATES client base, among other Pilates workshops. One of the event’s featured speakers is Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, who will discuss business ideas for that market. There will also be plenty of business-building sessions, and new STOTT PILATES equipment will be introduced, though the specifics are still under wraps.
There will also be a lot of exchange about the economy this year, Merrithew predicts. Enrollment hasn’t dropped, she said, but there is continuing conversation about how to draw people into studios and how to establish Pilates as something other than a luxury.
“This an opportunity to connect and take advantage of the fact that Pilates keeps growing and growing,” he said. “The economy may not be ideal, but the industry is growing.”