These Olympic hopefuls make Pilates a key part of their training.
by Anne Marie O’Connor
When the XXII Winter Olympic Games open in Sochi, Russia, on February 7, a number of the competitors are Pilates fans who are relying on the method to help them get to the medal podium. Pilates Style talked to three Olympians and one Paralympian about how Pilates is helping them go for the gold.
Sport: Speed skating
Background: A three-time Olympian, Davis won gold and silver medals in 2006 and 2010. He is the world-record holder in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters.
How It Helps Him Compete: “As a speed skater, I have really strong muscles in my legs, but Pilates trains all those tiny muscles I might forget about when I’m skating. On the mat, you’re working on your core, your flexibility, your range of motion and your lower abdominals—all these things you might not work in a speed-skating drill, but that you definitely need.”
His Current Regimen: “Since I travel all around the world, I’m not always able to find a Reformer, but I do the mat work—leg lifts, planks, lower abdominals, Hundreds—wherever I am.”
His Favorite Move: “Whenever there is a machine, I like getting on it and working on my range of motion, really opening up the hips and my hip flexors.”
Background: Purdy was an aspiring competitive snowboarder when she contracted meningitis 15 years ago, at age 19. Given just a two percent chance of surviving, she beat the odds, but ended up losing both her legs below the knee. Determined to live a full life, she learned to walk—and then snowboard—on her prosthetic legs.
Why She Loves Pilates: “When I left the hospital three months after getting sick, I
had no legs, I was down to 83 pounds and I had tubes sticking out of me everywhere. Pilates was the only rehab I did—I worked on the apparatus four to five days a week for three-and-a-half years. It helped me learn to walk on my prosthetic legs, which are like walking on stilts. I didn’t want to ever look at [my prosthetics] as a burden. I wanted to be able to visualize them as being as much a part of me as my legs always were.”
How It Helps Her Compete: “Pilates strengthened all my muscles, especially my core, which is what I rely on so much for snowboarding. It helped me with body awareness and learning how to use my body. I also liked that Pilates helped me with the whole mind/body connection. The different deep stretching you do is really important for using my body in different ways.”
Favorite Moves: “I love Hundreds on the Reformer, which really helped me both with core strength and with my breathing.” Photo credits: NBC Olympics/USOC
UNLIMITED Monthly Memberships!
Turning Point Pilates now offers two.
Why a monthly membership?
- Budget friendly
- all access!
Gold Membership: $350. (unlimited classes and 1private lesson)
Silver Membership: $300. (unlimited classes)
These are ideal for frequent class attendees allowing you to mix it up between reformer, jump and mat classes. Payment is set up as an automatic 1x charge per month to your credit card on file.
Want to get on track this year with your health and fitness? One way to help achieve your goal is by heading over to Turning Point Pilates in Venice, near Abbot Kinney every Tuesday at 11am for the Community Mat Pilates Class, $15.
For more information:
Turning Point Pilates is in Venice and convenient for Pilates classes in Marina del Rey, Pilates classes in Venice, Pilates classes in Mar Vista as well as Pilates classes in Playa del Rey and Culver City. Free parking! (office park next to Zinque Cafe)
Turning Point Pilates | 612A Venice Boulevard | Venice | CA | 90291.
By Mohamad Kadry / 11 January 2014
Women have long known the core-strengthening benefits of Pilates exercise, and it’s time that men hopped on board.
Take no offense, ladies, but I couldn’t possibly think of anything more girly than a Pilates class.
I’m hardly alone in this misconception. Most guys have been conditioned to believe that any time spent at the gym should be in the company of a stack of heavy weights. The idea of Pilates as a legitimate workout would have most body builders choking on their protein bars: Why would we ever spend precious pump time stretched out on a yoga mat?
Because it’s awesome, that’s why.
Consider me a new convert, because after years of lifting and running, boxing and crunching, one class of Pilates revealed the hard truth that I’m still coming to terms with: I’m not as fit as I thought.
While strength training and building mass have always been priorities in my fitness routine, Pilates always seemed like a “gentle” workout reserved for older women looking to get in touch with their inner spirit. Assumptions, I’ll admit, but given the amount of celebs endorsing the routine, I’ve always brushed it off as just another Hollywood trend.
But take note guys, Pilates is legit.
Not only is it one of the best core strengthening exercise routines out there, but its history should shed some light on why every guy needs to include it in his overall fitness regiment.
In the early 20th century, the practise was developed by Joseph Pilates, a boxing coach who also studied kung fu and mastered the art of body building. It’s not just ladies keeping fit with his routine; today it’s used by everyone from soldiers and swimmers to football players and everyone in between.
Like all new experiences, classes can understandably be intimidating at first. In a room full of thin, limber and flexible women, I manage to stand out like a sore thumb. These ladies are graceful, and I’m not. But I quickly realize that what’s been lacking in my weight lifting routine is intense core strengthening, the very heart of what Pilates offers.
Using your own body weight, many of the movements involved require a great deal of effort in stabilization, like raised-leg floor planks that tighten every inch of your torso .
It’s all about working smaller muscle groups, the kind of conditioning that involves repetitious movements over a longer period of time rather than lifting a dumbbell and targeting a specified area for a few seconds.
There’s a lot of emphasis on the spine and maintaining a centre balance, and for people suffering from bad backs or knees, Pilates offers a way to really stretch out your tendons and get them working effectively again.
Guys also fall into the myth that something like Pilates is “too easy”, but they couldn’t be more off because the moves involved are deceptively difficult, even for the fittest of athletes. If you’re looking to develop well-defined abs and lift heavier weights too, it all starts with a stronger core.
What Pilates ultimately offers is a way to work out muscles in a way that your body is not accustomed to, and that’s exactly how strength and flexibility is built. For guys who are used to reps on the flat bench, Pilates is the best way to work out all those little muscles that you’ve probably been ignoring all along.
Turning Point Pilates is in Venice and convenient for Pilates classes in Marina del Rey, Pilates classes in Venice,Pilates classes in Mar Vista as well as Pilates classes in Playa and Culver City. We also have parking!
Start the New Year with a healthy choice, The time is NOW.
Turning Point Pilates recently hosted a holiday party that also raised money to be sent for disaster relief in the Philippines. A raffle with an assortment of lovely prizes that included gift certificates donated by local restaurants, spas and shops. The party was a fun, festive event that spread good cheer to all in attendance! If you are looking for Pilates classes in Marina del Rey, Pilates in Mar Vista or Culver City or Pilates classes in Venice, Turning Point Classical studio is a hop, skip and a jump. Their experienced teachers are ready to support you. Give the gift of health with a Gift Certificate from the studio a great way to start out the new year! Visit the website or Buy a gift card.
Turning Point PIlates in Venice: Voted Best of Westside, Argonaut Newspaper
Did you know that Turning Point Pilates studio has been in Venice for
7 years? The classical Pilates studio has been the best kept secret in
Venice, however, now the word is out! Turning Point Pilates was voted
Best Pilates Studio in the Best of the Westside 2013 in The Argonaut
It’s easy to see why, after recently taking an introductory one on one lesson with Robin Solo, the owner and founder of the studio. She paid careful attention to injuries and tailored the lesson to make sure those areas weren’t affected. She made sure to ask throughout the lesson if there was any kind of pain and took time to retool an exercise that was not quite working with my injuries. Robin is truly a caring instructor that gets to know her clients.
You have the opportunity to see for yourself. The studio is offering: 10% off any lesson when you mention the AKFF blog or use CODE: AKFF at online check out. Buy now or call Robin at 310-217-7630.
Turning Point Pilates is just east of Abbot Kinney Blvd. on Venice Blvd. in the office complex on the south side of the street behind Zinque Café.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them,
we learn by doing them.” Aristotle,
And so it is with a Pilates practice. Pilates is not for the impatient. It takes practice. It takes surrender, it dares you to be a beginner and forgo instant gratification. If you can, (or if you want to try) do as I've suggested, you will be greatly rewarded with that great feeling, the feeling of accomplishment and renewed respect for your strong and more supple body and you too will be addicted.
Turning Point Pilates
by Samantha Durbin, July 23, 2012.
See article here.
Up here you may not have heard the word that GQ recently dubbed Venice Beach's Abbot Kinney Boulevard “The coolest block in America.” The reality is that Abbot Kinney (AK for short) is more than one block and it's pretty cool. It has everything a shopper and foodie could consume. It runs through historical beach bohemia. Colorful people abound. And, it's summer in Los Angeles—the perfect time for a quick escape south.
If you are in Los Angeles for a limited time, a condensed guide can be handy. After all, not every store and restaurant is a winner for discerning NorCal tastes. Here is a San Francisco transplants guide to Abbot Kinney, with a special added bonus: Recommendations on up-and-coming Rose Avenue, a hop, skip and a cruiser ride from Abbot Kinney. See article here.
Pilates Research: Emphasize strength, flexibility, coordination and adaptability when working with people who have nonspecific low-back pain.
Many clients come to you with low-back pain, a condition that affects 80% of Americans at some point in their lives (Andersson 1999). For many, the pain occurs only occasionally. In contrast, chronic low-back pain—defined as persistent pain and disability lasting longer than 3 months—affects approximately 2%–8% of Americans (Andersson 1999). And it’s one of the leading causes of disability and work absenteeism for adults aged 45 and younger in modern, industrialized societies worldwide (Miyamoto et al. 2011).
Pilates has grown in popularity among healthy individuals and athletes, as well as people seeking recovery and rehabilitation from injury. It’s not surprising, therefore, that researchers are interested in examining the effectiveness of Pilates for helping people with low-back pain. In addition, many doctors and physical therapists recommend Pilates to their clients as a way to maintain a healthy back.
Always advise clients with back pain to consult with their healthcare providers. If clients are following an expert’s guidance, ask specifically what movements their health professional has recommended or advised against. For a person with a herniated or bulging disk, extension movements may be contraindicated while flexion is permitted. For someone else, the reverse may be true.
Research and Practical Application
When determining which moves could promote back health in your clients, consider what researchers have learned. Cristina Maria Nunes Cabral, PT, PhD, led a randomized controlled study at the Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, Brazil (Miyamoto et al. 2011). The study recruited 86 subjects with chronic, nonspecific low-back pain and found that Pilates promoted improvement in pain and function in those who completed 12 individual sessions over 6 weeks. “These benefits are not maintained if the patient stops [the Pilates training],” says Cabral.
Cabral says the most beneficial Pilates exercises for people with low-back pain involve movements in every plane of motion—flexion, extension, side bending and rotation—and are moves that improve muscular conditioning and flexibility. She emphasizes, however, that exercise programs should be tailored to the individual. In general, she recommends the following:
- shoulder bridge preparation (core and lower-body conditioning)
- breast stroke preparation (prone spinal extension)
- mermaid (side bending)
- criss-cross (rotation, conditioning for external obliques)
- spine stretch forward (flexion)
Cabral believes Pilates is effective for low-back pain because Pilates activates the deep abdominal muscles—and there is evidence that patients with back pain may have a strength deficit in these muscles.
Gisela C. Miyamoto, PT, MS, of the Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, the physiotherapist responsible for the treatment protocols in the study, offers the following advice on how to help clients who want to improve their back strength:
“Perform a posture evaluation, [and] consider posture and back mobility. The exercise program must include exercises in all planes of motion [assuming that none of them are contraindicated for the individual]. Each program must be individualized and progressive. Instructors should also note pain and disability.”
Both Cabral and Miyamoto point out that targeted muscles are components of the powerhouse, popularized by Joseph Pilates. Researchers have identified powerhouse muscles as those that have a primary role in stabilizing the lumbopelvic system. These include the transversus abdominis, internal obliques, diaphragm, lumbar multifidus and pelvic-floor muscles, among others. The Pilates method of breathing and movement stimulates these muscles.
When it comes to preventing and managing back pain, Pilates practitioners have much to offer clients. Clinical practice guidelines issued jointly by the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society do not yet recommend Pilates specifically as a complementary therapy for individuals with chronic low-back pain, but they do include recommendations for exercise and the practice of Viniyoga-style yoga, among other options such as acupuncture, massage, progressive relaxation and cognitive-behavioral therapy. As research evidence grows, the many benefits of Pilates are being realized; as such, its practice may be recommended on a wider scale in the future. Invest in education about this issue and make a difference.
(Golfer Charles Nardiello
By Jill Lieber, USA TODAY
Celebrities Madonna, Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone have done it. So have golfer Tiger Woods, basketball star Jason Kidd, pitcher Curt Schilling and offensive lineman Ruben Brown. What they all have in common is Pilates, one of the fastest growing fitness activities in America, according to SGMA International, the trade association for sports equipment manufacturers.
Designed to increase flexibility and improve posture, balance and coordination, Pilates focuses on strengthening the body’s core or midsection.
Once favored by rock divas, actresses and supermodels, the stretching and strengthening exercise method developed by Joseph Pilates (pih-LAH-teez) has become the latest training rage for male professional athletes.
“Since I’ve done Pilates, I’m much better looking and 4 feet taller,” says Rich Beem, winner of the 2002 PGA Championship. “Seriously, I’m now so stretched out and have such great posture that I look and feel like a different person.”
Developed in the early 1900s, Pilates consists of 500 exercises, all initiating from the muscles in the abdomen, lower back, hips or buttocks. The cost of a private Pilates session with a properly licensed instructor is comparable to or slightly more expensive than a personal training session.
For athletes, the benefits include more efficient movement as well as better endurance, speed and quickness.
No longer just for women
As mainstream as the Pilates method of developing core muscle groups has become, male professional athletes interested in adding it to their training programs still must get past the stigma that this is largely a women’s exercise.
Kidd, the Nets superstar point guard, gave his wife, Joumana, a longtime Pilates devotee, a hard time when she told him it might help in his rehabilitation of a broken ankle a few years ago. After weeks of making fun of Pilates, Kidd finally tried it.
“I immediately discovered how tight I was,” Kidd recalls. “After one session I was energized. From that point on I was convinced it was a great workout.”
For Kidd, Pilates is all about finding the edge. He estimates 30% of his strength and flexibility training comes from Pilates. “Pilates has made me quicker, more explosive,” he says.
Rich Dalatri, the Nets strength coach, has been instrumental in introducing the exercise method to the entire team.
“Pilates is rejuvenating, restorative, invigorating,” he says, “maybe because it gets the blood flowing through every inch of the muscles. It’s so internal. It puts you in tune with your body. It puts you in a different state.”
The Nets have invested in Pilates equipment for their weight room. The players are so dependent that throughout the NBA playoffs in 2002, a leading Pilates company shipped special equipment to the team’s hotel on road trips.
Patience pays off
Pilates’ founding father always proclaimed, “In 10 sessions, you will feel the difference. In 20, you will see the difference. And in 30, you’ll have a whole new body.”
Schilling, the Arizona Diamondbacks star pitcher, agrees. “The first three weeks, I was really disappointed,” says Schilling, who incorporated Pilates into his offseason training program last winter. “I wasn’t sweating. I wasn’t winded, which is what I associate with true exercise.
“Then in the fourth week I started to understand the Pilates terminology, the idea of working from your center. By the third month I was more powerful and flexible than ever before. And I’d lost 15 pounds.”
Hannah Gallagher, Schilling’s Pilates instructor, says, “He’s a man. He’s used to hard-core workouts, where you throw up afterward. Pilates is not that. It is an equal balance of stretch and strength.”
After years of the no-pain, no-gain school of thought, male professional athletes say they appreciate the kinder, gentler, holistic aspect of Pilates.
For Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl offensive guard Ruben Brown, Pilates is all about preventing injury.
“I’m a big guy with a gut,” the 6-0, 300-pound Brown says. “I was always battling back strain. Plus, I’m 30 years old now. I’m tired of lifting weights, taking the pounding.”
The last two offseasons Brown has done Pilates three times a week.
“My first session, it shook me up,” Brown says. “It shook everything up. It still does.
“And man, those Pilates women are competitive. They want to see if they can get the big, strong football player to wimp out. I told myself, ‘Hey, ladies, I can do that, too.’ ”
How has his body responded to Pilates?
“I came out of the season injury-free,” he says. “I used to feel like crap after practice and games but not since Pilates.
“I learned how to breathe through my muscles. My posture is better. I can run more fluidly. And I increased my bench workouts.”
‘Profound impact’ on Mediate
For PGA Tour pro Rocco Mediate, Pilates is all about strengthening his back — and prolonging his career. After major back surgery in 1994, Mediate says he wasn’t the same. He couldn’t bend over for long periods of time to practice his putting, and his back always went out after lengthy plane trips.
Enter Pilates in November 2001.
“After a week I was turned around,” he says. “After two I felt like I’d never felt before.”
Mediate has since sold his weights and has completely outfitted the workout room in his Ponte Vedra, Fla., home with several pieces of Pilates equipment. “Pilates never compromises your back,” he says. “I’ve got more motion in my shoulders, midsection and legs. I can repeat my basic swing more often. Pilates is going to add five, six, seven … years to my career.”
Caroline Schmid, Mediate’s Pilates instructor, says, “The golf swing is a little one-sided, which can create imbalance in the body. Pilates helps to balance out the body against the forces of the swing. It helps to create less torque in the spine because you learn to swing from your center and not from your limbs.”
Mediate’s wife, Linda, also has had success with Pilates. She has overcome injuries suffered in three car accidents as well as giving birth to three children: “I couldn’t walk unless I put my hand on my back.”
She gives Pilates credit for major improvements in her husband’s game.
“He used to avoid putting, and now he’s a putting machine,” she says. “I want to hug Caroline because she has had such a profound impact on Rocco.”
There are no women’s and men’s workouts. (by Adam Maielua)
There’s the body you want and the body you need. You want six-pack abs. You need a strong core. There are the exercises you like to do and the exercises you need to do. You like to do biceps curls. You need to do some squats.
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve the body of the moment. The problem is that you only have it for a moment. Unless your lifestyle is directly dependent upon your physique, there is no long-term gain to looking good. Appearance is not correlated to health and wellness. Focus on feeling strong, feeling healthy, feeling happy, and the look will become a welcome consequence.
Do you keep falling back into the same routine? You start your program, obtain some measurable results, and then take a break. You miss what you had, so you start over again and again. Wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to settle into a routine that you love to maintain consistently? It’s time to try something different.
One of the greatest obstacles is how gender-specific physical disciplines can be. Pilates is for women. Powerlifting is for men. No, they’re for whoever loves to practice them. That’s the key. Do what you love. Who cares if you’re one of the few males or females in class? You’re not there for anyone else, so focus on you. This doesn’t mean you have to completely change your philosophy, just tweak it a little. Many disciplines complement one another and will extend years into your active lifestyle.
Ever read about NFL programs and the U.S. military incorporating yoga and Pilates into the conditioning regiments of their athletes and soldiers? There’s a good reason for that. A high-performance sports car doesn’t ride on three wheels. Everything must be in balance.
The same applies to recreational activities, such as golf, tennis and cycling. Benefits can extend beyond the physical by enhancing mental clarity and emotional understanding. We all have bad days, and a good session will bring levity to your mood.
However, before you begin, ensure that you are physically able to attempt something new. Ask yourself if you feel good. If so, are you happy? Yes. Are you hurt? No. Then keep going. Your body will tell you when it’s time to take a break. When you try something different give it an honest try — not a drive-by. Put full effort and enthusiasm into a session, maybe more than once. If you’re heart is not in it then you have certainty and can move on. It never hurts to know your body and yourself a little better.
As a studio owner and practitioner I can run on and on about why Pilates is good for you and why you should do it. However the best endorsement comes from clients. One of Turning Point Pilates clients, Adrienne Cass gave birth to her daughter Liv 1-13-13. 10 days later Adrienne wrote:
“I must say, the Pilates really helped. Not only with the delivery but I have already lost 30 pounds and my stomach is just about flat. I am back in my pre baby skinny jeans. Just need to tone up now! Tell your pregnant clients. It is unreal, no one can believe I just had a kid.”
Over the past seven years, I have watched the stigma of Pilates being a “girl exercise” change. Nowadays it is more respected by the general population for what it is: a hard workout for everyone, of all ages. That being said, I do still find myself being asked if men do Pilates.
Yes, men do Pilates. Men LOVE Pilates because it is a great workout with many man-specific benefits when taught according to their personal needs and goals. Once men try it, just like women, they are hooked. However, it seems there is still an underlying fear of the unknown and disregard by those who haven’t tried it.
Well, here are some answers for you. Read on for some of the biggest benefits of Pilates for the manliest of men.
• Pilates works all the little, intricate muscles that are either ignored at they gym, or just not possible to safely and effectively strengthen there, especially for those who aren’t sure how to use all the equipment safely and efficiently. When Pilates is included into the weekly workout regimen, it makes every exercise at the gym more effective. When the abdominals are trained and strengthened to activate at the level Pilates brings them to, they make your body work in proper alignment. This alignment will increase how hard the rest of your body is working and make those gym sessions more worth your time, with better results.
• The intense and fine-tuned attention Pilates pays to the abdominal corset muscles helps the pelvis fall into its natural alignment. The spine is then able to lift up out of the pelvis and align into its natural curves. This can make people grow taller, as it alleviates compression within the spinal discs. It most definitely makes for better posture, which gives the appearance of being taller.
• Why is good posture important? Well, besides the obvious benefits of it reducing pain in the back, neck and shoulders and preventing future health issues, having good posture plays a key role in first impressions. Standing tall gives off an air of confidence. Confidence is SO downplayed in its key role in everyday life. Appearing confident, even if you don’t feel it, will make people perceive you as stronger, in control, and aware of what you want and how you will get it. This will reflect in a positive way in your workplace, on a date, you name it.
• It can increase your game in sports like golf, tennis, swimming and running. The physical contribution Pilates plays in increasing the body’s form in these sports has brought many a manly man back to my Reformer.
Many Pilates exercises work and strengthen the abdominals by deepening them for maximum strength while twisting with control. The twisting action of these exercises is key in building a killer golf swing. Over the years, I have had a steady stream of men coming in to the studio because one of their friends was taking Pilates and suddenly his golf swing got better than theirs. Next thing you know, in they walk. Once they realize what it can do for their bodies, they are just as hooked as the girls. Pilates is not a girly form of exercise. It is a major butt-kicker. It is also a form of physical therapy and rehab. The combination of this increases the strength of every sport you play and makes it safer and you look better while playing. It’s a triple win!
Pilates is not an exercise that women do because they like to stretch. (This is seriously a comment I have heard many times). It is a very intelligent form of working out. It prevents injury. It alleviates pain. It is widely regarded as a top form of physical therapy around the world. It increases physical strength and stamina. As an added bonus, it makes you look fantastic. Pilates in no way, shape or form, is a workout for only women. Don’t be scared of the unknown, men! You will be very happy you tried it.