Are You Hard Core?


What does it mean to be hard core, and how can YOU get there? 

by alisia

For years I have had a very muscular client named Alex in my pilates mat classes. This guy is huge. I mean it looks like he could crush me with his pinkie. Alex has a six-pack that I could literally wash my clothes on. However, he suffers from back pain. Years ago when the pain became unbearable, he started seeing a physical therapist. After running some tests they told him that while he had lots of muscles, most were superficial and that he really needed to work on his deep supportive muscles. His physical therapist told him to take pilates classes. Once he came to pilates he began to really understand what “hard core” meant. After he did, his back pain went away.

Most people are more conditioned to using the larger muscle groups, but in pilates we work from the inside out and concentrate on using the supportive muscles near the skeletal frame. The emphasis is placed on mindful, focused, intentional movement. During each exercise we are reminded to activate through the “core” muscles before moving. These muscles include: 1) the Transverse Abdominals, the deepest layer of abdominal muscles that wrap around the torso like a girdle and work to stabilize the spine while allowing flexibility of movement; 2) the Multifidus muscles, small muscles that connect and stabilize the vertebrae (bones that make up the spine); and 3) the pelvic floor muscles (otherwise known as your Kegel muscles).

Just like Alex, I see a lot of clients with injuries or weakness of the postural muscles, as a result of work, lifestyle, or not exercising the right way. I tell them to think of a tree. Does it have all its strength in its limbs? No. The tree is only as strong as its trunk and roots. Without a strong trunk, the tree would topple over.

It's the same for human bodies. If we don't concentrate on building a good foundation and a strong trunk or core, we'll end up tight in some places and weak in others, injury-prone and susceptible to the pitfalls of our occupation or chosen form of exercise.

Just like Alex, you may think you are hard core, but you don’t know what hard core really means until you take pilates classes.

Don't have time to take a pilates class at a studio or gym? No problem, here are links to some of my favorite pilates DVD's, youtube channels, and websites:

Real Pilates: System 27
For the serious pilates student. This video is just as good or better than any mat class you would take at a pilates studio.

MTV Fitness- Pilates Mix
This is still one of my favorite pilates DVD's. It isn't too easy like most DVD's end up being. It is a good workout with lots of variations from the classic pilates routine.

10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates
This video and any 10 min solution pilates DVD is generally pretty good. Plus it is nice to pick and choose a 10, 20, 30, or 40 minute workout depending on how much time you have.

Winsor Pilates
Any Winsor pilates video is generally pretty good. She moves really fast and sometimes doesn't do enough reps to really get the burn in my opinion, but her videos are all pretty good.

Pilates Websites:

I use this website everyday. If you are going to pay for any online subscription, this would be the one. It has reformer/tower/cadillac/chair/mat pilates classes from instructors that are highly qualified from all different backgrounds and educations. It has a lot of mat classes you can do from the comfort of your own home and it is constantly updated. 

Another subscription site. It is good, but it just shows one exercise at a time. A website for the serious pilates student to learn each exercises with exactness. 

And their YouTube Channel with their podcasts: Pilates on Fifth (or just google pilates on fifth video podcasts). These ladies know what they are talking about and they have some really good variations

This girl is not as professional as the websites mentioned above, but she does have some really good variations to the classic pilates routine.

Tone it up
This is not a pilates website, but they have some pretty good ab and glute series that are very similar to many pilates exercises.

And a little extra treat for you: I love this butt burner workout:

(Don't judge the belly, I am 6 months pregnant in all these pictures )
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  1. Thanks for all of the links, superwoman!

  2. I say judge the darling belly. You look amazing for 6 months. And you are hard core.


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